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Jacquemus is the story of a man who wanted to become a designer and made it happen despite the odds. “I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the south of France; everybody in the village knew my biggest dream was to be in fashion,” recalled Simon Porte Jacquemus. After spending his childhood “in the field,” he enrolled at Esmod in Paris, only to decide two months later to drop out and give it a go on his own. At 19 and with only 2,000 euros to his name, he set up his label from home. In its nine seasons, the line, which is entirely made in France, grew from 12 items in the first season to 106 for fall.

This story first appeared in the March 26, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Basing the look on Jacquemus’ tomboy aesthetic, he describes his line as “naïve,” “natural,” “ultrasimplistic” and “raw.” His target customer, he adds, is “a sporty, young girl, wearing flat shoes and no makeup.”

Reflecting the notion of accessibility, the line’s price range goes from 200 euros to 900 euros, or $278 to $1,251. “I don’t want to be too expensive because it stresses me out,” he said.

Last November, Jacquemus finally allowed himself to quit his part-time position as a sales assistant at Comme des Garçons in Paris, and he recently set up his first “proper” studio in the Marais neighborhood. “We are growing threefold every season, and all our stockists are buying more,” he said, noting that his collection is now sold in 60 stores including Dover Street Market, Corso Como and Opening Ceremony, though the biggest share of the business is online.

Retailers and finance aside, what Jacquemus loves most about fashion is its creative freedom. “There are no rules, you can do what you want,” he says. “And for me it’s not about the clothes, it’s about the spirit.”

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