SPOTLIGHT : EUNICE LEE
What can we say...we owe so much to Eunice, founder, designer and creative director of UNIS. Without her Armitage & McMillan wouldn't exist. She not only gave me my first job working directly in New York menswear but she also taught us the importance of having a strong vision and what it means to work your ass off for a brand or business you believe in. As a friend and mentor, she continues to inspire me and Darin everyday.
Eunice took a minute to answer a few questions for us while we were in NYC earlier this week. We asked her a few things that have always been on our mind as well as few questions supplied by our friend and fellow vintage picker, Ryan Chang.
Your pieces draw on classic mid 20th-Century menswear aesthetics, how is this nod to the classics expressed through the fabric and details in, say, the Gio?
The Gio is THE perfect example of classic mid 20th century menswear. It was an update to a classic American chino from the 60’s. I decided to keep it classic and chose a mid rise instead of going trendy with a low rise. It’s only a little lower than the way Steve McQueen wore some of his chino’s. The pants back then were a more tailored fit and the Gio is in fact a tailored pant that we threw into the garment dye.
I've seen in other interviews that you think guys should always have a vintage military jacket in their closet. What do you love about a good M65 or an A2?
I love the M65. I think guys who wear the right military jacket look great. I have a few of these jackets and even older versions, and the thing that is amazing is the weight of the original fabrications. They are substantial. That’s probably the toughest thing to re-create. There is a toughness about these jackets that I think looks great on a guy.
If you had to put three pieces from all of your collections into a time capsule, what would you include?
The Gio (UNIS' classic chino), a Peacoat from awhile back and the Charlie.
What's the most annoying trend in menswear today?
Any pant with elastic cuffs. I was on the subway and saw this guy wearing a pair of jeans cuffed with elastic finish, and another guy wearing chino like pants with cuffs. I mean… that just looks like you’re wearing baby clothing.
Why has UNIS never jumped into the denim market?
I did denim back in 2007, out of Italy, but stopped after I moved production back to the US. I’ve been wanting to develop denim, but it takes a big investment to do it right. I want to make sure that when I bring denim back out that it’s somethings I can stand by.
Who is your favorite designer or brand at the moment (menswear or womenswear)?
I really admire Dries Van Noten… and as a woman I love Valentino. Things change all the time, now I’m having fun watching what’s coming down Gucci’s runway with Alessandro Michele.
I'm sure you've learned a few things after over 15 years running UNIS, what is the one piece of advice you would give to new business owners today?
I’d say you should work for other designers or brands before you break out on your own, the experience is invaluable. Not just the creative, you also need to know how to run a business, manage a budget and learn Excel. And you must be detail oriented. It amazes me how many people think they can just “wing things.” I make sure all my staff know that they must know all of these things if they want to work for me. Finally, what makes you different? Why should you exist in this market?
Visit the UNIS website: http://www.unisnewyork.com/
Follow UNIS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unisnewyork/
Follow Ryan Chang on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avantbored/