Work in Fashion Presents: 85˚ Paris
By Yasmin Jones-Henry
I don’t love fashion: I love people and I admire the works of art they create. When it comes to fashion, there are two things that interest me: craftsmanship and entrepreneurialism. What is it? Where was it made? How was it made? It’s not the item that interests me, but the stories of the lives – the hands that mould, meld, stitch and complete these works of wonder that capture my imagination.
I have often pleaded with friends who have been seduced by the high street’s offering of fast fashion to consider the hands and hearts of the people who make these clothes. Plagiarism isn’t cool. Exploitation will never be chic. It has taken a long time for the industry to gravitate towards a dialogue about sustainability and ethically sourced materials. For so long phrases like ‘eco-fashion’, ‘ethical fashion’ and ‘fairtrade’ were treated as mere buzzwords. Thankfully, along this quest to redefine fashion, what it means and how it ought to operate, I have found some new collaborators. As it happens – if you search you will find a growing community of like minded individuals working behind the scenes to change the game.
Introducing 85˚ Paris
85˚ Paris is a business that champions both craftsmanship and entrepreneurialism. Founded by Amaya Ducru Clouthier and Ines Olaechea, 85˚ Paris is the epitome of cool. They offer a multifaceted service of consultancy, e-commerce and promotion for ethical lifestyle brands made in Latin America.
Earlier this year I met with Ines in London, as she walked me through some of their sample pieces, I found myself feeling extremely grateful. I was grateful to meet someone who shares a similar world view about the direction that fashion ought to be heading in. For a long time, ethical fashion – for those who have championed it, has been a lonely wilderness. The few voices carrying the message of fairness in commerce, have often fallen on deaf ears in the face of fast fashion’s ill gotten profits.
Fashion and economics go hand in hand. I have always maintained this argument – because it’s factually correct. In its purest form – fashion represents the sum of manufacturing, human labour and craft (skill, dexterity, ingenuity, innovation etc); taking resources and making them into something accessible and affordable that the consumer can purchase with their disposable income. Consumers’ demand drives supply, which drives employment opportunities providing jobs and thereby facilitating agency in some of the world’s most deprived areas.
This, in theory – when applied under ethical conditions is the beauty of fashion. Its beauty lies not only in the aesthetic value of a particular item, but also in its potential to sow a self multiplying seed of independence and social mobility across the world. In the tapestry of humanity, the item you purchase will contribute to clothing, feeding and providing for people that you may never meet.
This mindfulness of the wider community infiltrates everything 85˚ Paris represents. “Creating a cultural syncretism through design” is the headline on their brochure. They too share in my desire to change the culture that surrounds the artisan and the consumer in the world of fashion. Shifting focus away from cutting costs, cutting corners, exploitation and deceit, they bring with them a refreshing selection of new, groundbreaking and most importantly, ethical designers. They have created a platform through which artisans in Latin America are able to bring their products to the European markets that have previously been saturated with produce manufactured in the Far East.
85˚ is the mean degree of latitude and longitude that covers the Latin American territories, Amaya explains. Their aim is to remain focused on a particular region, a particular market, and a particular type of clientele. Too often luxury lifestyle brands lose their way trying to be all things to all people. These entrepreneurs have spotted a gap in the market. By prioritising Latin American designers – they have found their niche. They have understood early on that there are many advantages to being exclusive. In their pursuit of the clean aesthetic, untainted by fast-fashion, they have automatically created a filter for the products they market.
At 85˚ Paris the prices are reasonable and affordable, sitting in between the high street and high fashion. With a wide selection ranging from womens daywear to interiors and accessories for the home, each piece, is an investment. They offer their clients in Latin America access to both their e-commerce store and their showroom in Paris, as they appreciate that not all of their customers exist solely in the digital realm. With their new store opening to the public from 7th May 2018, they have provided one more excuse for me to hop on the Eurostar to pay them a visit.
In the meantime, @Workinfashion.me will be showcasing a selection of our favourite pieces from the designers they support. First in line is Zii Ropa: with summer around the corner, the Ines Kimono, The Kono top and Kono trousers will provide solutions to all your minimalist needs. Next is Liza Echeverry, made in Colombia her accessories are the ultimate statement piece as they are a fusion of geometry, open spaces and post-modernist flair. Visit the WorkinFashion//Store for further information and stay tuned for more collections and future collaborations with 85˚ Paris. *Enter: 85XWIF at the checkout to receive your 10% discount on these items*
Until next time…
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