Interview with Ariane POUR (Co-founder of Procède) by Pavina SOUVANLASY (Export business developer at Carlin Creative Trend Bureau)
There are few things as satisfying as achieving one’s dreams and passions while still being ecologically conscious – which is exactly something Benjamin and Ariane, the founders of Procède, are currently doing. We were lucky enough to meet them and they recounted us their story.
Carlin: Before talking about the brand you created, please tell us more about yourselves.
Ariane: Long before we launched Procède, we fell in love and have actually been an inseparable couple for 11 years now! Back in the day Benjamin was working for a well-known Italian tailor, but with higher aspirations for his career. He always dreamt of studying at one of Paris’ prominent fashion schools. Concerning me, I worked in the textile industry before working a couple of odd jobs in a variety of non-fashion-related sectors.
C: We want to hear everything! How did you come up with the thought to start your own brand, Procède?
A: We had the idea one day after having gone shopping, simply put. We went to a high-end boutique which sold clothes for an extremely high price, yet their quality was the worst we’ve ever seen. In consequence we realized that many high-end brands were using the same strategy. They all want us to feel unique by selling us something deemed (by both the consumer and the brand) rare and precious – meaning we accept to pay unreasonably high prices for such articles that are of lamentable quality. The price – quality ratio is quite naturally completely off, as this merchandise is more often than not made in China, Vietnam or Bangladesh. Given the fact the workforce is so cheap in these (and in many other, similar countries), the quality suffers as well. This observation perturbed us to a point of deciding to do something about it.
C: Procède, as in the verb “to procede”?
A: Procède takes its name from the latin “procere”, which is defined as “moving forward”. Through this name, we wish to confirm and insist that there are different options in the fashion industry.
” Beyond our zero waste policy, we work with exceptional and very high-quality fabrics to create unique and inimitable pieces. ”
C: What differentiates you from other brands / concepts?
A: Above all, our prices that are truly fair! To help our customers, each product comes with an information tag explaining in detail the price of each material used, of the production and the given margin. At Procède, every article is manufactured only after the order is placed – meaning we don’t have any stock at all! This system allows us to completely avoid pollution, closely tied to sleeping merchandise, and to regularly propose new, original styles on our website.
We prefer to buy fabric scraps from Haute Couture houses and to use them until we run out. Beyond our zero waste policy, this enables us to work with exceptional and very high-quality fabrics to create unique and inimitable pieces.
C: How do you create your products?
A: All our pieces are hand-made by Benjamin, directly in our Paris workshop. The creative process starts with us being inspired by anything and everything, continuing with the fabrics research. We design the prototype and finally we validate it!
C: How do you define Procède’s style?
A: We play on the thin line between the feminine and the masculine by blending classical codes with athleisure silhouettes, giving each piece a hybrid style. Our inspiration comes from traditional clothes, meaning garments with quality workmanship written all over them, as well as from a modern aesthetic – something more practical and fluid.
C: What is Procède’s it-item?
A: The Cabourgshirt is definitely the article that represents Procède the most! It’s a signature chequered piece with a straight flap in the front, a high neckline and cutouts on the entire length of the sleeves. A sophisticated dress shirt that can be worn both during the day and for special occasions.
C: And, on the contrary, what is something we’ll never see at Procède?
A: We have never intended to become one of the market leaders. Our goal is to live our passion, simple as that, and to propose high quality creations for a cheaper, appropriate price for our clients. When talking about our project we often demand ourselves; “What’s next?” And our answer is; “What next? It’s NOW!” We see and we are aware of the textile industry’s harmful consequences on our environment every day. Why can’t we just finally admit that slowing down the rhythm is the solution? That a healthy company is the one that takes tomorrow’s problems into account?
C: Bearing this in mind, how do you imagine Procède’s future?
A: The ultimate goal is to grow, expand and develop the brand but to remain human-scaled. We wish to work with the neighborhood tailors to be able to maintain the traceability and the proximity that we value so much. At Procède we firmly believe that a brand that is transparent, more eco-responsible and creative disposes of real added value in comparison to other brands. Our time is defined by the reinvention of fashion and its concepts – we see a plethora of companies that don’t dream to become industry giants, brands that are financed by their own clients and most importantly, passionate leaders that think more about the customer than about their slice of the pie. Future brands will need to be even more cooperative, with the human factor at the heart of all problématiques.