Q+A: I Love Ugly Designer Zac Suvalko on Going from NZ to LA and Beyond

July 13, 2015 BY STEVE DOOL


When I Love Ugly makes their Capsule debut at the New York show in just a few weeks, attendees will have the chance to get an up-close look at one of New Zealand’s most popular men’s fashion exports. The brand has already begun their full-force infiltration of the US market, with a recently-opened Los Angeles shop nestled among the enduringly popular boutiques that line La Brea.

I Love Ugly designer Zac Suvalko tipped us off about what to expect from the label’s upcoming SS16 collection, along with his own spring essentials.

WATM: Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration for the season?

Zac: This collection for us was all about progression. We wanted to delve deeper and explore the more daring, unconventional side of I Love Ugly. The company was built on the foundation of being a bit different from the rest – not enough to isolate us, but enough for people’s curiosity to be sparked and intrigued. This collection pays homage to I Love Ugly's past, its present and its future.

WATM: Can we expect anything new that ILU hasn’t had in collections from previous seasons?

Zac: We wanted to start the new year on a good foot, so we didn't take any pre-existing styles over from previous months (apart from the Zespy pant). This collection features a few more original silhouettes of jacketing and outerwear, not to mention a completely new pant collection.

WATM: As the brand has grown and expanded, has anything emerged as a signature Spring piece?

Zac: As much as we don't want to have one product define the brand, our trademark Zespy pant is more popular than ever with a few new interpretations of it for spring. However, there are a few more pieces that are getting in the limelight, such as our Oslo Jacket and Extended Parka, which have created some interest.

WATM: What are your essentials for SS16?

Zac: I'm personally a pretty basic guy. I can’t go past a good t-shirt, and for this collection we have experimented with some real nice textured cottons and wools on our basic lines. As for the more extravagant piece, this collection we have done our interpretation of a leather biker jacket, but stripped it right back to the fundamentals of the piece, really highlighting the simplicity of it.

WATM: I stopped by the LA store the last time I was there and thought it looked great. Do you have any plans for more ILU shops that you can share with us?

Zac: Thank you. Yeah, our own brick and mortar stores play a huge part in our brand. It’s really the only opportunity for us to express our brand on a more physical level. Every aspect of those stores is intentionally thought out, as we try to tap into every sense available from touch, smell and sound, etc. Everything is orchestrated in way that speaks the brand. We want people to step into our stores and feel like they are part of a unique community, and those are the communities we want to continue building around the world. So, yes, there are more plans on opening up a few more shops in some key spaces around the world. However, early days on those ideas so nothing we can disclose at this time.