Ulrich Conrad Simpson, known lovingly within the industry as “Ubi,” has a pedigree that reads as a who’s who of American and global denim brands. Having literally grown up within the industry, Ubi brings to his eponymous label a wealth of experience in design, manufacturing, and quality resulting in expertly tailored garments with evocative American styling, fashion-forward details, and a uniquely comfortable fit and hand feel. From retail at Ralph Lauren to an externship at Calvin Klein, to a long tenure as one of the youngest design directors at Tommy Hilfiger, you could say that jeans are in his genes. From the office Mr. Hilfiger referred to as “Ubi’s room” to his west-coast design studio, denim’s Dennis the Menace is all grown up, and his UBi-IND line is reinventing iconic American style with a decidedly innovative, individualized, and technologically-focused approach.
Ulrich “Ubi” Simpson
Born in NYC in 1970, Ubi pursued a business retail degree at Vermont’s Green Mountain College before enrolling in the men’s design program at New York’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology. Recruited his senior year by Tommy Hilfiger to join what was then his up-and-coming firm, Ubi would come of age in what might be considered denim’s golden age – rising from assistant knitwear designer to design director in the early 90’s along with the historic and well documented rise of the Tommy Hilfiger brand itself. Ubi would remain with the firm from 1993 to 1999 where he would ultimately direct the transformation of the Tommy Jeans line from a denim-based extension of the successful Tommy Sports line to a fashion forward, price sensitive, and creatively independent product line.
Upon leaving the firm in 1999, Ubi would create Ubiquitous Industries, Inc., an independent consulting firm. His first client – Coach – at the request of Reed Krakoff, with whom he worked at Tommy Hilfiger. While at Coach, Ubi would work closely with Krakoff to revitalize the then-sleepy leather goods manufacturer into the globally-recognized brand it is today. More clients would soon follow. Among them, Nike, who approached him to develop a new line to bridge high fashion and active sportswear. The result, Active Performance Lifestyle Product (A.P.L.P), would provide the breath of freshness Nike had been looking for and later evolve into what is currently the Fusion label.
Having established a track record of successfully revitalizing brands in the states, it wasn’t long before word got across the pond that Ubi Simpson was the go-to guy for innovation and inspiration. When Madrid based denim brand Pepe Jeans recruited him as Men’s Design Director in 2001, Ubi jumped at the chance to once again be involved with his first love – denim. Applying his experience to reestablish the label as one of Spain’s and southern Europe’s leading brands, his successful tenure at Pepe Jeans precipitated two high-profile creative director roles. At Koramsa – the largest denim manufacturer in the western hemisphere – from 2004-2006, Ubi oversaw strategic project planning and product development of the men’s and women’s lines, working closely with clients such as Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Land’s End, Kohl’s, and Target from the firm’s Guatemala City headquarters. At Caterpillar from 2007-2009, Ubi capitalized on Caterpillar’s global brand recognition to transform a 5M business of hats and T-shirts to a 25M lifestyle and workwear business, delivering two complete collections.
Inspired by his global experience in all facets of the denim industry and his personal affinity for classic Americana, military, vintage, and global design trends, Ubi now helms UBi-IND. Motivated by a design imperative to make customized denim accessible, Ubi applies innovative manufacturing processes and a democratized range of styles and cuts to create visually distinctive and commercially appealing apparel for both men and women. IND, short for “industries,” might also be said to stand for “independent,” “individual,” or “in-demand” when thinking of this inventive industry professional whose experience is only matched by his creativity.