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  • Writer's pictureLyla Bhalla-Ladd

Up-and-Coming Designers in Paris

One of the less shiny aspects of fashion in Paris is the exposure process for young and upcoming designers. In January, I went to the Rick Owens show at Palais De Tokyo. I got a bit lost along the way and stumbled into the buyers’ warehouse in the basement. There, I met two incredible up-and-coming designers that embody the new direction of the French fashion scene.

Patchouli is the sustainable fashion blueprint. They use all recycled fabric and materials sourced from Italy to create modern knits that challenge the idea of sustainable fashion. Patchouli’s newest collection, Seeking Beauty, focuses on “discovering beauty and how it is achieved” says creative director and founder, Andrea Zanola. He combines natural materials like wool and cotton with some unnatural like acrylic to produce a collection that speaks to his investigation into the softness of beauty and the roughness of it as well. Some stronger pieces stick out like the use of harder wool and metal in the crochet tops. There are also some more “romantic” pieces with light knit sweaters and heart features. My favorites of the collection are the backless blue metallic piece and the cashmere sweater. This sweater, Andrea tells me, is an especially cherished piece as it is the collaboration piece between him and his business partner at Patchouli, beautifully representing their different talents in color dyeing and knitting.

Patchouli represents the revival of the knit- no longer the itchy sweaters from your childhood, but instead chic vests and metallic crochet tops that are as chic as they are responsibly and ethically made. The redefinition of texture and material perfectly accompanies the development of sustainable fashion, and Patchouli is the best example of uncompromised quality and beauty.

Another one of my favorites at the showroom was De Pino. This brand produces incredibly delicate pieces and collections exploring ideas of femininity and nontraditional silhouettes. The pieces from Gabriel Figueiredo’s Fall/Winter22 are meant to drape across the body and extenuate the natural form rather than cover it. The tops and necklaces from his most recent collection adorn the body, and, while modeled by men on his website, speak to the empowerment of a woman, and imply some level of nakedness one might declare wearing a pearl necklace as a shirt.

There is a level of absurdism throughout the collection, one that echoes a childlike inspiration. Pieces like the sequin strapless dress on a male model challenge modern ideas of gendered fashion and beg the question of when we lost that childlike compulsion to dress up and had not yet grasped what was and was not allowed or expected from us. De Pino’s collection is one of great craft and an honest expression of freedom. My favorites from the collection are the brown embroidered vest and the Denim sketch bad.

It is such a privilege to observe budding designers and observe ateliers on the rise, especially those so ambitious to produce entirely environmentally- responsible collections. It begs the investigation into if well-established designers could do just as good with ethically-produced clothing, given they have considerably more resources than smaller brands such as Patchouli and De Pino.

Check out both of these designers here:


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