Posts in designer
Interviewing Poétique Paris, the First Fashion House that Offers Alternatives to Leather
The two beautiful Founders of Poétique Paris: Cattleya & Pauline

The two beautiful Founders of Poétique Paris: Cattleya & Pauline

Passion and benevolence lead to great achievements
— Pauline & Cattleya
Wearing some of their items in vegan leather

Wearing some of their items in vegan leather

(Version française plus bas)

Poéthique Paris, or "Peau éthique Paris" (ethical skin) phonetically, is a fashion brand that evokes dreams, 70s romance, poetry and timeless French charm à la Gainsbourg.

And above all, it stands as an ethical brand, respectful of both people, animals and the environment. In fact, it's even one of the first alternative fashion brands for leather, and the first of its kind in France.

I therefore decided to interview the two radiant Founders, Cattleya and Pauline.

Why offering an alternative to leather?

Leather embodies obviously a problematic because it is linked to animal suffering. Some animals are killed for their skin and leather is not just, as we might think, recycled waste from the food industry. In addition, tanneries are a humanitarian and ecological disaster.

What was your decision to start this project?

We did it in several steps. First, documentaries on Netflix brought our awareness on ethical issues with the current food industry and we started questioning our food choices. Soon after, we decided to take action: eat better, buy better clothes, then produce.

We started changing our own behaviors and soon enough, our way of life began to intrigue our relatives in a positive way, consciences around us started awakening, and it gave us hope!

On the fashion side at the time, we could not find a good alternative to leather.

I was looking for a biker jacket for instance, and I had the choice between spending time in thrift shops hoping to find the rare gem, buying that Zara piece that everyone had, finding a low-quality jacket from an average store or saving to buy a piece from a luxurious brand (in reference to our idol Stella McCartney).

Except that for us, fashion does not belong to an elite, it belongs to everyone and we wanted to create a style that resembled us.

That's how we decided to go against the grain.

How do you stand out with your values in the fashion industry?

Being an ethical entrepreneur is ambivalent because in order to have a real impact, one has to create a revenue.

Hence, we want to show that it’s not incompatible to run both an ethical and responsible production from A to Z: we source our materials in Europe (which limits our environmental impact), we work with studios (which avoids human slavery), and our materials, nb. cereal and apple leather, are vegan and adaptable to fashion (which avoids animal suffering).

When we make a decision, we look at those three conditions first, then we figure out how to sell them.

Of course, being 100% ethical means not selling nor buying, but since we cannot walk around naked ...! We sometimes can allow ourselves a fashion craving without feeling guilty! So better succumbing to a brand that is both pretty and ethical, right?

Love of fashion + desire to take action + desire to contribute to a better world = our project was launched!

What is your hope for the future of our society?

The current way of consuming is terrible, especially in fashion.

But change is taking place in developed countries: we expect tomorrow’s fashion to be 100% eco-responsible, and since Paris aims at becoming the capital of ethical and eco-responsible fashion by 2025, we want to be drivers of this change.

Tips for starting out as an entrepreneur?

Yes! First, spend time on the feasibility. Do a sourcing job to see if your project is feasible. If you are in fashion, check wether your desired material exists, test samples, make several prototypes, find good suppliers ...

Then surround yourself with a collaborator who shares your enthusiasm or friends who support you. And tell yourself that if it does not work it does not matter. Better remorse than regrets!

Personally, we would have suffered more from not having launched our project than from having done it too soon, say if the market weren’t ready, for example.

Last tip, sleep well, eat well and take time to disconnect (read a book, go to the movies, whichever hobby makes you feel good): And really follow your bliss because it's with passion and kindness that one can achieve great things!

 
41VijDVWrkL.SX500.jpg

Did you know?

Here are some alternatives to leather:

Apple leather

Cereal leather

Mushroom leather

Oak tree leather

Wine leather

Pineapple leaf leather / Piñatex

did you know about apple leather

Le saviez-vous?

Voici quelques alternatives au cuir animal:

Cuir de pomme

Cuir de cereale

Cuir de champignon

Cuir de liège

Cuir de raisin

Cuir de feuilles d’ananas / Piñatex


 

Poétique Paris, ou “Peau éthique Paris” phonétiquement, est une marque de mode qui évoque le rêve, la romance des années 70, la poésie et le charme français intemporel “'à la Gainsbourg”.

Mais c’est avant tout une marque étique, respectueuse des hommes, des animaux et de l’environnement. En réalité, c’est même l’une des première marques de mode alternatives au cuir, et la première de ce genre en France.

Une interview s’imposait donc avec les deux fondatrices rayonnantes, Cattleya et Pauline.

Pourquoi une alternative au cuir?

- Le cuir est évidemment une matière problématique car elle est liée à la souffrance animale. Certaines bêtes sont tuées pour leur peau et le cuir n’est pas uniquement, comme on peut le croire, recyclé des déchets de l’industrie alimentaire. De plus, les tanneries représentent une catastrophe humanitaire et écologique.

Quel a été votre déclic pour vous lancer dans ce projet?

Cela s’est fait par étapes. D’abord une prise de conscience via des documentaires sur Netflix oû l’on s’est posées des questions sur nos choix alimentaires, puis au delà de cela on a voulu être dans l’action: mieux manger, mieux acheter des vêtements, puis produire.

On a commencé à notre échelle puis “l’effet tâche d’huile” s’est fait ressentir. Notre mode de vie a commencé à intriguer de manière positive, les consciences autour de nous se sont mobilisées petit à petit, et ca nous a donné de l’espoir!

Côté vêtements, on ne trouvait pas de bonne alternative au cuir.

Je cherchais par exemple un bon perfecto, et j’avais le choix entre passer des heure en friperie à espérer trouver la pépite, acheter la pièce Zara que tout le monde a, ou trouver un produit de marque lambda avec une qualité déplorable ou alors économiser pour s’acheter une pièce de grande marque (on pense a notre idole Stella McCartney). sauf que pour nous, la mode n’appartient pas à une élite, elle appartient à tout le monde et nous avons voulu créer une mode qui nous ressemble.

C’est comme cela que l’on a voulu sortir des chemins battus.

Comment pensez-vous défaire les codes du monde de la mode?

Etre un entrepreneur éthique est ambivalent car pour avoir un vrai impact, il faut se développer et créer du rendement.

C’est pourquoi on veut montrer que ce n’est pas incompatible d’avoir une production éthique et responsable de A a Z: on source nos matières en Europe (qui limite l’impact environnemental), on travaille avec atelier (qui limitent le mal-être humain), et nos matières, le cuir de céréale et de pomme, sont vegan et adaptables au prêt-a porter (qui évite la souffrance animale).

Lorsque l’on prend une décision, on regarde ces trois volets en premier, puis on se demande comment faire pour le vendre.

Bien évidemment, être 100% éthique c’est ne pas vendre et ne pas acheter, mais comme on ne peut pas se promener nues dans les rues…! Et puis on a parfois le droit de consommer et de craquer sur des pièces sans culpabiliser! Alors autant le faire sur une marque qui est jolie et éthique, non?

Amour de la mode + envie d’entreprendre + envie de mieux faire et d’être actrices de changement = notre projet s’est lancé!

Quel est votre espoir sur l’avenir de notre société?

La façon actuelle de consommer est terrible, notamment dans la mode.

Mais un tournant est en train d’être pris dans les pays développés: on s’attend à ce que la mode de demain soit 100% éco-responsable, et sachant que Paris a pour objectif de devenir la capitale de la mode éco-responsable et éthique d’ici 2025, on voulait être actrices de ce changement.

Des conseils pour se lancer en tant qu’entrepreneur?

Oui! D’abord, passer du temps sur la faisabilité. Effectuer un travail de sourcing pour voir si votre projet est faisable. Dans la mode, verifier que la matière recherchée existe, tester des échantillons, faire plusieurs prototypes, trouver de bons fournisseurs…

Ensuite, savoir bien s’entourer d’un collaborateur qui partage notre enthousiasme ou d’amis qui nous soutiennent. Et se dire que si ca ne marche pas ce n’est pas grave. Mieux vaut vivre avec des remords que des regrets!

Personnellement, on aurait plus souffert de ne pas avoir lancé notre projet que de l’avoir fait trop tôt si le marché n’était pas prêt, par exemple.

Enfin, bien dormir, bien manger et s’octroyer du temps pour déconnecter (lire un livre, aller au cinéma, peu importe le passe-temps qui nous fait du bien): Et vraiment en avoir envie, car c’est avec passion et bienveillance que l’on réalise de grandes choses!

poetiaue Paris vegan fashion

Are you an entrepreneur, an artist, an athlete, a healer or anyone who wants to make a positive impact in the word?

"I Want Women to Step out of their Comfort Zone when they Wear my Jewelry" - Baroqco
Baroqco Helene Clabecq female empowerment jewellry

I had the privilege of attending the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week this year, and you know me, I exclusively seek designers who pass on an empowering message through their work.

Haute Couture creations are generally breathtaking, and adding a layer of depth by integrating a message for those who wear them certainly multiplies their value.

That’s what led me to the Baroqco show.

Bbaroqco Helene Clabecq female empowerment jewelry

The founders, originally from the Netherlands, have this beautiful story of having fallen in love with bijoux and gems in particular, in Paris, Place Vendôme, as they were selecting jewelry to wear for their wedding.

Eduardo Liem, who designed the pieces with his wife, Imelda, answered some of my questions about their extravagant designs and the love and intent they’ve infused into them, as we cheered on sugar-free soda at Le Grand Hotel Intercontinental de Paris, after the show:

“What I want to achieve through my designs is female empowerment. I want to take away the insecurity of women so they can be empowered by it.

When I give them my jewelry, they are sometimes within their comfort zone, insecure… But once they wear it, they get outside of that comfort zone. They go through a transformation to be the women they are, with a sense of dignity and extroversion. All eyes are on them”.

And indeed, how can you not feel like a queen yourself when wearing such fabulous pieces? See for yourself:

Baroqco Jewerly female empowered
Baroqco Jewerly female empowered jewelry
BAROQCO FEMALE EMPOWERMENT JEWELRY
Why "I Don't Belong to You" is Mido's Life and Fashion Statement
Mido fashion style
“I don’t belong to you” - Photos by  Marco Ter Beek

“I don’t belong to you” - Photos by Marco Ter Beek

As I was walking around Hotel Intercontinental during the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week, I spotted the fashion designer Mido wearing a belt full of statements like “Justice, Freedom, Peace” and other power words I related to.

Because I’m specialized in portrait interviews centered around social justice and impact, I grabbed him for an interview.

“- I love women. But I feel like when women design for other women, there’s jealousy involved.

I’ve witnessed several times clients looking perfect in dresses and the designer would say “Don’t take it, let’s stay on the safe side”…

I don't chose the safe side. In fact, the way I’d describe my ideal client would be “a diva”.

I don’t like how this word is usually defined, but the way I see it is a woman who’s walking down the street and everybody is looking at her, wondering where she got her outfit from, because she looks fabulous!

It’s not just about the cut, the color, the silhouette nor the cloth, it’s also about sending a message.

One of my idols is Viviane Westwood because she makes crazy fashion, a mix between pretty a porter and haute-couture, but through her clothes, she expresses herself and the way she thinks, which it’s really important for me too.

It’s one of the reasons why I feel different from many designers.

Another reason I feel different comes from my background: I was born in Egypt and I’m mixed-race. My mother is white, my father is black, my grand-mother is Turkish.

Every 2-3 years I would move to a different country, so I’ve always been interested in other cultures. I studied in American schools, and even if we’d speak the same languages with my classmates, we would have different accents and backgrounds.

I used to hate that instability because I’d always have to make new friends and get accustomed to new cultures. But now I see how it has built my character, and eventually my work.

Actually, my biggest inspiration is mixed cultures. For instance, my last collection is inspired by two cultures very far away from each other… I researched those cultures a lot and tried to find the common ground to mix them together : Maasai and Mongolia.

I just moved from Poland to Paris this week and I’m excited to see what inspiration will arise for my next collections!

“I don’t belong to you” is my slogan and is part of my label, sewed on all my clothes.

Anyone will interpret it differently, but for me it means that wherever I’ve lived, I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I feel the same about religions, languages… I appreciate everything but I don’t want to feel biased nor limited.

I don’t like to feel judged by close-minded people, upon whichever category they put me in, for instance, my skin is colored and people get shocked in Polish when I speak their language perfectly. Why?!

- It’s really a strong statement because when comparing your journey to your work, it feels like since you were forced to move to all those different places during your childhood, you probably felt like you didn’t belong, and though “You know what, if I don’t belong, I’m gonna be my own persona, embrace my uniqueness and create pieces that stand out”, I reply.

- Exactly. I want to show that difference is beautiful and not something to hide from, rather something to embrace.

Life is so short!

I’ve noticed that people prefer to stick with jobs and situations they dislike until the end of their lives, to then regret and question their choices once it’s too late. If everyone pursued what they were good at, they would put their heart into what they do best and the world would change.

- That’s what I display with my work, by portraying people like you”, I conclude.

:)