On a fine and sunny Friday morning in Malibu, CA, I had the pleasure of meeting up with the man and talented mind behind UBI-iND. Ulrich “Ubi” Simpson comes from an impressive background in fashion and design, and his brilliance shows through in each and every one of his products.
Established in 1999, UBI-iND proudly puts out products for men who chronically get left out in the fashion world. They target those with different and/or larger frames such as athletes, or bigger men with larger thighs or calves. Their goal is to provide them with a properly fitted jean instead of having to sacrifice style for size.
While spending time with Simpson, he constantly refers to the scale problem. Too often companies will make a standard sized jean, then rely upon scaled increments to account for the larger sizes. UBI-iND pinpointed this problem and made personal measurements for their jeans as the sizes increase. They boast this claim as one of the only companies to have their jeans run from size 32 – 46, and for good reason – it’s almost impossible to find high quality denim jeans in sizes above 38 in this current climate.
UBI-iND isn’t just concerned with this size problem as the company attacks all the small problems that come with the raw denim lifestyle. Simpson reinforced numerous section including the pockets (comparable to the outside layers of khakis) and stitching, and places heavier fabrics within his jeans to give the denim extra support.
The back pockets also have an extra layer of denim in order to prevent ripping from wallet fades, and the coin pocket is substituted for a phone pocket (which is arguably more practical in modern society.
The Man Behind The Brand
From his time at Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren to Coach and Nike, Ubi Simpson continually describes his varied and extensive body of work with passion. However, unlike these brands which serve the masses, he’s now driven by the niche he’s creating for as they are rarely tended to; particularly when it comes to raw denim and high quality products.
Interestingly, his military influence and love for vintage exudes through his work and even personal collection. He purposely surrounds himself with an assortment of rare, vintage denim from various time periods for inspiration.
In terms of his operations, Simpson creates his products at Blue River Denim in Los Angeles. As they reuse water and promote using the least amount of chemicals as possible, the space is sustainable and eco-friendly.
As traditional as they are, I was given a look into the future of denim and construction with a demo of the new laser technology they’re beginning to employ. The laser machinery in his factory is incredible to witness as it can etch any picture onto denim fabric without compromising any of the denim itself.
There are four main fits in the UBi-iND denim family – the R-1 Relaxed Fit, which maintains a full cut through the leg and thigh; the A-1 Athletic, a cut with a fuller thigh and straight leg; the C-1 Classic, a slim straight leg model; and finally the MSL-1 Modern Slim Fit, which utilizes a full waist and thigh but slimmer leg. Each pair of these jeans are handmade in the U.S.A. with Cone Mills Denim.
An avid supporter of made in America products, they use locally sourced materials such as the YKK U.S. steel for their rivets, zippers, and shanks. “Handmade in the USA” is an integral part of the UBI-iND brand, as they believe it is vital in order for their products to be the best they possibly can be. Thus, Simpson strongly believes that in order to make the highest quality jean, they must meld the latest technology with hand-processing techniques.
In a competitive niche as the denim space, Simpson also emphasizes his belief that the world doesn’t need another denim brand. He insists his mission is not to try and steal customers away from other brands, but rather cater to an audience that hasn’t been serviced before.
This is the main idea behind making a never-before-seen size 46 raw denim jean, or a jean with an extra large thigh, without sacrificing quality. Thus, whether one is struggling to find that right fit or simply in need of an innovative, new option, UBI-iND serves as a reliable and refreshing alternative.