PARIS — One is in Troyes, a city in eastern France with a deep-rooted textile history. The other is located in the Haut Marais, a trendy shopping district in the center of Paris.
Rue Begand — the men’s fashion brand — has opened its first brick-and-mortar store on the Rue Charlot, after launching wholesale in January at L’Exception in France and United Arrows in Japan.
Doubling as the label’s headquarters, the shop sports a photo studio in its basement where the fall 2018 and spring 2019 collections were shot for the Rue Begand e-shop, set to launch in a couple of weeks.
Named after a street in Troyes that used to house a number of clothing workshops, the brand is a celebration of local savoir faire.
“Eighty percent of our clothes are made in Troyes,” said Rue Begand’s founder Samuel Granata, adding that the remaining part is manufactured in a nearby town, with a few of the more voluminous pieces being made in Tunisia.
Rue Begand works with L’Atelier d’Ariane, a historical clothing manufacturer based in Troyes run by Granata’s mother Véronique. “My family has had the atelier for over 20 years,” said the 25-year-old founder, who runs the brand with his brother Arthur. “I spent most of my childhood there, scoping out all the designer brands that were working with us to get their clothes made.”
Granata realized early on that having a successful textile workshop at arm’s reach was an invaluable asset. “It would have been a pity not to make the most of it,” he said.
Rue Begand is financed by L’Atelier d’Ariane, but Granata stresses both projects are separate.
He chose to study communications, aware of its importance in the development of a brand, while his brother Arthur specialized in production. The pair created Rue Begand in 2017, spent five months on research and benchmarking, then added creative director Christophe Vérot of swimwear brand Robinson Les Bains to their team, which now counts six people.
Men’s wear was a natural choice. “It’s easier to work in an area we’re familiar with, and also the market is less saturated,” the founder said. Rue Begand delivers relaxed urban pieces with an extra focus on comfort — for example, all the pants have elasticated waists for an easy fit.
Men’s basics are given a slight twist, like a printed smock jacket for fall 2018 or an oversize knitted T-shirt for spring 2019. Fabrics are sourced in France, Italy and Japan. T-shirts are priced between 70 and 90 euros, sweaters between 140 and 160 euros, trousers are sold at 140 euros and jackets go up to 280 euros.
“’Made in France’ sounds a bit old-fashioned, but it’s important to highlight artisanal techniques that have been overlooked in the last couple of years, with brands choosing to produce their collections abroad,” said Granata, who plans to expand Rue Begand’s range to accessories for next season.
“The mentality needs to change, and for that we need to talk about it differently. ‘Made in France’ is not just a question of artisanal techniques. Creativity needs to be strong, so that the clothes can speak for themselves,” Granata said.