August 2, 2021

young designers in the turmoil of the pandemic

« As soon as the general confinement was announced in March 2020, it was a disaster. All our orders have been canceled, all our collaborative projects have fallen through, recounts with emotion Benjamin Benmoyal. It only took three days to destroy the work done so far. A graduate of Central Saint Martins in London, the designer had just presented his first collection during Paris Fashion Week. His clothes designed from magnetic tapes from recycled VHS tapes had then attracted the attention of buyers in the capital despite the spread of the virus: sales had gone even better than hoped. The greater was the disappointment.

“At home, everyone cut pieces of fabric, my parents, my ex-colleagues, all of them got involved! »Meryll Rogge.

« I am not subject to regrets but I still asked myself: if I had had the choice, would I have postponed my launch? A year later, I tell myself that it is perhaps a bad thing for a good, without believing in the divine goodness. I hung on, I continued to develop new collections. And then, what would I have done otherwise? Fashion companies aren’t hiring right now … », Continues the one who did not throw in the towel despite the difficulties.

Since then, it has presented two new collections, launched its online sales site and integrated the official Paris Fashion Week calendar. « The network of multi-brand retailers is paralyzed until 2022. Department stores have been closed for a very long time and, without foreign tourists, sales remain at half-mast. I had to bounce back differently by creating my e-shop, even if it is an absolute headache in terms of logistics ”, he specifies.

He is not the only one to have succeeded in his baptism of fire before the pandemic rages: the Belgian Meryll Rogge, the French Victor Weinsanto and the American Colin LoCascio were also stopped dead. in their tracks. “Fifteen days after my first parade, we were all locked up in our homes. Enough to bring me back down to Earth! I was scared, unable to imagine the rest ”, says Victor Weinsanto. Today, the 27-year-old designer sees things more calmly.

Benjamin Benmoyal, in Paris, in 2018.

Its design, halfway between the world of cabarets and retrofuturism, with revisited corsets and stretch combinations dotted with psychedelic patterns, caught the eye of Adrian Joffe, CEO of the concept store Dover Street Market, who offered him a free seat in his Parisian showroom in September 2020. “I was planning to present my collection in my small apartment, which was refurbished for the occasion, Adrian’s proposal was a tremendous boost and it also gave me a lot of credibility. It is a sacred flower that he gave me! “, confides the designer who is now surrounded by his companion and his parents in the management of his brand distributed in twenty stores around the world, in particular at Dover Street Market and Nordstrom.

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