With the news of a new, never-seen-before, vegan eco-reponsible fashion store called Manifeste011 opening, Paris was buzzing. At a time when new ways of living and consuming are being brought to light, two women have decided to take matters in their own hands and offer a novel way of shopping : Maud and Judith Pouzin. While Maud has been a respected music PR for many years, Judith was a sales manager but they both united over their love for the planet and their decision to embrace a vegan lifestyle two years ago. What exactly does Manifeste011 have to offer and how did the project come to life? Here is a bit of insight on the store, which opened on December 9th.
In what context was your interest in vegan fashion born?
We have always loved fashion, while at the same time being concerned about environmental issues. Seeing the documentary The True Cost two years ago made us aware of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, on respect for human rights and society itself. It made us want to take action to make a difference. At the same time, we began a transition to veganism. We realized then that there was no vegan and eco-responsible fashion store in Paris, and that it was difficult to find the fashion items we liked while respecting eco-responsibility criteria. However, not only do vegan women express this need, but non vegan women are also inclined to buy vegan fashion if they like it, and even more so if it is produced in a respectful manner. It is also to meet this need, which concerns us in the first place, that we have decided to create Manifesto011.
What steps must be taken to create a totally vegan and eco-responsible store?
There are many steps! First, it is necessary to find a name and register it, it may seem trivial, but it is an important step that « gives life » to a project. Then we asked ourselves a lot of questions about our initial idea, in order to analyze its relevance. At the beginning we wanted to launch only an online shop and it was by going into an incubator that we deepened our project and realized that we wanted to create a place and meet people first and foremost. With this decision, we gave a new dimension to Manifeste011. At the same time we have been doing a lot of sourcing work with suppliers for more than a year. Then there is so much more to do ! You have to carry out a market study, raise financing, find a space, do some construction work…
Were you inspired by certain responsible fashion movements?
The name MANIFESTE also refers to the Manifesto Anti_Fashion published in 2015 by Lidewij Edelkoort. The Dutch trendsetter warns the public about the human and environmental abuses of a system that no longer works. With Manifeste011, we want to show that vegan fashion is responsible, and is part of the same approach as movements like Fashion Revolution or Anti-fashion.
Do you feel that France has a complicated relationship with veganism? Do you have to face prejudices about this lifestyle, detractors?
We do not think that being a vegan is necessarily more difficult in France. Even if the gastronomic culture, the French terroir, are in some respects the antipodes of veganism… There are of course many prejudices to fight, and detractors, but it is up to us to show that veganism can be cool and not at all sectarian!
How do you feel about the media coverage of the veganism in recent years?
We are delighted that veganism is an increasingly popular subject in the media, and often more relevant! For us, it is far from being a fad, it is an evolution of mentalities that is taking place, and this often goes hand in hand with a more global awareness, especially around environmental issues.
Does style and eco-responsibility go hand in hand?
To be honest, not always! However, it is up to us to show that this is possible, through our selection for Manifeste011!
Are there specific brands in the store that you wouldn’t have suspected of making vegan products?
Maybe Doc Martens? Many people who come to visit us discover the vegan selection of this brand !
Is your fight more than just wearing eco-responsible clothing? Is there a political dimension to the project (which has a very evocative name)?
Veganism as we understand it, advocates an avant-garde way of life, in particular because it defends the idea of a convergence of struggles (veganism, ecology but also battles against all forms of discrimination). Veganism is linked to different problematics directly related to future generations (preservation of the environment, exploitation of resources, but also the harmonious coexistence of populations).
How do you see the new generation of buyers, the one born in the 2000s?
The new generation of buyers is probably more committed and is interested in the origin of products and what’s happening backstage. That said, many professionals from previous generations have already become aware of the challenges the fashion industry is faced with and are trying to find solutions to change things, including designers such as Stella McCartney and consultant Livia Firth.
At a time when clothes are being sold at increasingly lower prices, it is difficult to make people understand that responsible shopping means spending more?
It is not necessarily difficult, it is above all a long term information work, which has been carried out for some time now by many actors such as Ethique sous l’étiquette, Fashion Revolution, Anti-fashion or Eco Age. When you explain to people what’s behind a €5 shirt, they usually prefer to invest in a €40 shirt.
Manifeste011 is located at 14 rue Jean Macé, 75011 Paris and is open from 11am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and from 2pm to 7pm on Sunday.
Interview by Alice Butterlin.
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