The Naïs collection at Lingerie Fashion Week
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF. WHERE ARE YOU FROM ORIGINALLY? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH DESIGNING LINGERIE?
I am from the countryside of France, in Burgundy, where my family has a vineyard, so nothing to do with Fashion! I think I sketched my first collection of princess dresses when I was around 7…but I really started to think seriously about fashion design in middle school. I studied at Esmod Paris and when we had to choose a specialty, one of my professors at the time told me everything I designed had a lingerie touch to it. Since then, I've worked as a Lingerie designer for different brands in London, Paris and Miami. But when I moved to the US, I felt that there was a big gap in the market and that something more trendy was missing.
I like the energy that people have in New York. Everybody has some crazy project, idea or passion. It’s nourishing my envy to keep going everyday.
WHEN DID YOU LAUNCH NAIS? WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST REWARDING ASPECT OF RUNNING YOUR OWN LABEL AND BUSINESS?
I launched NaïS in May 2012, at the time contemporary lingerie made locally was non-existent, so it was a big educational process to explain my vision, the lifestyle behind NaïS etc…but the most rewarding for me is the photo shoot of a collection. The creative process of translating the spirit of a collection into one picture.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE LINE'S AESTHETIC? ARE YOU INSPIRED BY ANY PARTICULAR PROCESS, PLACE, PERSON OR IDEA?
I would say that NaïS is a contemporary lifestyle brand. When I start the design of a collection I think globally between what to wear everyday, at home, on Sundays etc. So it’s a balance of edgy cuts, comfort, creative prints and positive attitude. My inspirations are in my everyday life, it’s kinda cliché to say that, but it’s true. It can be something on TV like Mad Men for the colors, or a M.I.A. concert decor for a pattern, or a scarf I just bought. I have of course some basis of inspirations I always refer to like Kenzo, Christian Lacroix, Mucha, Klimt, african wax, indian sari colors etc.
A Closeup Of Anaïs' Mood Board
DO YOU DESIGN WITH A TYPE OF WOMAN IN MIND?
Yes. She is 25-35, lives in the city, is in a creative related field. She is active and has a sense of style, but she is also conscious about what she buys and is seeking for ethics in a brand.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH THE MOST?
Wow, that’s very difficult. I don’t know, I get bored very easily if I use too much of something. I like a fabric with an interesting drappée and a feel to it.
WHY IS LOCAL PRODUCTION IMPORTANT TO YOU?
As a designer, I enjoy knowing how my production is done, and who my suppliers are.
I think it’s fundamental to know the history of the product if we want to correctly sell it. And I believe that there are great crafters and makers not too far from us and we should not forget about them.
Anäis at her local factory
WHAT DOES Y&A'S MISSION MEAN TO YOU?
We have a very similar vision of the future of Fashion and what we can change on our end. It’s important to bring some meaning to the products we buy.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS?
Know your shit very very well. Know your product, your market, your quality. It’s important to not rely on others when you have a vision.
ANY EXCITING UPCOMING PROJECTS?
Always! Something for New York Fashion Week (but I can’t say more), and the exciting holiday pop-up shop with you guys!
All photos courtesy of Anaïs Bouchard