Stay humble, I think even more these days when we are faced with a major health crisis and fashion feels secondary compared to that.
As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marie Laffont, a French designer and Parisian native whose hometown, with its teeming cultural diversity and the unique dichotomy of old-world glamour and modern cool, informs both her artistic vision and approach to life.
With a background in haute couture and fine art, Marie Laffont’s education is rooted in creativity. After studying at university under the renowned Pierre Hardy, she went on to work for fashion powerhouses Christian Louboutin and Sonia Rykiel. It was whilst working as a designer that she further delved into visual art and began producing pieces of her own; working across various mediums including sculpture, photography, and painting, her work often evinced her interest in both worlds.
Shoes, most notably, became a recurring theme, as for Marie, they lend themselves to her artistic and personal philosophy of presence and engagement. Shoes, like art, can transport the viewer or wearer, both physically and figuratively. Marie believes that modern women should not have to compromise. Shoes should not be a matter of comfort or style. The shoes can be described as the perfect combination of casual elegance with a healthy dose of EXTRA.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I was studying law at the time and landed a side job as a photographer for Numéro International Fashion Magazine at a fashion show. This motivated a move for me and the following year I attended La Chambre Syndicale, which marked the beginning of my career in fashion.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
I think meeting Andre Walker and him lending me outfits for my first presentation in New York was really special.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I made a lot of mistakes but none of them were particularly funny or at least I can’t think of one right now. However, I did learn that perseverance is the only way to achieve anything.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I hope my company stands out by its commitment to serving its customers well and delivering unique, artisanal, high-quality shoes. My products are handmade in an Italian factory and I’m proud of that. I love my team and focusing on a smaller production scale allows for more attention to detail and a better quality of work.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I’d advise them to be prepared and to be able to adapt because things never end up going how you thought they would.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I would not consider myself successful just yet. I have some momentum right now and I am using it to help society by collaborating with the non-profit organizations, No Kid Hungry. I have pledged 30% of my sales during the month of April and May to them. Their focus is on providing healthy meals to children in need. I can’t stress how important that is. Please support them by contributing directly. If you want to buy a pair of amazing handmade shoes at the same time, that’s even better!
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” It’s attributed to Pablo Picasso. I find it relevant because children have a quality of essentiality that speaks to the way they act making it hard to keep growing up. If you can tap into your inner child from time to time when things get complicated, I think you will make decisions that will make you happier in the long run.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
There seems to be a shift of the industry towards durable and socially conscious production processes. I think it’s a step in the right direction and I hope it lasts.
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”?
1) Never give up, Rome was not built in a day. It took several years for Louboutin to become a star shoe designer.
2) Avant-garde, great designers are always in tune with their surroundings. For example, the last presentation of Rick Owens in Milan.
3) Inspiration, to renew yourself you need to be inspired and come up with new ideas. Karl Lagerfeld proved this, he would conceive and create new collections every season for different brands with incredible consistency.
4) Stay humble, I think even more these days when we are faced with a major health crisis and fashion feels secondary compared to that.
5) Stay true to your history and your DNA, Jacquemus is a good example. His narrative feels personal and makes his brand magical.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
As I said in question number 8, I think the industry would benefit from the shift from quantity to quality and durability. Quality of the products but also the quality of life of the people producing them, sustainable materials as much as possible, etc.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed by all of the terrible things that you hear about globally that are due to negative effects of COVID-19 and it’s easy to let it get to you. I believe in the power of little things. If every day, you try to do one nice thing for someone, I think you’ll find that it doesn’t require much for the world to feel like a better place. Maybe when you go grab a sandwich you grab a second one for the guy sitting on the sidewalk, or you help someone carry their groceries, even just simply holding a door is making a difference.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
My Instagram handle and link is @MARIELAFFONTOFFICIAL.
My official website is: MARIELAFFONT.COM.
My Facebook handle and link is: @MARIELAFFONTOFFICIAL.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!