Arty, but not too much. Commercial, but not too much. This is 3.Paradis, the luxury menswear firm through which its creative director, Emeric Tchatchoua, expresses his philosophical ideas. He was born in France, studied fashion in Canada, and today looks back to tell us about his relationship with time, a concept closely linked to his Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
Another important concept for Emeric is peace. Featuring the CGI-generated white birds of his Spring/Summer 2019 lookbook, the designer has released a collaboration together with another fashion brand, Roar Guns, to “promote unity against violence and a call for harmony”. The result? A transparent toy by Medicoms, de Be@rbrick. We speak with Emeric about memories, time, destruction and renewal.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Do you remember when you became interested in fashion for the first time?
As far as I can remember, I’ve always had a thing for fashion. But the critical point was my first encounter with the street culture of Japan on the Internet in 2004 through the discovery of Nigo from A Bathing Ape. This really changed everything for me and really triggered my interest to turn it into a passion.
After some years in fashion school, you were getting bored with what the menswear industry had to offer so you decided to start making clothes for your friends and yourself. Soon, more people wanted your designs so it naturally turned into a brand. Do you remember the first garment you sold?
Yes, the first garment we sold was a mirror reflective snakeskin embossed leather jacket. We sold it on the Internet the first day we launched the brand online.
Looking back in time, what advice would you have appreciated if someone had given you?
I think playing within the balance between art and commerce.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 8.jpg
‘3’ is the perfect equilibrium between the mind, the body, and the soul, and ‘Paradis’ (‘paradise’ in French) is an ideal you’re trying to give to the people – bring them to paradise. Do you think of any specific person when you design? Do you have a muse?
‘Paradis’ represents that ideal of happiness that most humans seek for. Everybody wants to go to paradise. One of my goals is to promote unity; I design clothes for everybody and talk about subjects that are universal for every human being.
Your collections are always imbued with philosophical ideas. Do you consciously choose the themes your collections are based on, or do you feel like they come to you?
I feel like I consciously choose the themes of my collection based on questions that I’m asking myself at the moment of starting the collection or based on a subject and dialogue that I would like to open with people or raise awareness on.
Does there always have to be a meaning in your creations? Is it a must?
Yes, I feel like most of my creations have meanings; it is essential that substance and form come together.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 3.jpg
What are your references? Who has influenced you the most?
My references mostly come from various sets of knowledge and my various daily researches. I also take a lot of inspiration from life experiences that happened to myself or to people that I know. It goes from emotions to philosophy, literature, movies, fine art, sub-culture and many more.
Your new Fall/Winter 2019 collection is titled Calaviñas, which reminded me of a beach in Mallorca called Cala Vinyes. The Majorcan flag is represented in some garments in the lookbook as well, and you can easily identify sea elements like the tentacles of an octopus, or others that relate to the Spanish island such as the sun or pigeons. Why Mallorca? What relation do you have with the island?
My best friend used to have a house in Cala Vinyes. During his childhood, he used to spend all his summers there until, not long ago, his family sold the house. He’s been very nostalgic about these moments in Palma de Mallorca and talks to me about his time spent in Cala Vinyes multiple times a week. While telling me his stories, I noticed a mix of sadness and happiness in him due to the fact that these happy moments were gone and will never come back. I also noticed that these nostalgic moments and stories tend to destroy the present in order to glorify and idealize the past. I decided to use the imagery of Cala Vinyes to represent that feeling of nostalgia or the joy of being sad.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 11.jpg
The jacket with banknotes from different countries also impressed me. Does it have any connection with the fact that you’ve lived in different parts of the world like Cameroon, Canada or France?
For years, I collected in a box plenty of leftover foreign currencies from my numerous travels around the world. While going over the multiple bank notes, I realized that each of them made me reminisce about different particular moments spent in those individual countries. Entirely hand-stitched with real money, each bill tells a story and represents a specific memory from each one of my multiple trips. This also triggers my exploration on the subject of nostalgia.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Through this collection, you express your views on the concept of nostalgia as a reminder of the slow tragic dimension of human life. What’s your relationship with time?
It is a very interesting question. I feel like time is not something you can take; it only ephemerally belongs to you. I think I accepted that time keeps coming, never comes back and will inevitably lead us to a certain death. Therefore, I have a very interesting relationship with time. I am very conscious that time is not promised and that everything could be taken away in a blink of an eye. I feel like we are shaped by the quality of time we spend and are defined by the key moments of our life. All this made me fully appreciate every fragment of life and highly cherish the moments and people around me.
How do you translate that feeling/idea into garments? How’s the creative process like?
I translated the idea of nostalgia by paying tribute to the past in the form of destruction of the present, and by expressing my views on the concept of nostalgia as a reminder of the slow tragic dimension of human life; time passing by and not coming back. This collection is layered with references, double entendre and symbols; it is a poetic marriage of fabrics, finishes and details heavily influenced by the idea of mixing the sweetness and the pain of memories, overlaying images and a confrontation between existence and inexistence.
In this collection, you combine streetwear with tailoring, a lot of black and dark tones with bright colors. Where do these contrasts arise?
These contrasts arise from the juxtaposition of the sweetness and pain of the nostalgic memory.
You also mix knitwear with shirts and denim. How important is the mixture of different textures to 3.Paradis?
I feel like textures bring feelings and emotions into people. Mixing different textures helps me to translate those different emotions to express my views on different themes and tell various stories throughout my collections.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 9.jpg
With the Internet and especially social media, everything moves so fast and it doesn’t give much room to explore as much as designers would like to. The way people consume fashion nowadays has totally changed too. How does 3.Paradis adapt to this environment?
We took the decision to work at our own pace and let the consumer adapt to our world and environment. This is, for now, our only way to make honest and quality work.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far? Is there someone you are especially grateful to?
My greatest achievement so far would be the art exhibition we are curating in Houston (United States) next summer. We will present the sculptural furniture series that I created in collaboration with multidisciplinary artist Joyce Lin. Merging into fine art was a big stepping-stone and brings me a lot of joy. I’m very grateful to my parents for the unconditional support and encouragement they gave me since the inception of 3.Paradis.
What are your upcoming projects? Who would you like to work with?
I just finalized an art project of a series of sculptural furniture that will be exhibited in Houston, Texas, this upcoming summer. Also, been working on a jewelry project with my dear friend and Navajo jeweler Cody Sanderson. In the future, I would love to work with photographer Nick Knight.
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 2.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 6.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 7.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 12.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 13.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 14.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 15.jpg
3 Paradis Metalmagazine 5.jpg