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Be careful, this store is likely to clash with fast fashion
Be careful, this store is likely to clash with fast fashion
Be careful, this store is likely to clash with fast fashion

Meeting with Romain, founder of the Maison Izard brand

Can you introduce yourself ? I am Romain Delvit, 39 years old from Pau, creator of Maison Izard, a Pyrenean brand of clothing and accessories made from Pyrenees wool. After...

Can you introduce yourself ?
I am Romain Delvit, 39 years old from Pau, creator of Maison Izard, a Pyrenean brand of clothing and accessories made from Pyrenees wool. After a career in marketing, communication and sales in Strasbourg, I decided to return to my native southwest to raise my son and return to my roots. In 2019, I committed myself to the revaluation of Pyrenees wool, an unused local material considered as waste, surrounded by local partners, experts in their field and many of them EPV (Living Heritage Company) certified, a guarantee of know-how. quality.

We want to know even more about you: 3 things you love and 3 things you hate on a daily basis:

- 3 things that I love: my son Gabin, the geographical richness of our department, 64, between mountains and ocean, and human relations.
- 3 things I hate: greenwashing (vast subject), hypocrisy and grapefruit.

What is the story of your brand and why did you choose Maison Izard as your name?
Maison Izard is a young local brand, born in 2017, but which nonetheless remains full of ambition:
- The first is to promote a natural, local and virtuous raw material, destined for destruction: wool from the Pyrenees. This approach is part of the long term, reviving a disappearing wool sector in the Pyrenees.
- The 2nd is to operate only with local partners with excellent know-how. The challenge was huge! We are happy to carry out all of our manufacturing between Pau and Castres, within a radius of 250 km.
- The 3rd, dusting off the codes of Pyrenean clothing, and yes, we all have in mind the famous itchy dressing gown or the sleeveless shearling vest. We offer a men's and women's wardrobe, with timeless cuts, to have and above all to keep over time, no matter your age. We mix our yarns exclusively with recycled materials, to provide more softness and better product retention through washes and years.

The name of the brand seemed obvious to us: we wanted to associate the high-end image of French know-how through the term “house”, which is very similar to fashion houses, and which represents the authenticity, heritage, quality and know-how. We have associated it with one of the emblematic animals of the Pyrenees: the chamois or izard, to emphasize our Pyrenean DNA and our attachment to this exceptional territory.

What inspired you to create your own clothing brand?
To be honest, before Maison Izard, I had no knowledge in the textile and wool industry, but I was driven by a strong desire to promote my region, and to work for a project that made sense: the valorization of wool from the Pyrenees.

And to promote wool, what could be better than clothing and accessories? Indeed, we all have in mind the wool sweater knitted by our grandparents and which resists the wheels of time. Based on this observation, I wanted to create authentic, timeless and durable products, but also with a touch of modernity.

How and why did you get into made in France?
I did not envisage promoting this exceptional local wool without working with local workshops, with excellent know-how, which have been able to modernize while retaining their original know-how. This is why I naturally turned to workshops near the Pyrenees, located between Pau and Tarn. These workshops, labeled France Terre Textile or Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant, occupy a special place in the success of Maison Izard.

What is life like as an entrepreneur in responsible fashion made in France? What challenges did you have to overcome?
It's not easy, but fascinating! The fashion sector is in transition, and it is more and more difficult to find a place, even more so when you place yourself in the mid/high-end segment. Between fast fashion, which still continues to attract many consumers, the economic situation in France and Europe, and a market which tends to tighten, the challenges are multiple. There is still a lot of educational work to be done with consumers: transparency, presentation of artisans without whom we would be nothing to develop reasoned consumption. I emphasize the educational side because I don't believe in overly moralizing speeches, even if they are thoughtful. For the example of the price of made in France for example, I think we need to explain the why, in complete transparency, and above all explain the difference between a sweater purchased in a large fast-fashion brand, and one purchased from a French brand promoting French know-how in the region.

As for the challenges, they are countless! Like all made in France players, we have been very hard hit by the rise in the cost of raw materials and energy. Add to this, an extremely tense economic situation, workshops which are reaching the saturation of their production capacities, and the end of an important collaboration with one of our historical partners, you obtain a sum of challenges to which we have had to adapt ourselves and which have given rhythm to our daily lives!

Something everyone should know about Pyrenees wool?
The use of Pyrenees wool is very old. In the 19th century, it even enabled the development of a local wool industry, creating numerous jobs and enabling the manufacture of high-quality fabrics. It was a sought-after wool that was even exported around the world.

Unfortunately, the arrival of synthetic fibers and competition from foreign wools caused its use and local industry to fall into disuse.

Today, wool from the Pyrenees is considered a “by-product”, it is no longer valued by breeders and is, in the best cases, stored while waiting for better days, and in the worst cases, thrown away or even burned.

It's going to be difficult, tell us, what is your favorite piece in the Maison Izard dressing room?
The new Heretat Toison overshirt for its design, comfort and composition in French wool of course!

Why did you choose to distribute your Maison Izard brand to L’Appartement Français?
In our distribution strategy, stores have a central place in the success of Maison Izard. To do this, we focus only on boutiques or concept stores offering only products made in France, with a very strong identity, and with a perfect understanding of made in France, its challenges and problems. At L'Appartement Français, we immediately felt good with David and Emilie, a friendship was born. The atmosphere of the store, the expert advice, the brand portfolio, everything seemed suitable for our clothes and accessories to find a place.

Do you have a juicy and funny story to share with us? ?
“How do you catch chamois and shear them to make your sweaters?” ! Our sweaters are made from sheep wool. The chamois is the Pyrenean cousin of the chamois, so we leave it alone, free in its habitat, the Pyrenean slopes.
Thank you Romain for taking the time to answer our questions.

Interview transcribed by Lucie

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