Since 1853, Aigle has perpetuated the know-how embodied in the production of natural rubber boots made in France and eIn 2023, the brand will celebrate its 170th anniversary with a new logo. An additional step in rethinking its identity, initiated after the arrival of Aurelien Arbet, Jose Lamali and Jeremy Egri – three co-founders withStudio Studies – heads the art direction since October 2020.
In 2021, Aigle became a company with a mission with the reason for inclusion in its charter: eheisstrives to control its environmental impact by protecting French know-how, offering durable products and increasing the proportion of recycled materials in its collections, among other things. Anticipating future regulations, Aigle has introduced QR codes to provide certified information thanks to the blockchain and to meet customers’ need for transparency about the origin of products and the environmental and social impact of their creations, from autumn-winter 2023.
For the first time in history, the brand joins the Fashion Week calendar. On October 4, 2022, the presentation of works of the spring-summer 2023 season at the Center Pompidou in Paris became the impetus for a collaboration inspired by a painting by Mondrian New York (1942), one of the museum’s masterpieces of modern art. This capsule is the first phase of a two-year partnership between Aigle and the Pompidou Center dedicated to art, fashion and sustainability.
Meeting with Aurelien Arbet and Jose Lamali, two of the three art directors who explain to us how they brought the brand to life.
Franceinfo Culture: Since your arrival in the artistic direction, you have implemented many events. Who did you care about the most?
Aurelien Arbet and Jose Lamali: The first was the definition of a global project with work around the collections. We had to dive into the history of the brand and rethink a different way of creating, developing its story and its strengths with a more modern way of presenting them. Secondly, the image part had to be considered: visual elements, the way of self-expression, performances… And one of the very direct actions was the transformation and evolution of the visual identity with the creation of a new logo. This is something that was important to do from the beginning. Finally, the last pillar is community: the ability to unite a group of people around a brand to embody it in a sincere and natural way. These “producers” were quickly associated with joint projects.
Does this community of “creators” have a different role than that of the muses?
Aurelian Arbet : Indeed, this is the opposite of the muse in the sense that these are people close to us – a cook, a ceramist… These active people who live in the city are always in a relationship between the city and nature: at some point, they made a choice , and what could have been a passion or a hobby became their job. We were interested in this transformation to achieve their ambitions.
So, a year ago, during our first Aigle collection, the florist Massami completely dressed the presentation space, and the electronic musician Thylasine created music inspired by the sounds coming from the heart of our factory in Ingrandes-sur-Vienna. For the presentation on October 4, he does a sound immersion, playing live. We want to create active bridges between these people and the brand: they are not just there to wear the clothes, but when they wear them, it happens naturally.
Jose Lamali: It was this sincerity that was important. It is a modest brand that is not ostentatious thanks to its values close to nature and people. She has to have a communication that isn’t fake, and to do that through people who aren’t part of the demo process, that was really interesting.
How not to lose the identity of a 170-year-old brand by looking at its logo?
Aurelian Arbet: It was indeed a challenge. To connect the brand with its history, we used block letters of a typography called Grotesque, preserving the mistakes that could have occurred as a result of metal printing on paper, keeping small ink stains. We had to make a choice that would correspond to the values of this dedicated, strong brand, with a utilitarian and functional aspect: that’s why we kept the 1853 date, which we placed on the side as a tribute. We preserve history, we assume it, we are proud of it, but we reinvent it.
What stylistic changes mark this revival?
Jose broken : The first task was precisely to delve into the collection, to see what had been done, what was impressive and what was the iconic item, apart from the shoe – which is obviously a pillar and which is part of the collective unconscious. We were interested in the raincoat. There are many ways to express this rainwear: we tried to change it with different cuts and materials to create a collection: from a trench coat to a parka, from a shorter windbreaker jacket, always with the idea of protection, to outerwear. Compared to what was done before, we designed the silhouette to always have this notion of harmony.
Aurelian Arbet : There is something that we have discovered, this is the whole story related to the city brand. We were interested in this because the brand is more associated with nature walks. In order to combine this idea of nature and urban life, it was necessary to bring back elegance, utility and a more desirable silhouette. The fact of discovering this past associated with the city completely freed us in this direction.
Jose Lamali: It is also interesting that the brand produces durable quality clothing and that its stylistic spectrum under the guise of activewear and protective outerwear is very broad. This concept of classics allows for trench coats as well as Goretex jackets with concepts of performance. This requires quite a lot of stylistic work.
According to an Ipsos study, 72% of French people expect brands to be responsible and transparent, and 89% of them are ready to leave if they feel they have been cheated.. that on the side ecologically responsible for his creations?
Aurelian Arbet : There is a lot of R&D on environmentally responsible materials: all the factories we work with must adhere to the charter and undergo an annual audit. After all, it’s a matter of price and quality: environmentally responsible clothing continues, which is why people keep coming back. There is such a culture of awareness of the brand, as well as the platform “Druhe soufflé” that goes in this direction (note: the brand educates its customers about the circular economy and responsible consumption with this e-store dedicated second hand. Customers receiving vouchers). This shows that the brand is coming through the years from a stylistic point of view, and it allows you to reach a younger clientele who will suddenly rediscover the clothes.
Was being on the Paris Fashion Week calendar a predictable move?
Aurelian Arbet : No, it was not necessarily certain. After all, it’s true to our mission – to make the brand more desirable and bring the concept of style and silhouette to the collection – this meeting is a way to confirm that the brand is positioning itself. For our third collection, we felt there were looks that fit the calendar.
Is this the first time the brand is showing at Fashion Week?
Aurelien Arbet : Yes, this is the first time. But it was not written in advance, it depended on a set of factors that had to be. We were waiting, it didn’t happen in the first season. This is a presentation. This is a step. We go gradually. This selection ties in with the theme of the collection throughout the cycle. Since the parade is something much faster and more intense, the idea was to create something more exciting with the presentation in a relatively long time, which corresponds to the message we want to send.
Jose Lamali : this is a first for a brand that needs to position its clothes in a different way to create a moment of intimacy with the people present.
Are you choosing a presentation at the Center Georges Pompidou, or are you planning a fashion show next season?
Aurelian Arbet and Jose badlyme: Maybe! We take things one at a time. This time it makes sense! We like to challenge things every time and make things evolve. We don’t have to settle into a certain routine that doesn’t inspire wonder.
What inspires the spring-summer 2023 collection?
Aurelian Arbet : The theme around the cycle: it is related to time, to evolution. This is a review of the history of the brand, work around icons, rethinking its past. The Spring/Summer 2023 collection marks Aigle’s 170th anniversary, so it’s important to connect with history and reimagine it.
What is your favorite piece?
Jose broken : This is a classic women’s coat with slightly increased proportions, which has the special feature of being made entirely of unlined Goretex. This elegant piece is an icon of women’s and urban wear, but is technically finished with this material, which gives it a modern look.
Aurelian Arbet : For me, this is a very graphic print inspired by verniculae found on Parisian Ottoman buildings: a variety of hollowed-out worms. It tells about Paris, its history, the city, and also about nature with these worms that scratch the ground, concrete.
What are your next style projects?
Both : To develop the wardrobe, we can now build on what we have already done for previous collections. Now there is a lot of work on shoes.