Started in 1995, You Must Create is an English label with two eponymous shops in London. Drawing on diverse sources of inspiration, YMC creates beautiful and bold clothing for the chic and cheeky set. Their designs are clean, a bit vintage inspired, a bit workwear inspired, a bit outdoorsy, and decidedly fun. YMC's designer, Jody Fraser, answered a few questions for Revolver about his processes and inspirations, past and current.
In your "About" section on the website, you've included the sentence "YMC were and will always be defined as much by what they are against as what they are for." This contradiction makes for an interesting point of departure for creating. What is YMC against? What is YMC trying to achieve? Where are the places where these dichotomies meet?
This comment highlights how we are reactionary in our design process. We react against the norm, we are always looking forward, we reject what is perceived as a current trend. My natural instinct when I am designing is to try to reinvent the unexpected.
You've also included the sentence "Favoured designers are those anonymous souls behind the functional clothing of the factory worker, the soldier, and the ourdoorsman." This is a highly utilitarian vision of what fashion can be. Surely not everyone following your brand is a prole, soldier of camper. How do you tow the line between function and appealing to the savvy YMC devotee simply interested in designs with special detail?
These functional designs have always had an influence on youth culture and design. It is impossible not to take from the past, but what is important is that things are not taken too literally; we like to twist things to create something new. I do think our customer appreciates microscopic detailing as the art to this sort of clothing is creating the right balance between style and functionality.
There is something classic and deeply satisfying about clothing inspired by military wears. Why do you suppose this is? Is it because form is carefully considered in developing military clothing and equipment? For you, where does it aesthetic value come from?
The functionality of military and workwear has always been appealing to me. Everything is there for a reason, therefore nothing is over designed which to me is eternally important.
I love the Radio Buzzy section of your website! It is a fantastic inclusion of rare gems. How much does music influence what you do at YMC? Do you consider yourself a crate-digger? I can imagine you have a pretty extensive collection of vinyl. Does this type of more multimedia inclusion draw any unsuspecting followers to YMC?
Being a 40-something British resident there was no avoiding our music and youth culture scenes. When I was growing up music was always my first love and then my interest in clothes naturally followed. The tribal uniforms of the different youth scenes have an never ending appeal in fashion.
I prefer 'vinyl junkie' rather than crate digger! There is nothing better that spending a day at a flea market or record fair; it's my passion. I have been collecting now since I was 13 and have a shed / office at the bottom of my garden dedicated to my collection. I think our fan base has a similar mindset to me.....music and clothes to some people are all part of a bigger lifestyle. For instance the musicians we seem to attract have always been regarded as having sartorial elegance....Paul Weller, The Horrors, The Black Lips, etc.
I like to think we have universal appeal but there is no denying my roots are in English youth culture. Growing up, American culture also had a big influence. I'd like to think I'm a cultural spoke and am open to ideas from all places.
What are your current/newest inspirations/aspirations?
S/S 13 I was listening to a lot of early 60s surf and girl group sounds as well as rare glam and post punk. Bar the glam, I'd say everything I was listening to has had an influence on the collection. I suppose I create a soundtrack in my head as I'm designing which runs along to my imaginary movie!!
-Your S/S 2012 manifesto mentions a diverse number of influences: Swallows and Amazons, WW1 military tunics, the Lake District and Home Counties, Belmondo movies of the late 60's, Milanese and Torinese scooter boys and girls of the Eighties who in turn inspired football casuals and the Pet Shop Boys, and now you, to name a few. These influences are worldly in their appeal but also seem especially significant to English culture. Do you feel that YMC is a decidedly English label or is your scope larger than all that?
I like to think we have a universal appeal but there is no denying my roots are in English youth culture. Growing up American culture also had a big influence, I'd like to think I'm a cultural sponge and am open to ideas from all places.