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Filles a Papa x Lee Fashion - 03 November 2014

Carol and Sarah Piron have it all mapped out. Only a few years into their label, the two sisters from Liege are going global. This is reflected in the Filles a Papa x Lee capsule collection that captures the spirit of the brand.

Instinctive, quirky by design and in tune with the zeitgeist. Launched in 2009, Filles a Papa is a brand that has managed to create a buzz around it, but also and especially to make a niche for itself on the racks of the hippest concept stores: Browns in London, Excelsior in Milan, Club 21 in Bangkok, H Lorenzo in Los Angeles ... it doesn't get trendier than that. Sarah and Carol Piron had their sights on this positioning from the outset. With their decision to only distribute their collections in retail outlets that are on the same wavelength as they are, the designers have headed for the summits without losing their footing along the way, nor their sense of humour. Season after season, the sisters have honed their style and their image. In fact, they recently opted for a very close collaboration with Gregory Derkenne. In addition to shooting their campaigns, this Liege-based photographer is also involved with the label's visual identity and the construction of the story that weaves its way through each collection. The result of this collective work: the development of the brand, a strong media impact and the expansion of the collections to denim and beachwear. Their latest tour de force: a capsule collection put together as part of a co-branding with LEE to mark the label's 125th anniversary.



How did this capsule collection come about?
Carol Piron: We were very honoured to be approached in this way. It was a real godsend. We were immediately won over by the idea of revisiting the iconic pieces of a denim manufacturer that is celebrating its 125th anniversary his year.

How did the collaboration take shape?
We were asked for our own take on the LEE universe, to celebrate it while putting our own stamp on it. The idea was to create iconic pieces that carry our signature.

What does LEE embody for you?
Lee is one of the cult denim labels. Specialising initially in work clothes, Lee invented the overall. It's all very symbolic!

More specifically, what have you put into this collection?
Electric blue sequin embroidery and broad slogans that adorn jeans, a rider jacket, sweatshirts and lumberjack shirts in a really cool and sexy sportswear style and that is very much what we are all about.

In terms of positioning and image, this capsule is a new springboard...
Given the "designer" positioning of FAP, this collaboration is clearly a gateway to a broader and more international audience for the brand.

Very early on, you targeted a certain type of store. What was your strategy at the time? Did you have a particular business model in mind?
From the beginning, we were well aware of our "contemporary designers" positioning. We had a clear vision of the ideal sales strategy to adopt for FAP and that it depended on an international and selective distribution. We continue to adjust our distribution season after season by gradually increasing our network of outlets (Europe, Middle East, and Asia). We focus on quality rather than quantity and target key cities and capitals. This is the trade-off that is necessary if you want to go the distance. As for the "business model", I would compare ourselves to a contemporary label such as ACNE with an excellent image and sound management of its distribution network.

"This capsule collection is being launched at the same time as the arrival in stores of the Cruise collections. Do you think that you too are going to adopt this rate of 4 collections per year?
Creating two collections per year is already a daunting task for a young brand like ours. But it is difficult to project six months ahead, because we know that, by then, new proposals and opportunities will certainly come our way.


The LEE x FAP 125 years collection is available from the LEE Europe distribution outlets (LEE flagship stores + Belgian and international multibrand stores (Harrods, Harvey Nichols, etc.).


Text by Marie Honnay


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