With their collection of touchably sleek and sexy women’s wear now at Simons department store as well as in Old Montreal at the beautiful Quai 417, it’s a cinch to get a piece by UNTTLD, Montreal’s most vibrant young fashion duo, to bring home as a souvenir…
The two brains behind Montreal fashion brand UNTTLD, José Manuel St-Jacques and Simon Bélanger, met when they were in fashion school – St-Jacques at Marie Victorin and Bélanger at Collège Lasalle. They clicked instantly, but then world travels and different paths separated them for a couple of years – until the fateful day Simon came back from studying in Milan. “I went to get him at the airport, and that was that, “ laughs St-Jacques in their messy Mile End studio.
Their fate as a fashion brand was sealed with the help of television: in 2010, they were the big winners of Quebec’s answer to Project Runway, La collection. “We won $100,000 – that’s how we managed to launch our own line,” says St-Jacques. “I mean, we don’t have any business background, so in a year that $100,000 was gone – but we learned a lot from that experience and had we not had that start, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
The spirit of Montreal infuses their creativity and the unique quality of their beautiful designs. There is a love of texture and sophisticated statement wear in their brand that doesn’t equate to outlandish prices and hard-to-wear materials. Says St-Jacques, “When we design first of all we think of a woman that’s very contemporary, that likes beautiful things but needs things to be practical. There’s a public part to her life that requires her to look sharp, but she need to run around, do errands, and then dash to a 5 à 7.”
And are there plans to design for men too one day? “Ultimately I’d like to design for men as well, and in other media – collaborate with furniture designers, collaborate with other more commercial fashion labels, like Le Château. I just like to make beautiful things for life. And for that the people in Montreal are so inspiring. You don’t need a lot of money to make things happen here, and that’s such a wealth. It keeps everyone so creative.”
Photos by Richmond Lam