In 2015, a knitwear brand was born to start a revolution in doing the opposite to what all major fashion brands were doing at the time – feeding consumers with fast fashion serving 52 seasons a year. With every beginning of a beautiful story there is always a beautiful name, and this one is L’Envers – a French-Spanish exquisite knitwear brand that advocates for slower, sustainable and respectful fashion with a mission to preserve and remain true to those values from the 1820’s when clothes were made to last forever, with care and great quality.
L’Envers means the opposite or the reverse in French.
“Faire les choses à l’envers” is to do things in an opposite way, in a different manner, offering an alternative to fast fashion.
We are captivated by Julie’s authenticity and philosophy of ‘make it slow to make it last’, their catalogue is a precise selection of winter essentials from sweaters to tops, cardigans and knitting kits, made in a handcrafted manner with natural fine materials such as organic cotton and natural wool from almost any sheep you can think of (alpaca, mohair, merino and yak wool)!
Part of realizing this mission was to make sure that there are no one-size fits all. Apart from having designs that are inclusive of all body types, they offer a customized service to make sure that you will never have ill-fitted clothes that end up on the bottom of the drawer. Furthermore, L’Envers offers an extensive care guide to educate consumers and how to carefully look after their garments to walk the talk.
Apart from timeless cozy garments, what makes this brand so special is their strong ethics towards the preservation of craftmanship and our ecosystem, something that is reflected in each step of their production method. From naturally sourced materials, their pieces are knitted by local artisans from small family workshops in Spain to limit ecological footprint, but also to build personal and lasting relationships helping them to grow and maintain local knitting traditions.
In March 2019, the company launched a crowdfunding campaign to equip their artisans with new knitting machines. But not only that. L’Envers also donates 1% of their benefits to support Slow Fashion NGO which helps workers in Bangladesh!
In this interview, Julie shares with us their vision and the journey of being an entrepreneur of a sustainable business that makes things L’Envers (in reverse).
Why do you focus on slow fashion?
At L’Envers our mission is to design fewer pieces made in a better way. We believe quality is an investment in the future that clothing ought to be made in mindful, careful and slow consumption.
We believe our planet deserves better. Less waste and less pollution. That’s why we create seasonless pieces. Away from the tyranny of seasons, we offer timeless editions which are meant to stand the test of time and outlive fast fads and seasonal trends.
What inspired Julie to start a sustainable knitwear brand?
I have always been immersed in the textile world with my family being involved in this industry for a long time. The story goes back to 1820 when my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather founded a wool mill in northern France.
After working in large groups, I was keen to embark on my own entrepreneurial adventure in 2015. It was when I realized that the fashion industry was the second most polluting in the world that I wanted to offer an alternative and launch a fashion brand that was slow, respectful and with low impact.
Is being a sustainable brand more difficult than creating just a beautiful knitwear brand?
As a team we work hard to grow L’Envers but like everything in life, it is a question of finding a balance and a meaning to what we do, and surrounding ourselves with people who share the same convictions and ideals. I love my job and find it very exciting to dress people in a way that preserves our beautiful planet and respects the people making it!
What was the journey of creating L’Envers like? Looking back at the journey so far, is there anything you would like to tell your past self that you wish you knew back then? A tip for the entrepreneur that is still thinking if they can do this!
When I launched L’Envers, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
There is so much more about being a “mompreneur” that no one tells you about. Though each case is unique, I thought I’d share a bit of my experience!
First: starting my own company has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life, and I wouldn’t trade that journey for anything else in the world. I’m grateful for having trusted my intuition and my vision, and to see all its fruits.
Second: ok, let’s be honest here, the pressure is big, and constant. Some say being your own boss makes it easier on you. Not. It’s your business, it’s your babe, you want to make it work, whether that means days, nights, weekends, and/or holidays. It’s all worth it, but it’s what it is…
Third: I’ve been through good times, and through hard times. I constantly question myself, “ Am I doing it right?” “Is it worth the effort?” It is, but the truth is I’ve had to toughen up. I’ve learnt to take up a challenge. To keep going in spite of the obstacles. And I must admit, at this point of the journey: it feels good.
Fourth: this wouldn’t have been possible without my family and my team. Our kids give us joy and they light up my day, every day. If there’s one compromise I’m not and will not be making, it’s the morning and evening moments with them. My husband Augustin has been an unconditional support too, helping me to raise our kids and grow L’Envers – if it weren’t for him, we wouldn’t be where we are today. And as years go by, we have been able to build a small team of passionate professionals, instrumental in making L’Envers and deliver it to our lovely community. “
Finally, what part of being in the Myth community would you look forward most to?
The community and being able to share our story and experiences with the hopes that they can be beneficial to someone else! As theirs with us 🙂