Vancouver Magazine: Q&A with Uwi Twins Fashion Label

Why did you decide to pursue your second clothing brand, Uwi Twins Fashion Label, after the success of R&U Styles?

Lévi: The biggest thing would be that we can tell our story with this particular brand. We didn't have a chance before to share where we came from, who we are, and what we're about as twins. Some people had encouraged us, saying that as twins you should develop something. We felt we had something important to say.
Reuben: Lévi and I, being born in Rwanda and surviving the genocide, demonstrate perseverance. We started a company and started fresh with this new brand. We want to encourage any underachievers by showing what they can accomplish through perseverance.

The U.T.F.L. clothing is designed with unexpected silhouettes and strikingly bold colours, and is unlike a lot of the clothing this season. Where did you draw your inspiration?
R: When it comes to the silhouettes, I felt that we wanted to make a statement by being different. We try to be out-of-the-box with everything we do. We were talking to a PR firm back last year some time in August and they were saying, "You're not using any blue. It's so popular." Well, we don't follow the trends. We're inclined to create something that is hot and people accept, and we own our own creativity and give that to the world.

Now you're both very musical. How does music itself inspire the design of your clothing?
L: Hip-hop and house music have greatly influenced this collection. We listen to a lot of Drake and David Guetta. Just listening to music inspires me. Fashion and music go together hand in hand, and so when I listen to a song, I have a vision of how an artist should dress and sometimes when I see something, I want to recreate it in my own mind. So definitely in the future we want to partner up with artists that match our vision.
R: We do come from a musical family. Our mum was a singer in the choir, and our older brother Uway is a music producer and he's done all original music for us. The music video for our [Spring/Summer 2014] lookbook is by our older brother and we're so fortunate to be able to go to him for that. He inspires us a lot with his creativity. We even used his music on our runway.

What can we look forward to at your upcoming pop-up shop that isn't offered online?
R: Yes, we have some surprises in store. When you look at the yellow dress, for example, we've added a nice accent to that piece, which is only offered at the pop-up shop. You'll be surprised with the different pieces that have been ramped up and developed to be much better a) in quality and b) in accessory pieces onto the garments themselves. Pop-up shop visitors will see and realize that in-person, and images will go up onto the site after the pop-up event.

What is one thing every person needs to know about the UWI Twins Fashion Label?
L: I would say simply by surviving genocide, it has taught us to never give up and always persevere when times get tough, especially in business where there are ups and downs. Always be persistent with your goals. That has been a very huge life lesson.
R: Coming from Africa, we want to eventually help the kids who are without the opportunity to go into the arts. That's something we can hopefully achieve in the future – to bring what we've learned, back to where we're from.

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