If I tell you that creative people have the power to change the world. What would you say? I started each interview of this special podcast series recorded at the We are French Touch festival in this way. In the corridors of We are, I meet Guillaume Larquemain, one of the talents of the French Touch in the fashion industry who exports internationally and is supported by the French Touch ecosystem. Creative and entrepreneurial, Guillaume has shown audacity and innovation by launching his eponymous brand with the signature reuse of totally ecological materials such as the apple.
Who is Guillaume Larquemain?
Guillaume Larquemain is Artistic Director and creator of his eponymous brand whose signature is the apple canvas 🍏 He is a graduate of the École Boulle and explores both emerging bio-materials and augmented reality.
What can this podcast do for you?
My guest is Guillaume Larquemain, a podcast conversation recorded live from the We are French Touch Festival
Here are the topics covered in our conversation recorded live during the We are French Touch Festival in Paris:
- Understanding what the We are French Touch Festival is
- The power of the French creative signature – the French Touch in Fashion
- What the French Touch ecosystem can bring to fashion designers
- Learn more about Fashion for Good – eco-design from A to Z in Fashion
What is the We are French Touch festival?
To explain it simply, I usually say that the French Touch is like the French Tech for technology start-ups, but in the creative industries, i.e. fashion, video games, media,…Delphine, Founder of 2Goodmedia
The We are French Touch festival is THE must-attend event for the French creative industries. This annual festival is a co-creation between We are_, the creative industries club (see photo of We are_ headquarters above) and the BPI, the French public investment bank that supports entrepreneurs.
The goal of the We are French Touch festival is to promote the transversality of the creative industries in all sectors of the cultural and creative industries (CCI).
To explain it simply, I usually say that the French Touch is
like the French Tech for technology start-ups, but in the creative industries,
i.e. fashion, video games, media, music, cinema, etc. I don’t know if I’m being
clearer here. And the common denominator of these industries is creativity and
innovation. The levers of digital and new technologies (Web3, NFT, Metavers,
AR, VR, etc) are obviously at the heart of the development of the French Touch
I could also say that the We are French Touch is actually all of us: speakers and participants of this exceptional open day event of meetings and networking,
In this podcast, I take you to We are_ , at 73 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in the former perfume museum, just across from the Hotel Bristol. A prestigious address and a beautiful Haussmannian building with its garden as a haven of peace in the heart of the 8th. The Parisian club hosts the largest event celebrating the talents of the French creative industries. Entrepreneurs and managers are invited to share their entrepreneurial experiences in this friendly and open place where they can discuss, network, and find future partners or collaborators.
Who am I?
I am Delphine Souquet and I welcome you to 2Goodmedia. I’m known as the French Loïc Prigent of podcasts because my speciality is to cover the backstage of major events in the creative industries, in France and abroad, in podcast documentaries. We’re good, let’s go!
Intro on this Podcast recorded at the Weare French Touch Festival
There is indeed a very strong French creative signature, which is really something that foreigners like to discoverGuillaume Larquemain
Guillaume Larquemain is one of the talents of the French Touch in the fashion industry who exports internationally and is supported by the French Touch ecosystem. Creative and entrepreneurial, Guillaume has proven to be bold and innovative in launching his eponymous brand with a signature focus on the reuse of totally ecological materials such as apples.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:01:05] My name is Guillaume Larquemain, I am the designer and founder of my eponymous brand. I am known for my signature material which is apple canvas. There is indeed a very strong French creative signature, which is really something that foreigners like to discover because in fact we have this spirit of rupture and innovation, of avant garde, of new ideas. And in fact, it’s an incredible passport to travel, to meet these creative minds all over the world.
Delphine [00:01:31] So I’m with Guillaume Larquemain who is the founder and designer of his accessories brand and who is launching his women’s ready-to-wear brand. I am delighted, Guillaume, to meet you in the corridors of We Are Club for this conference on women’s ready-to-wear. You are one of the French talents, you represent the Made in France. Could you introduce yourself to the 2Goodmedia podcast?
Guillaume Larquemain [00:01:54] With pleasure Delphine.
The history of the Guillaume Larquemain brand
Guillaume Larquemain [00:01:55] Hello everyone. My name is Guillaume Larquemain, I’m 40 years old, I’m the designer and founder of my eponymous brand. I’ve made a name for myself thanks to my signature material, which is apple canvas. So in fact, I have my entire collection of women’s and men’s accessories handmade in France, by partner workshops. As you kindly said, I’m launching ready-to-wear at the beginning of next year around plant-based materials, so linen, bamboo, cotton, silk to offer a whole wardrobe and a look for contemporary and urban women who are sensitive to both innovation and disruptive materials and also sensitive to the environment.
The advantages of the French ecosystem of the French Touch
I’m lucky enough to be a resident at Les Ateliers de Paris, …to support new talent in three areas: design, fashion and crafts
Delphine [00:02:35] You are part of different programmes. We are lucky in France. The French Touch is also a whole ecosystem. Can you explain to the audience what is this ecosystem that we can rely on when we want to change the way we do fashion, not only in this country, because it has an international impact today.
I became known for my signature material, apple canvas
Guillaume Larquemain [00:02:57] So that’s a very good question. I’m lucky enough to be a resident at the Ateliers de Paris, which is a system in fact of the City of Paris, of the French Federation of the ready to wear, also of the Ministry of Culture, to support new talents in three fields : design, fashion and crafts. And so, in fact, it is a system of incubators where we can develop our activity in launch for two years. So that’s extraordinary. And I was very recently awarded, as you said, the grant, the French Touch grant from the BPI, which also noticed my innovation, which allows me to develop this new collection, where I’m going to go from five to more than 25 products. And we have a whole ecosystem of structures which can follow us according to our sector of activity. I am lucky enough to be supported by the French Federation of Ready-to-Wear, which follows the young talents who develop them and which also accompanies them on professional shows and structures, more particularly in the fields of leather and its alternatives. I can tell you about the CTC, which is the technical centre for leather, which also supports young designers specifically on these subjects.
Do creatives have the power to change the world?
But in any case, creative people have the power to express a new world…Guillaume Larquemain
Delphine [00:04:01] I also wanted to ask you this question that I ask to all the speakers that I have at the microphone. Do you think that creative people have the power to change the world?
Guillaume Larquemain [00:04:11] But in any case, creatives have the power to express a new world. That’s the way I like to say it, to share it, to propose collections that don’t exist and to share their inspirations, innovations and things that drive them with their community. I’m lucky enough to be distributed, for example in Stockholm, and to have been chosen by people who recognize themselves in the very minimalist universe of my brand. There is indeed a very strong French creative signature, which is really something that foreigners like to discover. Because in fact we have this spirit of rupture and innovation, of avant-garde, of new ideas and in fact, it’s an incredible passport to travel, to meet these creative minds all over the world. We are lucky to be recognised in Paris and in France for our signature.
The Culture Export USA programme
22 French brands to be distributed in the USA for the year 2023
Guillaume Larquemain : And I am lucky enough to be accompanied by the BPI on a new programme called Culture Export U.S.A. Among the 22 French brands that will be distributed in the USA for the year 2023. And we realize that there is a strong attraction for this creative state of mind, this French signature and this search for the little extra. There is an extremely strong artistic sensitivity and all these cultural and creative industries are a breeding ground for extraordinary talent. In the fashion industry, you never work alone. We work in collaboration with a whole bunch of different skills, stylists, photographers, journalists, etc. etc. And in fact, this artistic and creative ecosystem is extremely powerful in France and extremely rich and diversified. Hence the interest in meeting the creators as much as possible directly, talking with them, discussing, exchanging to see what collaboration can be implemented to show these new French business models.
French Touch and French Tech
There is the creative part, design, manufacturing and then the communication… to make people discover their collections with a whole bunch of new tools that are also new territories of expression for the designers
Delphine [00:05:58] This French touch is still very tech in the different conferences I attended. How do you see the contribution of tech and how does the French touch differ from the wider French Tech movement?
Guillaume Larquemain [00:06:14] So the French Touch is about several things. I have the chance with my brand, really, and my ambition is to manufacture, to produce with partner workshops in France. So there is the whole creative design part, both creative and business in terms of design. But there is also the manufacturing part. The most beautiful brands, for me, are the ones that are the best executed, also in terms of quality of production, durability of the collections, etc.
So in fact, it’s also a whole French textile industrial framework which is being revived. We saw at the Made in France show with the operations of L’usine Nouvelle etc. the extent to which this revitalisation of the territories is really starting to take place. And it’s extraordinary to be able to work with French living heritage companies. I work with a high-end hat-making workshop near Toulouse which has exceptional know-how.
The French Touch is also all that. It is of course the strength and creative vivacity, but it is also the quality of the workmanship. And we work with exceptional workshops and know-how. And this is a French excellence which is very complete. There is the creative design and manufacturing part and then the communication. And I’ll have the chance to give a 20-minute talk for the Luxury Digital Meeting to luxury industry leaders on the relationship between art craftsmanship and digital. Because in fact, these are new fields of expression. It’s also extremely interesting in communication with augmented reality to make people discover their collections with a whole bunch of new tools that are also new territories of expression for designers.
Delphine [00:07:46] Of course.
You have to tell the story because it’s a question of authenticity
Delphine [00:07:47] Typically, to bring the voices of these exceptional skills that we have in France. I use the multilingual podcast and the native podcast in potentially many languages. I’m thinking of covering the Pitti Uomo show in Chinese, for example, because the Chinese market is very interested in what’s going on in Europe, in France, and they want to have access to quality information in order to discover brands and talent. So indeed, I believe a lot in digital audio to carry this know-how, not only through export but also in communication.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:08:26] Yes, I think it’s a sensitive relationship to things. You have to tell the story because it’s a question of authenticity. There are excellent skills that do not necessarily have a very large audience. Because communicating and creating are two different things. And today, there are still plenty of people to go and meet creators, creative people like me. I’m very happy to be able to chat live on social networks with people who have a whole bunch of questions about the collection, the progress etc. but also these incredible workshops with which we can build new stories.
Delphine [00:08:57] I’m going to Pitti Uomo, are you going too?
The challenges of eco-design
today, the question of sourcing and choice of raw materials is part of the design
I’m going to go and see the Pitti Uomo in Florence because it’s one of the most important places to see and it’s also sensitive to the eco-design issue.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:08:59] I’m going to go and see the Pitti Uomo in Florence because it’s really part of the men’s scene and it’s one of the most important places to see and it’s also sensitive to the eco-design issue. There is the strength and the dynamics of the new products in terms of style. And then there are also these sensitive subjects that animate me around the planet and a new way of consuming.
Delphine [00:09:18] You’ve come to the right person, because on 2Goodmedia at Pitti Uomo, I had the chance to talk for more than an hour with Javier Goyeneche who is the founder of Ecoalf, a Bicorp certified pioneer, the first Spanish fashion company to be certified Bicorp. And their signature is to collect plastic waste from the oceans from volunteer fishermen and transform it. So there’s a lot of product research to make them eco-friendly products that have the same quality in terms of design as other traditional products.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:09:49] Yes, today the question of sourcing and choosing raw materials is part of the design. It’s not just designing a model or having an aesthetic. And we really think about the project from A to Z. Afterwards, in different levels of the range, but. But this question of the choice of materials is also extremely important in relation to the durability and wearability of the clothes. Because you don’t feel the same with all the qualities of raw materials and it’s important to touch them, to experience them to make your own idea.
Delphine [00:10:19] And being a designer with these new materials, it’s much more complex, I think, but it’s very rewarding too. It’s very gratifying to be able to give meaning back to everything we do in the everyday objects that we use.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:10:33] Yes, because the public is also mature on these subjects, they ask questions, they want to know where things come from, both the raw materials, the manufacturing, the making, etc. and it’s important to be transparent and to be authentic in its approach to explain well in fact. What is the best thing we can offer?
Delphine [00:10:51] Exactly. So I’m delighted with this little discussion and I’ll let you continue your day at We are French Touch. Thank you Guillaume.
Guillaume Larquemain [00:10:59] Thanks and see you soon.
Delphine [00:11:04] Thank you for listening to this episode recorded at We are French Touch with Guillaume Larquemain. If you liked this episode you will certainly like the episode recorded with Yann Rivoallan, the head of the French Federation of Women’s Wear. You can find all the episodes of this day on the 2Goodmedia.com website. You will also find the photos of the event as well as the transcription of the podcast episodes in three languages: French, English and Italian. See you soon on 2goodmedia.
Credits : Photographies – Courtesy of We are_club, all rights reserved ; editorials and podcast by 2goodmedia @2022 all rights reserved