Interview; Maison Fauve
May’s Luxury “Wild Side” boxes included the Ludmilla dress and top from French pattern company Maison Fauve created by Emilie who I chatted to to find out more about how she set up her own pattern company.
When and why did you decide to start your own pattern company?
My job is a dental surgeon, and I started sewing by accident 7 years ago when I was pregnant with my second son. I’ve always loved fashion and I designed a lot of clothes, I met a seamstress to sew some of my designs for me but she insisted on teaching me the basics of sewing and patterning. I was passionate about it, and I quickly started creating my own patterns and showing my work on Instagram. My designs were popular, I said to myself “why not offer the patterns for sale?”. I had friends who had a printing company, and who accompanied me to create a site… The adventure was launched but totally in side project mode. And after almost 5 years I decided to take the plunge, I left my practice and I have been a full manager for a year. I design and prototype all Maison Fauve clothing, and I have been supported since the start of my brand by a model maker who controls my prototypes, ranks and digitizes the patterns.
What inspires your creations?
I love fashion, haute couture, and I never miss a show. But I am also carried by my readings, exhibitions, strong artistic trends (as for my Ballets Russes collection). I often have a crush on a colour palette, a silhouette, an allure, and I focus on a detail (like the darts, the folds). I want each collection to offer a complete wardrobe, so I envision “my ideal wardrobe” for the season, with clothes that respond to each other.
What does a typical day look like for you?
When I was still a dentist, night was my second day at work!!
Now I still don’t have a typical day because my activities depend on brand news. For example, we have just presented our latest collection, and the last few weeks have been devoted to sewing the clothes of the models, preparing the logistics of the shootings, then shooting the video tutorials.
In the “quieter” phases, in the morning I review the orders with my team, then I prepare content for the site, I still sew a lot, and I anticipate the next events for Maison Fauve.
One thing that sets you apart is your instructional videos (in French) that accompany your models. What made you decide to do this?
From the start of my brand, I made photo tutorials on my own to support the seamstresses. The demand for video was high, but on its own and with another profession alongside it was unmanageable. When my partner Julie joined me, and when I stopped being a dentist, it was in February 2020, so just before the start of the pandemic. We wanted to offer quality content and especially for beginners during the first confinement, and we launched the Youtube channel, first with videos for beginners, then by filming all the tutorials of the patterns of the most recent collections, and we continue this work every season. Each collection is now available with tutorials from launch. We put a lot of energy into making these videos and I’m happy because we have great reviews from our customers. We have also offered mini tutorials, which focus on technical points (putting on a zip, sewing on a dart, putting on a neckline bias, etc.). All this content is in the “TUTOS” section of our site.
And know that the Youtube video player allows the viewer to choose the video’s subtitles in the language of their choice;)
How did this keep your business running during a pandemic?
Maison Fauve is mostly a digital company, so there was very little in the way of interruptions due to the post during lockdowns. We were able to continue shipping customer orders. Our printer also continued its activity, so no stock problem. We have also done operations around pdf patterns.
We continue to offer high quality content to our clients: tutorials, pattern hacks, a special free guide to adapting a pattern to its measurements, Instagram lives that I have organized with designers.
And twice a year, we also offer our exclusive digital magazine “Oeil Fauve” which talks about fashion, inspiration and trends. L’Oeil Fauve is also the inspirational section of the Maison Fauve website, where I describe in more detail the universe of collections. All this content is free, because I want the client who buys our patterns to be surrounded, supported as best as possible for the most successful possible result and above all to progress.
Do you have new upcoming projects that you can tell us about?
So … This is exclusive information, but our next big project will be the release of a range of fabrics by Maison Fauve whose prints I designed.