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YAëLLE - chutes libres - slow fashion show
After having worked for years in the fashion industry, 35 year old Yaëlle Neimark, a Montreuil resident since 2010, originally from Roanne in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, dreamt of starting her own business.
Fed up of seeing the amount of waste the fashion industry generated, she aspired to be independent and do things differently.
With an idea a minute, she finally decided on this one: use unwanted, over ordered, damaged, end-of-line or sample textiles to create hand-made accessories.
A zero waste concept.
In September 2018 her brand "Chutes Libres" (a play on words in French as chute in French means freefall but also means scraps of material and libre means free) was born and since then she has made handbags, pouches, purses, make-up bags...and every single one is unique.
A low-tech approach with high-end quality
Let's meet the lovely Yaëlle in her Montreuil workshop
Pouches "Sally" 40€
Purses "Rosa" 30€
Handbags "Nathalie" or "Audrey"
De 60€ à 75€
Yaëlle's beautiful creations
It was probably genetic that Yaëlle went into fashion and textiles, she grew up with it. In the textile region of Roanne, her grandparents and parents ran a factory producing knitwear.
She went down a similar path and decided to study fashion design at the famous ESMOD school for 3 years. 2 in Lyon and 1 in Paris.
She had always loved Paris and used to come and visit her older sisters when she was a teenager, she was very much inspired by what she saw there
"I developed a taste for beautiful things"
After her studies, she decided not to go into fashion design (the 3rd person I've interviewed who told me the same story). She finds that at 21 you're far too young to work in such a ruthless industry when you're barely an adult.
"In my opinion, fashion design, you have to do it as a passion but much later on in life"
At home she has some objects from her family factory, like this clock and 2 industrial lamps, one of which she uses for sewing every day
DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?
She went into retail first, working in high street fashion as a sales assistant at Comptoir des Cotonniers for 2 years. Even though she liked the financial independence it gave her at a young age and the atmosphere, she was fed up. She left and decided to go and travel to South-East Asia to find herself.
She actually did not find herself (!) but she did find out one thing...her English was bad and she had to do something about it.
She decided the best thing to do was to go to London. She called back Comptoir de Cotonniers and got a job in their Marylebone High Street store.
18 months later she worked in sales for a textiles and fashion trends forecasting agency.
In this job she met a lot of retail professionals and buyers.
Working with these people made her realise she too wanted to be closer to the product.
"I was fed up of being the last link in the chain"
She wanted to return to fashion, to the heart of the action, in proximity to the product; She decided to go back to university!
INDIAN EXPERIENCE -
At 27 she started from scratch again as a student, completely out of sync with her friends.
She got into the renowned ESIV school - Ecole Supérieure des Industries du Vêtement, which is now called La Fabrique.. She graduated with a double speciality in both the technical and managerial aspects of textiles with the qualification of Textile Manager.
She went to work for a well-known children's clothing brand where she had to do a 6 month stint in India to train for a job as Quality Controller in Bangladesh.
She only managed 3 months...
Why? Only 5 other "Western" faces in the whole city, no right to go out alone, difficult working conditions, being spied upon by local workers, and as a woman it was even harder...
The culture clash was too much to handle.
It goes without saying that she did not take up the job in Bangladesh!
"I felt imprisoned. I wasn't capable of shouldering that responsibility in that kind of environment"
Yaëlle wrote her final memoire on this experience and almost received a grade of "0" because her work experience tutor who was also her boss thought she had divulged confidential information on the company...
She finally got a decent grade after slightly altering her work but this censuring certainly left a bitter taste in her mouth...
With her degree in her pocket she went to work for different fashion brands and notably Tara Jarmon for 3 years (where she met Caroline).
She was in charge of textile buying. It's here that, during preparations for collections, she witnessed the astronomical amounts of textile waste.
This shocking fact weighed on her mind.
Even though she loved her colleagues and the working atmosphere, there was little chance for progression so she decided to seek pastures new.
A short-lived experience elsewhere was the final nail in the coffin- she realised that this world was really not for her and she should start her own project.
With numerous ideas per second (Fashion Truck, Urban Tomato Farm, bespoke high-end fancy dress for kids...) she finally found her idea and started down the path towards Chutes Libres.
"You have to find THE right idea"
IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCCEED...
After her difficult time in India and her experience behind the scenes in high-street fashion, she found herself totally and utterly disgusted by the fashion sector.
But she loved textiles and it was the only thing she knew how to do, she had to find purpose.
In the beginning it was another idea which led to Chutes Libres. She wanted to use unwanted, over ordered, damaged, end-of-line or sample textiles to make clothes.
With no finance she knew she had to get her contacts in the industry to give her their unwanted textiles for free or for a symbolic fee.
The first response was a resounding "no.
Even if the textiles weren't used they were not prepared to give them away for nothing, well not in the quantities she
...it was then that she decided to adapt her idea to accessories..where much smaller volumes would suffice!
It worked and she managed to get most of her textiles for free! Chutes Libres was launched!
"Now when I get up in the morning I feel great
Starting your own business is scary, but also very liberating"
HAND MADE WITH LOVE
Yaëlle started her project in September 2018 and loves what she does.
She makes everything herself in her workshop at the rate of around 3 pieces a day.
The textiles are absolutely sublime. She has managed to get very luxurious, high quality materials.
Every single item is unique because she has very small amounts of each textile, but even if she does make 2 of the same, the lining will always be different or the zip.
For the handbags she adds of gold-plated chain and the zips are from the market leaders, the quality is top notch.
On each bag she sews a small round leather circle, it's the Chutes Libres trademark and it represents the recycling/upcycling/circular economy.
She has also put in place an after sales service. She wants each piece to last as long as possible so you can get free repairs if anything goes wrong.
"Nowadays no-one repairs things anymore. We throw things away, buy another one or leave things to rot. I don't want my clients to have a bag that they can't use. Here, there's no programmed expiry date."
A modern, ethical project with old-fashioned values!
Range named after family and friends:
Purse "Rosa" - 30€
Pouch "Sally" - 40€
Make-up bag "Lina" - 45€
Bumbag "Nathalie" - 60€
Handbag "Audrey" - 70€/(dressy) 75€
I myself bought a pouch for my sister for her birthday and she absolutely loves it, both with the look and the quality of her upcyled, one-off product!
Yaëlle is really warm and friendly, and has a really qualitative offer on the market.
You can buy directly from her by contacting her on Instagram or you can find her products at the Tatas Flingueses shop, rue de Paris, if you live locally
For this summer she's going to develop "wet swimming costume" beach bags and sunglasses cases.
We can't wait!
Do you have a special dress that your Mum or Grandma used to own that you never wear?
Yaëlle can work with you on an idea to transform your item into a bag or another object to keep your memories close to you in other form.