What is the point of supporting social movements if they don’t end up being translated into concrete actions? In a world constantly bombarded by shocking headlines and violent marketing strategies, Egonlab has made authenticity the philosopher’s stone of its vision. Florentin Glémarec and Kevin Nompeix, the creative duo behind the emerging Parisian brand, have been consistent with their message since they started the project just two years ago.
They turn to the past to understand the mistakes made by humanity, and they always do it by projecting into the future. Detached from value judgments and limiting categories, the brand understands the purchasing act of the younger generations as a declared expression of their concerns and needs. The combative and optimistic message behind their garments is an urgent call to action. A call that they already warned about in their first collection, L’Appel.

Catching the photographers’ attention outside Palais de Tokyo during some of the most coveted shows of Paris Fashion Week is not an easy task. Those responsible for graphic testimony at these events must make a difficult decision taking into consideration multiple criteria: portray the most moving and inspiring characters, or opt instead for world-renowned style leaders. An arduous internal debate between the naturalness and the diffusion of the snapshots. So how did Egonlab get the interest of each and every one of those present? Resorting to authenticity. They turned their grandparents into their best ambassadors, walking through the epicentre of Parisian fashion wearing their clothes. A creative and unusual formula that already hinted at that time their interest in establishing bridges between different eras. “Learn from the past, live in the present and build our future.”

Aware of the need to connect with new generations through a shared discourse, the creative duo dedicates much of their time to analyzing works of art from different times, to later adapt their motifs and messages to the present. Their latest collection, presented virtually during the last Paris Fashion Week, is testimony to that. An action proving that more than a fashion brand, Egonlab is a true creative laboratory.
Egonlab Metalmagazine 10.jpg
Since you founded your brand in late 2018, you have talked about the prevailing need for structural change as a society. A foreboding warning if we pay attention to the current situation, which is demanding a complete mental transformation. What is the mission you are pursuing with your project, Egonlab?
Egonlab is an emerging brand that draws its inspiration from societal culture and all forms of revolution that have impacted the modern world. For several years now, we have seen a real change in the purchasing process, especially in the fashion world. For our generation, the act of buying has become a political demand, and it is through clothing that we can spread a message and affirm our values. Nowadays, we believe that it is essential for an emerging brand like ours to reflect and position itself on the world around us.
Obviously, we don’t pretend to define ourselves as a political movement or even as opinionated leaders, but we strive to be part of a collective awakening. “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will be as one.” Imagine by John Lennon.
Although it is true that many brands and companies were already undertaking a rethink of production and consumption in the fashion sector, you focused your message on relations and human rights from the beginning. How do you fight for the conquest of freedom and equality through your project?
There has been real awareness in the fashion sector, especially in the face of the ecological emergency. Our eco-responsible ethics have led us to adapt our production and distribution circuit. Today, Egonlab offers parts resulting from a green material sourcing. We have also set up a pre-order system on our e-commerce site in order to limit the production of unnecessary waste caused by mass production. We are also deeply committed to the fight against inequalities and the defence of minorities. Their voices have been ignored for too long.
Now, it is essential that all these inequalities and injustices are denounced by all communities, by all humans and by all governments. As citizens of the world, we should all feel empowered within this mission. “This is the moment when they understood that the biggest enemy of the human race was the human race itself.” Egonlab, Renewal Manifesto.
“We are on the brink of revolution.” In the manifesto of your first collection, L’Appel, you already seemed to foresee a major insurrection. And I have the feeling that, since then, you have worked taking into consideration possible future scenarios. What led you to think that a global mutation would occur? Do you think we have already experienced it, or is there still a long way to go?
We base our ideology on three main pillars: learning from the past, living in the present and building our future. We are in the midst of a generational transition and we must enrich ourselves with past experiences to better understand our present, in order to repair any mistakes that may have been made. We don’t want to look for a culprit, but the contrary, to provide solutions. These fractures between generations are not new and have given birth to many movements/subcultures such as hippies or punks. We are only at the beginning of this new era, but the events of recent months are proof that it is working.
Egonlab Metalmagazine 2.jpg
Your brand could be perfectly considered as unisex in terms of silhouettes, patterns and aesthetics. However, the images of your campaigns represent mostly men. Who are your clothes for?
Egonlab is, above all, a brand that does not judge. We dress all kinds, all colours, all religions and without distorting the identity of the person who wears it. We have worked on many projects related to gender and acceptance, especially with our models Dustina and Gaïa Orgeas. We are currently working on a very exciting new project, but we can’t tell you more yet.
David Bowie, influences from the late-1970s London punk and historically banned fabrics symbol of resistance, such as the toile de Jouy. Your sources of inspiration refer to another era defined by social changes and the restructuring of the system. What parallels do you draw between them and our current times? Is there something you miss from that period?
We like to register in an heirloom and include in our collections cultural and societal references. It is a form of homage and recognition. I studied image semiology and I know the importance of visual stimuli present in the collective unconscious. In addition, we have an iconoclastic spirit. Taking up traditional codes and know-how while transcribing them in modern silhouettes is the basis of our work. We are thus celebrating all eras and creating our own aesthetic.
Florentin, your grandparents Marie-Louise and René have contributed enormously to the dissemination of your work. Specifically, when they attended several shows during Paris Fashion Week dressed in your clothes – their photos went viral. How do you remember this moment?
It was an amazing experience. It all started one evening in our little Parisian studio. My grandparents had come to see the collection in advance. My grandfather wanted to try out all the garments and it clicked. We offered them to wear our clothes during Paris Fashion Week; they were very excited to be a part of the project! When they first left the Palais de Tokyo, it was a general surprise both for the photographers and for us. People literally jumped at them. I think this will remain one of the most beautiful experiences. We can never thank them enough for what they do for us.
“The socio-cultural and political context we live in sometimes seems unfavourable to the emancipation of young people. This is why we must fight for our rights.”
Both are over eighty years old. And both have become essential faces of the Parisian streetstyle scene, grabbing the attention of photographers in locations full of celebrities and relevant personalities. Is this a wake-up call to new generations?
In one word: authenticity. Fashion is a universal language without borders. They are the symbol of unity between two generations. We are happy with the welcome they received, the photo went viral and the comments were all love.
In addition to the influence of performance and spectacle, your brand is closely linked to art. You even refer to it as “a creative laboratory.” And I think that, beyond aesthetics or discipline, what really interests you is the message and the vindicating power of the works. Am I wrong?
Indeed, Egonlab is a creative laboratory organized around three poles: fashion, music and visual arts. Our ambition is to offer through each collection a unique and whole message and aesthetic. Our team is called Egonlab Family, and it consists of motion designers Kisol and Michelle Copolla, producers FX093, Mind Matter, Gewalt and Blu Bk.
We also like to collaborate with emerging local and international artists – always in a participative approach. Nowadays, it seems essential to us to propose a different format and to renew our proposal. As we said, art is a universal language. Thanks to fashion, music, words and images, we can convey a message or even feelings.
Make Humanity Great Again, your Fall/Winter 2020 collection, is a statement of intent communicated through irony and sarcasm. If you could change three qualities of the current generation, which would you choose?
Why would we want to change the qualities of a generation? On the contrary, we want to amplify these qualities in order to create a more just world. The socio-cultural and political context we live in sometimes seems unfavourable to the emancipation of young people. This is why we must fight for our rights; we must not be afraid to state our expectations and continue to dream. We are deeply convinced that many people identify with our speech because we are not different from them.
At the end of June, you presented digitally your latest work for Spring/Summer 2021: Renewal. And you did it as part of the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week Men. How was the collection’s development process during lockdown?
The lockdown has been very prolific and fruitful for us. We’ve turned all that downtime into creative energy. It was especially during lockdown that we signed a collaboration with Sergio Tacchini. It was a real challenge for us because we had to make two collections while the whole world was at a standstill. We also imagined during this period the scenario – Myth of Renewal – of the video that we were going to present during our first parade in the official calendar of Paris Fashion Week. The concept is to integrate our mannequins and our collection into a digital 3D matrix.
You presented 50 pieces on the virtual catwalk, and twenty of them are the result of a collaboration with historic sports brand Sergio Tacchini. Something surprising considering that Egonlab is projected into the future and the Italian brand has more than fifty years of history. Why did you decide to work together?
Learn from the past to build our future! This collaboration with Sergio Tacchini appeared to us as a real exercise in style. At first glance, as you have noticed, the DNA of our two brands doesn’t seem to match, and this is where the exercise becomes the most interesting. With the help of the teams from Sergio Tacchini’s heyday, we drew on the brand’s very heritage through their iconic designs and materials and added the Egonlab touch to it.
Inspired by director Godfrey Reggio’s experimental film Koyaanisqatsi, the scenery for the show recreates a destroyed and extreme ecosystem. An apocalyptic future reminiscent of Mad Max. How do you conceive the future of the planet? What about the fashion industry?
Better. We are going through difficult times but we will recover together. Be optimistic, we cannot paint our future with darkness. As for our industry, we are seeing a real desire for change, whether that be from designers, emerging brands or large groups. It is an example that we must all be set for the next generations to come, whether in respect for the environment, in respect for human rights, in solidarity and in the acceptance of all genders.
What can you tell us about your next projects?
We are already working on our next collection, which will be released in January 2021, as well as on new collaborations. We can also tell you that we will be entering several department stores in Paris and around the world. Our ambition is to develop Egonlab through fashion, music and visual arts in order to amplify our message and offer the wardrobe of tomorrow. Finally, in the future, we would be honoured to take on the artistic direction of a major fashion brand to participate in a historical legacy.
Egonlab Metalmagazine 3.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 4.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 5.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 6.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 7.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 8.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 9.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 11.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 13.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 14.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 15.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 16.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 17.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 18.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 19.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 20.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 22.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 21.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 23.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 24.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 25.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 26.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 29.jpg
Egonlab Metalmagazine 28.jpg