What a whirlwind weekend.
Don't be misled by the title of my post though; I didn't make a trip to Paris (although I will be for Fashion Week in the Spring as I do every year). Rather, it's the name of the contemporary line by French designer Floriane Fosso - a line that draws influence from Floriane's travels around the world.
I had the privilege of hosting Floriane while she was in Vancouver this weekend, meeting with select retailers, media and influencers. This being her first trip to Vancouver, Floriane is excited to learn more about its residents and their desire for fashion - particularly slow fashion.
You see, Floriane is passionate about making things that will stand the test of time, but in an ethical, environmentally sustainable way. Although she sounds like she could be from Vancouver or LA, she's not. Half French and Half Cameroonian, Floriane was born and raised just outside of Paris. And when you talk to her you often forget that she is only 25 - yet has a very pragmatic lens on the world. She also holds a business degree, which gives her a leg up on balancing the creative with a business strategy to build her brand slowly.
Both her From Paris To and Floriane Fosso Studio (higher end, signature line) incorporates recycled pieces of luxury fabrics, leathers and other materials that other top design houses discard; breathing new life into what could have been added to another landfill. All of her pieces are made in France.
This passion to reduce waste, up cycle and recycle by bringing new and old together to create beautifully made fashion is what drew me to her label when I first met Floriane back in March during breaks between shows in Paris.
While eco-fashion has made great strides to build awareness around more sustainable wardrobe alternatives it still has yet to penetrate the mindset of the masses. This is particularly true with a generation driven more by immediacy and on demand than the slower, creative hands on process and appreciation for things that last.
Look around today - we rarely have to wait for anything anymore. And with manufacturers who operate on high volumes and low cost labour from third world countries they make fashion disposable and easily replaceable, one week at a time. For real change to occur, leaders of fashion in the "Old World" of France and Italy need to begin changing the dialogue and the direction of fashion, one of the most polluting industries on the planet. Floriane Fosso has been leading this charge in France and begun disrupting the industry in a way that is both surprising and not - for someone so young.
The highlight of this weekend in Vancouver was a VIP preview of Floriane's Spring/Summer 2017 collection, with six of the city's emerging influencers. Well, seven I suppose if you include me. Nonetheless, the guests were treated to an afternoon of intimate discussion with Floriane around their perceptions of the industry, where they think it's headed and the concept of ecofashion at the luxury level. Floriane talked about what inspired her designs, the process of how the pieces are made and where she sources her upcycled materials. The event was capped by a super fun 'dress up' moment where each influencer was asked to play 'model' and select a garment from the rack - one that really represents them - for a photo op. The result was amazing - you have six very different influencers, each with their own unique style - but they all were drawn to a particular piece of Floriane's collection and made it their own. I think we've got some new Vancouver muses for this Paris designer, don't you?
Shop Floriane Fosso's current Fall/Winter 2016 collection now but you'll be seeing her future collections in Vancouver very soon!