CALL ABOVE: Add Frédéric Martin-Bernard to the ranks of those who started a secondary turmoil during the pandemic.
After a 25-year career in journalism, the French fashion publisher is expanding into interior design with the launch of Window, a service that offers bespoke curtains in the Vosges area of northeastern France, a former center of the textile industry.
Martin-Bernard grew up a stone’s throw from one of the local household linen factories, started sewing at age 12 and studied textile engineering before moving to Paris to pursue his dream of working in fashion.
After leaving her longtime position as fashion director at Le Figaro newspaper in 2019, she felt the need to go back to her roots. “Sewing is a bit like riding a bicycle – don’t forget that,” she said.
His first project was a tent made from a vintage sheet purchased at a flea market. Admiring the result, visitors to his apartment began sharing their difficulties in finding curtains, prompting Martin-Bernard to conduct a market analysis of the sector.
He found a big gap in the offer between cheap ready-to-hang curtains and custom-made curtains at the top. Window offers an intermediate solution, with Martin-Bernard taking care of everything from measurements to mounting the curtain rails.
Customers can choose from a stock of vintage bedding and a selection of around 20 fabrics, including linen, wool and cotton jacquard, all sourced from French mills.
“The idea is to work with a limited selection of fabrics, like a seasonal collection in fashion. I order fabrics from paper mills, so I meet their minimum order requirements. This means that I can offer lower prices than upholsterers, and that is how I can afford to produce in France, ”explained Martin-Bernard.
“In fact, there is very little in interior design that is still made in France,” he noted.
He works with two textile manufacturers in his home region, who deliver the tents within three to four weeks. “During the lockdown I worked on my sewing machine on prototypes for the trims, which are thought of as reversible dresses, inspired by my background in prêt-à-porter. All the seams are cut, “he said.
The launch of the brand on Tuesday, via the website windowparis.fr and the Instagram account @window_paris, was initially scheduled to coincide with the Maison & Objet interior design fair, which has now been postponed to the end of March.
Martin-Bernard, who continues to work freelance for publications including Les Echos Week-end and Icon magazine, plans to open a pop-up in Paris around the time of the fair and is already working on a concept for ready-made curtains. made in France using natural fabrics.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic has inspired many people to improve their homes, it has helped him reconnect with his original passion.
“Sewing is like gardening or cooking. You have to pay attention to every point, “he said.” I remember sitting on the sofa during the lockdown, embroidering different versions of the Window logo. It was really cool. “
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