After a summer of virtual fashion showcases, Paris is going back to the real thing.
Among the labels on the (outdoor) catwalk schedule for the upcoming Paris Fashion Week is Ami, the company founded in 2011 — but which only got into womenswear in 2018.
“I do this job, for nine years now, because of the show. The show is a magical moment. It’s a rendezvous which is not replaceable,” founder Alexandre Mattiussi said on the Glossy Podcast.
The coronavirus hasn’t slowed Mattiussi’s roll much in general. The company hasn’t had to lay anyone off, just opened a new store in South Korea (making for about 10 stores in total) and had strong sales for its latest spring/summer collection.
“I don’t want to scream it too loud, because I feel very grateful, but the business has been wonderful during this time,” Mattiussi said.
As a result, the company has had the resources to take on certain responsibilities, like supporting struggling wholesalers by maintaining longstanding partnerships and making its production more sustainable.
“We all want [more sustainability],” Mattiussi said. “I just want to look at my face in the mirror every day when I wake up in a few years and say we’ve been part of it.”
Here are a few highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.
Sticking up for wholesalers
“I have lots of respect for people who gave me their support from the very beginning. We didn’t just build a business relationship; most of the people we’ve met believed in me, believed in the brand and gave support to the brand, and they really helped to shape our identity. So to be honest, we have a strong partnership, a strong friendship [with wholesalers]. I feel like a lot today are suffering more than others, and if we can support them back, we will. They need to be supported by brands, too. It’s a commitment, a strong relationship that deserves to be preserved.”
On the responsibility to be sustainable
“We’ve been working on it for a long time, but for sure we need to go faster. People are expecting that from us, and I don’t want to disappoint. As a customer, if I’ve been told that a brand is doing all efforts, I want to congratulate [it]. We’ve changed all the cotton from the collection and everything is [organic] now. We’re erasing all the plastic bags from the factories and have made good recyclable, [organic] cotton that can be used again. We have changed all the packaging in the last week. We’ve used a paper that can be recyclable, 100%. We tried to use fabric that’s been used before. I can’t promise it’s going to be a 100% sustainable project, but I will definitely try to do my best to make it possible. We all want it. I have a young team. The people are [ages] 22, 25, 28. They’re all super concerned about this, and I do believe if we don’t do it, it’s going to be a big mistake. I just want to look at my face in the mirror every day when I wake up in a few years and say we’ve been part of it.”
A good year for Ami
“I have to say, and I don’t want to scream it too loud because I feel very grateful, but the business has been wonderful during this time. We haven’t lost any budget. We had a very strong sales market in July for the spring/summer collection. We’re still waiting to show the women’s collection. We haven’t sold it yet. We’re going to sell it during the October showroom. We’re still developing the brand, we opened today a store in [South] Korea. It’s going very well. But we have to be careful because we don’t know how things are going to evolve in the next few weeks a months. I don’t want to scream victory, but I have protected my business. We’ve saved employment. We haven’t fired anyone and this is the most important thing for me.”