With the 10th anniversary of the brand, OLOW has opened its first flagship store in the heart of Le Marais quarter of the 3rd arrondissement in Paris.
This French brand speaks about “art, poetry and escape”, offering products of high quality with an ethical side (entire production is located in Portugal, in family-run factories) and collaborating with many French and international artists.
I talked to the brand’s founders Mathieu and Valentin and got to know more about the story of OLOW, its new collection and their creative approach to making the brand unique.
I am interested in the story of the brand. How did you come up with the idea of launching it?
The brand started in 2006. 10 years ago. Founders are Mathieu Sorosina and Valentin Porcher.
So, you have an anniversary this year.
Yes, and we decided to celebrate it with opening the store.
And what about your background?
We are from Montreuil, but studied communication in Paris. We did different projects all together. So OLOW is not just a clothing brand but it is about art.
In 2006 we decided to create our own brand. It’s some kind of artistic labor, like the laboratory that you can see here. To create clothing brand is a good opportunity to put together all these things and inspirations.
We started with t-shirts, different patterns in collaboration with different artists. After that in 2009 we decided to do more than just t-shirts, but all the wardrobe for men, like shirts, pants, jackets, etc. It was a possibility to enter to the market, to propose more than one thing.
We are focused on the generation that loves travelling. Man of OLOW lives in this generation. He is extremely open minded to everything all around
And it was also a new challenge from the question of creativity, because it is extremely important to us. So, in 2009 we expanded the brand and started the distribution. Now, after 10 years, we have a complete collection for men.
We keep the name that we had at the beginning. You can see the same patterns and graphics that are typical of OLOW. We are also keen on details that can be hidden. For example, the phrase “first you drink after we discuss” inside the jacket. Fabrics are extremely important, they are made in Portugal and the quality is very high.
And what fabrics do you usually use?
It depends on the season. For winter we use 50-60% of wool, but have also silk. We use different kind of cotton for t-shirts and jackets, Italian velvet for trousers, etc. We use only natural fabrics – wool, cotton, silk, velvet.
What about the brand’s name? Why OLOW?
OLOW is translated as small space. It reflects the situation that we had at the beginning. We started in a very small space all together. But now it’s growing so it’s a little bit different. We did a kind of French translation of an English word.
You have a mote – poetry, art, escape. That means you collaborate with many artists?
Yes, we collaborate with different artists and we are focused on art. I think the most famous is Jean Jullien (you can see the deck with his sketch in our store).
We already collaborated with more than 100 artists. On our website you can check all of our collaborations with artists and get more information about them.
Do you organize some exhibitions?
We have exhibitions in-store and internal exhibitions. Sometimes we also organize them. We are always searching for new artists. 1,5 year ago we had an exhibition with 29 artists (France, Belgium, Italy) including Jean Jullien. The interesting mix is to have big artists together with new young one. To have a mix of everything, to have a right balance is very important.
You have a lot of international collaborations. So, this means you are presented in many stores worldwide?
We are presented now in more than 200 stores, not only in France, but also in Germany, Spain, and Italy, in more than 7 countries.
How is it going with Russia?
We work with the Russian online store Van der Maag. We started to work with it 3-4 years ago. We have a good feedback from them. And at the moment they are the only one in Russia where you can buy our products.
How can you describe your target customer?
Our target is a man from 25 to 40. He is interested in art, has an artistic vision of the world. He has alternative lifestyle. It is some kind of an urban guy. We are focused on the generation that loves travelling. Men of OLOW live in this generation. He is extremely open minded to everything all around.
As we have said before, we have 50% of customers from France and 50% of international customers. That is why they have different tastes and different world’s vision. But all of them choose OLOW.
What are they interested in?
The best sellers are our t-shirts with typical OLOW patterns, the product we have started with.
What can you say about this season?
For this season wool is the main fabric. We also have a lot of patchwork. Regarding the theme of the collection, it is called English breakfast.
English breakfast. Why?
For Valentin it was extremely interesting to work with vibes of the UK, because he has a part of family that lives there. He travelled a lot around the UK. It was the best idea to create a collection with this inspiration. We wanted to mix a traditional fabrics and contemporary fabrics. It shows the UK spirit. Old fashioned things together with more contemporary things.
English Breakfast is some kind of mix that works perfectly all together. For the collection it is the same. The fabrics are different. But all together it is a good match.
And the last question that I am very interested in. Are you planning to launch femme collection?
Not yet, but maybe we will do it the next year.
48 rue de Montmorency