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The Story of HYA CYN: An Exclusive Interview with Tobias Ulmer

Words by Raya Biasca
Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

Picture it: a fashion landscape where some designers choose to keep a low profile, letting their designs take center stage and speak volumes. But then there are those daring souls like Tobias “Tobi” Ulmer, who believe that their creations have an even greater impact when accompanied by a heartfelt narrative. They’re the ones who make you see fashion as an art form that goes beyond what meets the eye.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

Born in Stuttgart, Tobias “Tobi” Ulmer is a talented fashion designer and the proud owner of the fashion brand HYA CYN. After moving to New York in 2019, Ulmer embarked on a transformative journey, transitioning from running an advertising agency at a young age to pursuing his passion for fashion.

Seeking something fresh and exciting, he immersed himself in a class that taught him the art of crafting sneakers from scratch. Inspired by this newfound knowledge, Ulmer pondered how to channel his creativity and skills effectively. It was during this reflective period that he decided to take his fashion ambitions seriously.

“I don’t just want to develop a sneaker brand.”

The name of Tobi’s fashion brand holds a deep and personal significance. When his mother was hospitalized before giving birth to him, his grandmother presented her with a list of names, one of which was the Latin name for the hyacinth flower, Hyacinthus. Although not chosen as his given name, it became a beloved family nickname.

To create a brand name that resonated on a personal level, Ulmer decided to shorten this name and trademark it. Thus, his brand carries a name that is not technically his own but holds a special connection to his family and personal history.

At the core of his brand is the fusion of streetwear and classic fashion, resulting in a unique and contemporary aesthetic. Influenced by Japanese and Korean fashion, Ulmer draws inspiration from the innovative and avant-garde styles of these cultures. He also looks up to renowned brands such as Supreme, Commes des Garcons, and ACNE Studios, which further fuel his creative vision.

Tobi’s brand has brought about a newfound focus in his life. Through his brand, he has had the opportunity to connect with a diverse range of individuals, forging meaningful relationships and expanding his network. This aspect of his journey has been enriching and has allowed him to grow both personally and professionally.

Just seven days after opening his HYA CYN Instagram, Tobi received a surprising message from Lil Baby. He was amazed by the positive reception his brand had garnered in such a short time, stating, “It’s crazy that after just 2-3 years, people already love my brand.”

For Tobi, choosing his clothes in the morning is more than just getting dressed; it is a form of self-expression. He believes that fashion serves as a creative outlet, allowing individuals to showcase their unique style and personality. Through his brand, Tobi aims to empower others to embrace their individuality and use fashion as a means of creative expression.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

Tobi’s passion shines through in his creative process, as he wholeheartedly believes in immersing himself in the things he loves. When it comes to creating something, he follows a methodical approach, often setting it aside and revisiting it later. This allows him to gain a fresh perspective and ensure that his work is refined and truly represents his vision.

As Tobi prepared for his debut show at NYFW 2023, he faced his biggest challenge: time. With just three and a half weeks to prepare, he had to create eight outfits for the show.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

“I don’t have enough outfits but I took the challenge.”

The style showcased in his debut show was a fusion of streetwear and a more accessible day-to-day atmosphere. Tobi’s love for quality and attention to detail shone through in each piece, as he believes that these elements are essential in creating exceptional fashion.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

During the interview, Tobi revealed that his show carried the theme of “HYACYN? I could do that! “Yeah, but you didn’t!” This concept strikes a chord deep within, evoking the familiar sensation of standing before a masterpiece in a museum and entertaining the notion that we could have crafted something akin to its brilliance. Yet, we must confront the profound truth that while we merely contemplate creation, the artist brings their vision to life.

When discussing the significance of music in his life, he expressed, “Music is incredibly important to me.” He began playing the bass guitar at the age of 5, but kept it as a beloved hobby rather than pursuing it professionally.

Photo from Tobias Ulmer’s official Instagram page @tobias__ulmer, with no intended copyright infringement.

Tobi shared a remarkable anecdote about his admiration for Prince, revealing that he had attended the legendary artist’s concerts a staggering 53 times and had the opportunity to meet him. This deep connection to Prince’s music has undoubtedly left a lasting impact on Tobi’s own musical tastes and inspirations.

In relation to his brand, Tobi explained, “This brand represents my love for electro and new wave.”

For his fashion show, Tobi personally curated the music selection, opting for electrifying beats from a renowned German DJ associated with a famous club in Berlin.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

Tobi is already in discussions with retailers in Japan and South Korea, aiming to expand the reach of his brand and make his creations available in these markets. Looking ahead, his next goals include establishing a strong presence for his brand in New York and ultimately, around the world.

When asked about his advice for aspiring fashion entrepreneurs, Tobi emphasized the importance of taking action, stating, “Just do it, because nothing will start if you don’t.” He emphasizes that success rarely happens overnight, and instead, it is a journey with ups and downs. He encourages individuals to embrace the learning process, as each experience helps them improve and grow steadily.

Photo from HYACYN’s official Instagram page @hyacyn_nyc, with no intended copyright infringement.

Tobias Ulmer is the embodiment of the next big thing in fashion. With his visionary approach, unique style, and unwavering determination, he is poised to leave an indelible mark on the industry. Watch out, world – Tobi is here to make his mark, one innovative design at a time.

Photo from Tobias Ulmer’s official Instagram page @tobias__ulmer, with no intended copyright infringement.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of fashion’s next big thing. Visit @hyacyn_nyc now and let the magic unfold before your eyes!

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