Posts in female empowerment
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!

 
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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.

:)

"(Inner) Beauty will Save the World - Redefining Beauty with Former Model Cris Saur
Cris Saur

Here’s parts of my interview of a fashion model and strong inspiring woman who decided redefine beauty from all perspectives.

A story of empowerment, self-love and social justice wrapped in a movie coming out early 2019.

I was lucky enough to meet Chris Saur and dig deeper on her journey from Civil Engineer, to Fashion Model, to Activist on a quest for the true definition of beauty.

MY ARTICLE IN FASHION IN REVOLT*

*A collective of fashion enthusiasts with a focus on social justice, millennial and promoting authenticity.

Maintaining Self-Confidence in the Modeling Industry
Vanessa Rebello

I met Vanessa on a photoshoot in Portugal. She was beautiful and appeared self-confident.

We quickly exchanged our Instagrams profiles. As I scrolled through her page, I noticed that she was writing long captions about strength, self-confidence and gratitude.

I asked her what led her to this mindset. Because no matter how stunning you look, it is difficult to maintain a high self-confidence in the modeling industry, where your worth is mainly based on your appearance and you face lots of rejections.

Here’s our interview:

You Don’t See the World as it Is, You See the World as You Are
— Vanessa, Model & Psychologist

1. Vanessa, you are a Model and Psychologist. What is your perspective on beauty?

“For me, beauty has much more to do with the inside, with how you truly feel about yourself. I mean, if I don’t love who I am, how can I expect others to? I believe that we are beings of energy, so we can be absolutely stunning on the outside (though there’s no such thing as universal beauty), but if we have a bad attitude, if we don’t believe in ourselves, if we don’t have confidence, if we aren’t positive, that’s how we will appear to others.

2. How do you define self-Love?

If you asked me what my beauty secret was, I would say: Self-Love, because without that, we can’t go anywhere, or at least we can’t go anywhere and be happy. For me beauty is all about that: in order to love others, we have to love ourselves first, and by loving ourselves, we are teaching others how they should treat us.


3. You talk a lot about gratitude. How did you find your inner peace?

Since I was born, my parents worked a lot, and had to find me an (almost) full time nanny. To make up for the lack of time for taking care of me, they made the mistake that a lot of parents do: Gave me everything. I say that it was a mistake because I didn’t have the chance to learn how to fight for things, I had absolutely everything I wanted and I didn’t learn how to take a “No” for an answer. That type of behavior led me to grow up as an ungrateful person, I used to take everything for granted.

I never judged my parents for not being with me 24/7 because I knew that they really had to work for me and my brother to have a better life, and nowadays, we have a lot of time together. I changed a few years ago and turned into a grateful person, grateful for everything I had, I can’t tell you exactly when or why I started to switch my perception of reality. I guess I just matured … 

4. How do you use social media?

Social media is not all about beautiful pictures, beautiful plates of food and tumblr quotes that mostly don’t even fit the person who’s posting them … I use my social media for much more than that!

First of all, absolutely everything I post it’s from my heart, it’s not a cute quote that I find somewhere and that is socially cool to write. When I write a quote, from anywhere, it’s because I truly believe in those words. I try everyday to pass on to my followers the way I see and live life, the way I see people, the way I believe the world can be a better place.

I just want to free people from hatred. Do you realize what a game changer this would be if people hated less and loved more, especially themselves? I meet too many people more worried about criticizing others and letting them down, than empowering them. The thing is they do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their own character.


5. Who were you before starting modeling? How did you feel?
I had a few friends, never liked to go out much, slept early and always dreamed to be a model. I felt happy but knew something was missing, I always knew what my passion was and I always knew that someday I would run after it and then when I turned 18 I did … and here I am.

6. What led you into this business?
My passion. It’s all about it. It’s all about how it makes me feel, how my blood races every time I’m working.

I can tell you a true story that happened to me almost 3 years ago and gave me the absolutely certainty that I had to go after my dream at all costs: I have only had 2 boyfriends: the first one was my first love back when I was a kid, we all know how it feels. But with the second one, we stayed together for almost 8 years and when it was over, I saw my life falling apart, I could barely breath, sleep or eat, I just cried non stop. I was feeling this inexplicable pain, I looked into my eyes and prayed for God to stop this. How could it hurt me so much since it wasn't even physical? One night, I remember looking at the window and thinking how easy would it be to end that pain. And the next day, I had this one modeling job and was crying at home and telling my best friend I didn’t want to go. I ended up going and guess what? While I was shooting, my pain just went away. I didn’t feel anything except how blessed I was for being able to live my dream job.

That was what literally made me feel alive. That’s the day I decided I’d do anything in my power to relive that.

7. Tell me about the number 8 and its meaning to you.
The number 8 is the bad luck number of me and my family. I once had a sister (I wasn’t born yet so I didn’t know her) who got really sick and died a few days later on the 8th. My brother and mum both got cancer and knew about it on the 8th. I had an uncle that had cancer too and died on the 8th. And my father had 2 accidents and both of them were on the 8th.

So, neither of us make important decisions, go on long trips, nor make doctor appointments or anything important on an “8th”.

Is it a coincidence? I really don’t think so … 

8. Which specific moment or event has been a turning point for you to decide to be more grateful, strong and positive like you are now?

Like I said, I don’t know exactly when I became more grateful, but I can tell you when I started loving myself and when I achieved complete self-love, because those were 2 different stages for me.

I started loving myself when my last relationship was over and I hit the bottom.

I hit the bottom because I loved him more than I loved me, and I think that’s the real problem. I told you I had 2 boyfriends until now and it’s true, but in my life I loved 3 persons, and one of them was so … overwhelming, and so intense, and so strong … That I forgot about me. I ignored my values and my principles to be with that person. I always loved more others (and I’m talking about friends too) than myself and once again, I was loving him more than me.

One day, I just woke up, and I told to myself “What the hell is this?”. “Why am I accepting something less than I deserve?”. On that same day, I said it’s over and it was. On that same day, I started to value myself more than anything, I put my standards right where they belonged, so high no one was capable to reach them. No boy, no friend, no one. I can say I can count on one hand the people who really matter to me, and I can say that I don’t complete the 5 fingers of a hand without counting my family. Those are my people, the people I care about the most, my home team, the only ones I love as much as I love myself, nothing more, nothing less. 

It was a smooth transition in a way that I didn’t force it, it just happened overnight, but a painful too because the whole reason of it almost killed me.

10. What helped/helps you overcome challenges?

When I became aware of my value and gained complete self-love, I became so strong, like a bulletproof mind. Now, when I have a challenge and I accept it, I do everything to get it right, but if I don’t it’s okay, I think that people and opportunities always come when you are ready for them, if they don’t come or they don’t go as you wanted, it’s because it was not the right time. I trust this a lot.

11. Looking back at your turning point, what have you learnt from it?

I learned so much, so much that I don't wish that hadn't happened to me. I’m glad it did because it made me grow, it made me a stronger human being, it made me unstoppable. I learned that there is nothing more volatile than people. I learned that you can’t put your life and happiness in the hands of others. I learned that you have to be grateful for whatever comes to you, for everything you have, for your family, for your real friends. I learned not to give credit to negative people nor let them bring me down. But most of all, I learned to love myself and believe in myself at 100%, and this is priceless. 

12. How do you define success?

I don’t believe that success is achieving your goal, I believe that success is how much you expand in the process, and if it makes you really happy, then you are successful. Most people aren’t happy in my industry because success brings a lot of exposure, that leads to judgments, and not a lot of models are ready to deal with that so I think that if you can’t handle being talked about, lied to and disliked, then you’re not ready to be successful in any business. Life is too short to waste any time wondering what other people think about you.

In the first place, if they had better things going on in their lives, they wouldn’t have the time to sit around and talk about you. What’s important to me is not others opinions of me, but my opinion of myself. My advice is for you to develop a strong opinion about yourself so that you don’t accidentally start believing what others say about you.

13. What is your vision of the fashion world and the way it has shaped you?

I think that the fashion industry is already changing for better. They don’t ask for anorexic girls anymore, or at least not as often as before, they gave plus models a place in the industry, they start to value “real women”, and everyday I see the industry becoming more “realistic”, but of course they have much more to do!

I’m not expecting to change the fashion world, I used to say “I don’t made the game, I just play it” and this is true.

If I want to be a model, I have to be skinny, I have to take care of my skin, of my body, I have to go to commercial board at an agency because fashion board is for tall women (which for industry is above 175cm), so I can’t do catwalk because they see me as “too short” for it.

Now you can ask me: You do all of that because you want to be a model? And my answer is: No. I do all of that because I already did it before I became a model. I always loved the skinny type and worked for it even when people said that “big booty and strong legs rule", I always loved to take care of my skin and my body. I don't like to do catwalks so I don’t really mind that the industry doesn’t let me to, unless it’s Victoria’s Secret, every girl dreams about it right? It’s magical! So for me it’s cool, I don’t change my self to be a model, but what I constantly see is girls changing herselves to fit the industry and a lot of times they get sick, they start to consume drugs, they do everything to enter to this world but what’s the point of being anything if it costs your peace? Your dignity? Your health? I think in that case, it’s too expensive.

I wish that people loved themselves more because if they did, they wouldn't allow a lot of situations, they wouldn’t put themselves in bad places so often and they would value their dignity, which is something that unfortunately is underrated nowadays. I personally lost a lot of opportunities because I preferred to stick with my values and dignity than getting that one job … but I don’t see that in others, I’ve seen pacts with the devil so many times … 

15. Through your work, which overall message do you want to pass on to others?

I think that one of the best advices I can give to people is to be the type of person that they would want to meet. Energy is all about reciprocation, if you have positive energy you attract positive things and people. Be kind, but be truly kind, because nowadays everyone claims to be a kind person just because they do something for someone, but if you’re helping someone and expecting something in return, you’re doing business, not kindness.

16. In one sentence in Portuguese, what is your personal slogan and what does it mean to you?

It’s quite difficult to choose just one but I will choose the first that came to my mind and the one I tell people more often: “Tu não vês o mundo como ele é, tu vês o mundo como tu és”, in english it means something like this “You don’t see the world as it is, you see the world as you are”. That quote means a lot to me, because when I started to love myself 100% and be grateful, the world changed in front of my eyes, became more incredible, more magical, more positive. The way you see yourself is the very first step for the way you see others, and this is powerful

Always Dare to Be More!

I met Tatiana at a women-only networking event in LA. 

We instantly vibed as she also is a big believer of female empowerment. 

What she taught me however; was that there's a pretty common misconception of the definition of a successful career among us ladies : indeed; the path is very much different for each gender, and copying males can very much lead to unfulfilment; feeling the need to constantly prove ourselves, or being perceived as a bitch.

Rather; she taught me the importance of embracing who we truly are, taking into account our specific gifts from nature and embracing our differences: Listen to her story and how she came to those realisations after having hit the wall herself. 


Sum-up of the episode:

-  Feminine Vs Masculine energy

- Embracing your gender-specific power or taking it away from yourself

- Achieving the society-defined success but hitting the wall at a Tony Robbin's event

- Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure

- Western women will heal the world

- How copying men can turn you into a bitch

- The right way to use your guns as an attractive woman

Reading time: 1'

Reading time: 1'