Ulla Johnson is the go-to designer for happy staple pieces imbued with a sensible modern femininity. The timeless and very wearable pieces have garnered her a devoted following. The ability to turn her label into both a cult favorite among fashion insiders and a commercial success is a feat most designers only dream of.
She debuted her namesake fashion line more than two decades ago, shaping the “urban bohemian” look her line had become known for long before that term entered the fashion vernacular. She pairs ethereal flowy prints with dreamy silhouettes, creating looks that are simultaneously rustic and refined. The signature look could be described as Brooklyn meets Joshua Tree.
Buyers of pieces of this brands collections always notice how they are thoughtfully crafted and ready to wear.
THE ULLA JOHNSON STORY
Growing up in Manhattan with archaeology professors as parents. She grew up in academia but developed an interest in fashion as a child, always loving to dress up.
Her signature style evolved with influences between the streets of New York and her family’s travels to far-away destinations. The clothing line launched in 1998, just after college graduation, and immediately caught the eye of the fashion world. Ulla fell into fashion a bit unexpectedly after graduating from college with majors in women’s studies and psychology, but then she was able to stock some pieces in the boutiques of some friends in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Barneys picked up the line soon after. It all began with a handful of directional boutiques and this early endorsement from Barneys New York. From there, her collection has gained a following of dedicated ladies and the support of retailers across the continents of North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
The steadfast attention to the details of construction that she has become known for has never wavered. Each collection is based on a foundation of natural fibers, beautiful finishing, and ease of form and fit.
ULLA JOHNSON INSPIRATION
Like a lot of designers and other kinds of artists, gets a great deal of inspiration by visiting places different from any she’s visited before. A quick trip to Marrakech, a grand city within Morocco that has inspired artists from Yves Saint Laurent to the Beatles with its rich tradition of artistry and unique aesthetic, brought her new perspectives on color, texture, and pattern through the light and tilework designs.
In fact, most of her collections begin with a trip somewhere. Morocco, Japan – many places in the world carry ancient traditions of printing and weaving techniques. Drawing from this inspiration, she is dedicated to her work as a designer, and strives to create pieces that make the wearer feel a certain way.
Empowering women through fashion lies at the heart of her work. She applies a fashion lens to her background in psychology. The result is a fearless approach to color and print in her designs along with a steady focus on redefining this time-honored craft. You will always find the collections are joyful and truly a contemporary celebration of femininity. She recognizes the fear people have around trying something new, but she also encourages people to feel a bit more liberated to explore and follow their dreams. Her whole fashion line speaks to this ethic.
Reinventing herself every day with fashion choices that exude different personalities. This daily reinvention is the magic of fashion for the brand. The ability to play with clothing as if it were costume pieces is a favorite approach to her style of dress.
The designs she creates are intended to make women feel beautiful and powerful, while at the same time carrying an element of fantasy. You will see that mixing volume, colors, and prints, as opposed to the all-black uniform of many cities, brings an element of friendliness and compliments to social interactions. She contends that through fashion, strangers can create a wonderful dialogue.
THE BRAND IN MAGAZINES
Her fashionable pieces have been seen across a wide spectrum of news and magazine outlets, including plenty of coverage in various international versions of Vogue over the years, WSJ Magazine, Icons, and The New York Times Style Magazine in the fashion world. She has also been featured in non-fashion magazines such as Architectural Digest and Condé Nast.