superchat shanghai: anita hawkins

image: the we are ultra collective

we are ultra is a creative collective that likes to freely absorb different disciplines, explore them, and make a clear statement along the way. based in malaysia, it currently focuses on ultra, a prideful, rebellious and last but not least stylish capsule collection for women with sustainability at its very core. but don't be surprised if plans shift in another direction as we are ultra is just about as organic as nature itself. superfuture caught up with co-founder anita hawkins for a little chat.

how did the ultra collective get started? well, it more or less spawned from a specific kind of awareness that only motherhood can trigger. you only want the best for your child and for that you sometimes need to make things happen. my partner jamidah is a mother, she more or less is the inspiration of it all. our collective currently also includes two designers from malaysia, jonathan liang and tengku syahmi. we met them sometime ago at a trade fair, and we immediately clicked.

how would you describe ultra’s fashion style? the ultra collection is something that we really felt was missing. it's very much the result of sharing ideas and inspirations, and the result speaks for itself. i'd wear each and every item from the collection.

© ultra - summer 2011 collection

ultra uses organic materials, but many are unknown to us, like p.e.t., t.p.u. and tencel. how do you stay informed of innovations? first of all, ultra doesn’t only use organic material. p.e.t. and t.p.u. are actually recycled types of plastic, and tencel is a kind of pulp. we also use organic wool. but to answer your question: there’s very little information available out there, and it’s hard to find suppliers that are able to provide certified materials. so it requires doing a lot of online research, reading specific blogs for instance, or apply for samples.

what’s next for ultra, any plans? i feel like branching out from where we are at now. we have our fashion label and the ultra peepshow installation in kuala lumpur. i’d like to add a greater artistic element to our concept and turn it into something more revolving, and less static.

you’re based in shanghai. where do you hang out, any fav spots you’d like to share? oh, i absolutely love the wholesale markets at qipu lu. you know, it’s an entire suburb where each building houses a market dedicated to an endless variety of a single product, it’s so amazing. changle lu is interesting too, a lot of local designers have set up shop there. if you like it high-end, you definitely need to stop by plaza 66’s designer boutiques. i also like going to nanjing lu’s lane 1025. it’s pretty much shanghai’s teen central with lots and lots of cute little shops and cafés.

© ultra - summer 2011 collection