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New ideas in fashion are quite rare, but creating products that are practical rather than aesthetically pleasing, whilst still being fashionable, is an authentic characteristic for sure. Raphaël Brisson and Sara Rangchi, from the Paris-based shoe design label Arpent, are combining their inspiration in contrasting yet harmonious shoes. The label was only founded in 2015, but has already marked a strong, recognizable brand identity.
How did you guys meet each other and when did you decide to create a brand together?
Raphaël: We met during a party and a few months later we decided to start Arpent.
Sara: We were in the same fashion school, but never really interacted with each other. Then we met through mutual friends on a weekend and found out we had a similar creative direction, so we agreed to start this project together.
How are the tasks divided between the two of you?
Raphaël: I design the shoes and we take care of the management together; Sara has been managing the development and production as well.
Sara: We have varied tasks, but generally we manage everything together. Raph takes care of the initial designs, whereas I take care of the development of the products and production as well.

Where do you find inspiration for the collection of the brand?
Raphaël: A lot of inspiration comes from sportswear and other fields such as security or construction where the footwear is utilitarian rather than aesthetically pleasing. The goal is to make it fashionable without losing the humour of the references.
Sara: I would say the inspiration is whatever that can create an electric contrast. Arpent’s products are playful but still very wearable by anyone of any age.
Could you describe the process of inspiration to actual creation of the shoes?
Raphaël: We start by finding a theme for the season, every season we work on the men’s and the women’s collection at the same time. After this, I start looking for inspiration and references. We make a rough collection plan to have a general idea and I start drawing the first drafts, this includes a lot of sketching. Then we get into the development process.
You started of with men’s footwear, but now also added women’s footwear, what difference do you notice in the process of creating for the opposite gender?
Raphaël: Women’s footwear is way more fun!
Do you have a muse? Someone you would love to see wearing Arpent shoes.
Raphaël: Rihanna.
Sara: I'd like to go out and see teenagers wearing them at a rave at night and then a couple of hours later, a middle aged adult wearing them heading to work in the subway in the morning.

“I'd like to go out and see teenagers wearing our shoes at a rave at night and then a middle aged adult wearing them heading to work.”
What is the concept behind the Arpent SS/17 collection for men and for women?
Sara: We wanted to set the DNA of the label in stone and also analyze the reaction of the market to it. The concept is related to dynamism and movement, but it is also very complex designing that merges utility and classic. We value unexpected contrasting inspiration that has a strong visual impact on the consumer.
The photography style of Arpent is not one you would normally expect for a shoe brand, how does it fit to the brand identity?
Raphaël: We’re young, we try stuff – the photography style and the artistic direction are unexpected, but young and innovative. The brand identity is this new look on the sneaker and the modern shoe, keeping the traditional roots of Italian craftsmanship. 
Sara: It’s a question of setting a mood. As I said, we believe in strong visual impacts and when it comes to editorials it’s about telling a story that involves the consumer entirely. This kind of representation and elaboration is very rare in premium footwear.
What do you want to add to fashion and especially to the footwear industry with Arpent?
Sara: Fashion is all about being deviant at the moment. It’s coming to a point that this kind of attitude is becoming very commercial. However, new ideas are quite rare, it's all about heavy referencing from old runway shows, re-worked through today's eyes. I am not against it, but I think that for us and for many other smaller brands that are emerging right now, there is a strong urge to create a new and fresh silhouette.
Your website says that Arpent is currently focused on footwear, but is also exploring other sectors of premium quality goods. What can we expect from the brand in the future?
Sara: Arpent is a very dynamic project, it was never meant to be just footwear. We are currently exploring on options in the accessories industry. In order to do that, we need to set our initial identity through footwear.

Words
Sanne Nooitgedagt

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