Your fave pop culture on clothing.
What happens when you combine pop culture with Instagram captions? You get Urban Sophistication, a streetwear label. Designed by the brother-sister duo Neta (18) and Elad (20) Yam, the brand is rapidly interpreting trending hot topics into witty graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts. Their designs have been seen on Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the Kardashians, Rita Ora, and Bella Hadid to name a few, and are naturally causing a stir on Instagram and beyond. MADE caught up with the young designers to chat their brand, Instagram stalking, secret talents and more. Dive into the convo to find out more about your favorite parody designs.
How did Urban Sophistication come about?
We’ve followed pop culture from a young age and enjoyed creating Instagram captions inspired by pop culture. About a year ago, we thought it would be cool to print those captions on t-shirts.
As we designed more tops, with Instagram as our main inspiration, we realized our closets were becoming a wearable feed of pop culture. So we came up with #PoPthatFitsU. When followers on Instagram began asking where our tees were from, we decided to open our own online store and sell them there.
About the name — it was actually quite random. Elad attended a lecture by Kendrick Reid, who explained that the first step of developing our personal brand is defining its features. Inspired by the lecture I decided that whatever brand I developed in the future would probably be Urban and Sophistication. A year later we started Urban Sophistication.
What’s your best selling t-shirt/ sweatshirt? And why do you think it did so well?
The Kris tee — probably because it was worn by Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, and Jonathan Cheban. But besides that band tees are back in fashion, and the Kris tee reflects these grunge-vintage vibes, but with a contemporary icon.
A Vogue feature is major. How did it come about and what was your reaction?
Basically, Instagram stalking. We are only 18 and 20 years old, and when we started the brand we did not have any connections in the industry. So we started approaching celebs and journalists directly via Instagram. That’s what got us to the Kardashians, Rita Ora, Bella Hadid, and also to Liana Satenstein, a writer for Vogue. She liked the concept of the brand and decided to interview us.
When the feature was out it was extremely surreal. Our brand will turn one later this month. We couldn’t imagine getting that much exposure in the first year.
What advice would you give young entrepreneurs?
To go all the way with your creative rebellion. If you believe in your message and your art, take a canvas and a paintbrush and put yourself out there.
We live in a special era of social media which offers direct access to whomever. It may take some time, but if they notice and like what you do, nothing stands between you and them.
Last month we designed a sweatshirt inspired by the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack and donated all the profits from it to the LGBTQ community in Orlando. We tagged Lena Dunham in the post, and the day after she purchased the sweatshirt for her whole Girls writers team.
Can you guys elaborate on the term “popism”.
“Popism” is a memoir by Andy Warhol. We use that term to describe our addiction to the consumption of pop culture; pop dependency.
Besides Warhol, who are your inspirations?
What’s it like working with your sibling?
It’s the best! We both share this interest in pop culture phenomenas, so Urban Sophistication allows us to spend most of our time together creating something that we enjoy. The challenging part is that we also live together so there are no set times for work and it always mixes with pleasure.
Who is your dream person to collaborate with?
Would it be pretentious to say Karl Lagerfeld? (blushing emoji)
Where do you see the Urban Sophistication brand going?
The designs express how we feel, and our point of view of what’s going on. The platform allows us to express how we feel and have an intelligent conversation about pop culture, because we feel many times that people take it too seriously, or not seriously enough.
What’s your design process like?
We have two sections on our site. There is the #Trending tops that are updated weekly based on events in pop culture. For example, when Kim Kardashian posted the nude selfie with the censor bar earlier this year that raised a conversation about motherhood and nude selfies, we designed a nude colored hoodie with a censor bar on the chest with the caption “When you’re like I have nothing to wear LOL.”
Besides that we have collections that refer to broader phenomenas. One of the first collections was Fine Food, through which we juxtapose contrasting themes in pop culture — Fine Fashion and Fast Food.
When you’re not designing what are you doing?
Elad: I study law and English literature.
Neta: I graduated high school last year and spent a semester at F.I.T.
What are your fav Instagram accounts?
What are your secret talents?
Being hungry. Like literally always. What can we say – fashion makes us hungry.