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SUSTAINABILITY IN FOCUS: Interview With ASZPAK Artistic Director Alexandre Samson

Alexandre Samson sits down for an interview with DSCENE Fashion Director Katarina Djoric.

Photography Alice Girard © ASZPAK

ASZPAK Creative Director Alexandre Samson sits down with DSCENE Fashion Director Katarina Djoric to talk about sustainability, ethical sourcing, and Instagram culture.

INTERVIEWS

© ASZPAK

Where did your love of fashion come from?
I think it goes back to the time when I was a kid, I remember working on my mom’s sewing machine. I don’t seem to have touched the pedal with my feet, but rather I operated it with my hand. By the way, I still work with her machine for the “PIXEL” bag editions.

Then, my love for fashion was confirmed during my design studies and I immediately felt an attraction for this discipline. The fact that I could create a garment or an accessory that could be worn gave me that second shock. I then studied at ESAA Duperré and, since design is for me linked to the human being and therefore to fashion.

The most important ingredient for building the perfect bag is a simple idea: a straightforward concept that can be drawn with a pencil stroke.

How would you describe the ASZPAK brand?
I would describe ASZPAK as a minimalist, pop and unconventional leather goods brand.

I see leather goods as a playground where it is possible to break out of tradition because leather goods are based on a lot of codes that tend to generalize what they should basically be.

I believe that there are as many leather goods as there are individuals and that it is enough to dare and deconstruct. Coming from a garment background, it was more obvious to take a radical point of view.

We have recently seen a return of the 2000s in fashion. From your point of view, what should we retain from this era of fashion?
There is indeed a return of the 2000s in fashion and in my opinion it is the golden age of the accessory! I think of the headphone cables, the iPod, the juicy bags, the belts with eyelets that we used to make a look! It’s also the flash colors, the audacity and the carefreeness. The Internet started to be democratized at that time and we were fascinated as kids by the latest technologies, mp3s, windows 98 and 8 MB USB keys.

We can laugh about it today but it shaped a generation and a style.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Who were your biggest mentors in this industry?
When I started studying fashion, I remember attending Hussein Chalayan’s fashion shows several times. His vision of technology and new materials really moved me!

I remember this SS16 show where he literally installed showers on the catwalk and designed dresses with water-soluble paper. I was backstage and it was magical!

I think he brought boldness, poetry, and an anti-conformism that is always contemporary.

Then, when I left school, I stumbled upon Isaac Reina’s store and that’s when I realized that I was going to make leather goods. His minimalist, timeless vision and leather selection is remarkable.

I think having seen his work has really touched me in my relationship with the material, leather.

All of our designs are made from leathers that are sourced from overage stock, certified and traced. I am convinced that a brand must be able to answer this question, be honest and transparent.

What do you think about the Instagram culture and the rise of influencers in fashion?
Instagram is a powerful tool that can change a life, it’s also an open window to the world that everyone can appropriate.

I also find that this network brings a real story to a business, it’s a bit like a movie in real time, the reactions are instantaneous, it’s fascinating!

The rise of influencers is important because it allows you to multiply the vision of a brand, its influence and to bring an additional narrative.

How would you describe your approach to sustainability in fashion?
Our approach to sustainability at ASZPAK is based on 3 principles:

The first principle is sourcing. All of our designs are made from leathers that are sourced from overage stock, certified and traced. I am convinced that a brand must be able to answer this question, be honest and transparent.

The second principle is based on the design, in fact the manufacture of our bags is done entirely within our workshop-studio in Paris and this allows the brand to guarantee its independence and transparency from A to Z.

The third principle is based on differentiation, we offer a line of accessible leather goods that is above all functional but can be renewed by a principle of simple variations around colored handles. Our customers can choose their color combinations and build their bag according to their tastes.

Where do you source your materials?
I get the leathers from a supplier called Adapta, this company has the particularity to propose leathers coming from the overage stocks of big brands and to make a quality selection, these leathers are destined to be destroyed otherwise.

The handles are bought from a supplier specialized in technical equipment. These ropes are for the most part made in France and remain essential in the safety of certain practices, they are not manufactured for a purely aesthetic use, they are essential.

© ASZPAK

What is the most important ingredient for the perfect bag?
The most important ingredient for building the perfect bag is a simple idea: a straightforward concept that can be drawn with a pencil stroke.

What fascinates you at the moment and how does it fuel your work?
Right now I’m fascinated by Memphis design, I love this movement because I find it pop, playful and radical. The geometric shapes and overlays are like amazing collages. There is always a tension between form and color and this is what I try to transcribe in ASZPAK.

What are the next steps for ASZPAK?
The next steps for ASZPAK are to be known more in France and internationally through the press and other media.

To get into department stores and French and international concept stores. Indeed, I am convinced that our vision must be spread and democratized.

I am currently sold at the Printemps Louvre in Paris under the aegis of the REINER marketplace.

We have been working together for almost a year and their support means a lot to me.

And finally, to build a solid, complementary team that would share the values of the brand because it is above all a human adventure

Keep up with Aszpak on Instagram – @aszpak_paris

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