When Yulia Gromova and her team were brainstorming, as far as the name was concerned, they knew they wanted something universal and they surprisingly came up with a symbol before coming up with a name. “We came up with the logo in the first place,” she tells Schön! “This Y with a smile on top. Then, we started to search for a right word which would match the logo. So, we brainstormed for a while, using the words which started with an Y. Ypsilon sounded good enough, somewhat beautiful and mystic. And it’s easy to remember and pronounce.”
This focus on simplicity and universality filters down into the brand’s design ethos. After starting in 2014 with a line of basics, the brand has, in five short seasons, grown into a womenswear collection that oozes with a sophisticated minimalism. In Gromova’s words, “Ypsilon is about minimalism, a subtle silhouette and everyday garments. But, we like a lot of different things and we want to try everything.” The young brand is still defining its identity: “I guess we are still in the process of reinventing the brand with every collection. We are in the middle of the search for our DNA and discovering our aesthetic as a brand.”
For Gromova, the path to creating Ypsilon was an unusual one, the multi-hyphenate first studied photojournalism at the London College of Communications before going on to receive an MA in International Journalism from City University London. Yet, she says these experiences helped her discover her love for fashion: “When I was studying photography in London, I’d regularly travel for fashion weeks in Milan, London and Paris, to shoot backstage and catwalks of the major shows. It was a freelance job, but also paid well, and introduced me to the ‘high fashion’ world.” Gromova’s journalism experience later led her to intern at Dazed & Confused before returning to Russia to launch Ypsilon – a spur of the moment decision made with her sister and co-founder. “We just loved clothes,” she says. “We talked a lot of how it’d be wonderful if we could do something together. So, we did our first collection, in two weeks really. It was so much fun, we didn’t think much of how we were going to sell, but actually it came to be successful commercially.”
Her academic experiences may have been unrelated to design, but she recalls one unexpected work experience while studying which helped prepare her for the task of launching an apparel line. “I worked for a while in a clothing production company. This gave me a basic understanding of production and distribution.” Though lacking in conventional design training herself, the brand’s team, which Gromova refers to as a collective, includes a technical designer. Indeed, the creative aspects of the brand remain a collaborative process.
While she works closely with her sister and co-founder, who designs the brand’s basic line and handles production, the brand also enlists the help of outside professionals. For the Grand Opening collection, Gromova tells us, the team “worked together with an invited stylist, Emelie Hultqvist.” It was an eyeopening experience for the small team. “We had a chance to hear an outsider opinion on what we were doing right in the middle of the process of creating the collection.” The collection, which was inspired Hollywood in the 50s, also features a collaboration with Moscow-based jewelry brand Fjord who created white porcelain flower accessories.
Similarly, this season, the brand will work with an invited designer: “Ypsilon is embarking on a new experimental project, where an invited designer is joining the team. We’ve already started the research on our capsule collection together with Pavel An, a designer, who worked for a long time with David Koma.”
Gromova elucidates that it is the right time and place to launch Ypsilon in Russia: “The industry here is still in the process of shaping, so there’s much space to fit in. At the same time, new-gen Russian designers, like Gosha Rubchinsky, gave us all an impulse and the vector for the development. Also, Russia is a good market, the country is very big, and Russian women really love clothes.” With promising talent like Rubschinsky and young brands like Ypsilon, Russia is shaping up to become one of the industry’s great players.
Find out more about the collection here.
Photography / Dmitri Gerasimov @ dmitrigerasimov.com IG: @gerasimov
Styling / Svetlana Bevz
Model / Tatyana Smirnova @ grace-models.com
Hair & Make Up / Tani Rosso
Location / Transatlantique Gallery
All garments / Ypsilon AW16 @ ypsilonstudios.com