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The couture craftmanship

Pictures by James Chardon

THE JAKOB SCHLAEPFER MANUFACTURELast week James and I got to live an absolutely unforgettable experience in the very heart of our country. It just seems like we learn more and more incredible things about Switzerland and discover real treasure gems everyday. This time we got totally blown away as we had the chance to be invited on an exclusive and super intimate visit of the Jakob Schlaepfer manufacture in St Gallen. We didn’t know what to expect but a simple high quality textile manufacture… Instead of that we rediscovered fashion industry through their eyes, and saw the very raw materials of a successfull runway collection. They are the main textile providers for all the big luxury couture houses like Chanel, Vuitton, Dior, Escada, Fendi, Givenchy (and the list goes on…). And we’re not only talking about brands, they also provide materials for home interior (hotels, luxury boutiques) some celebrities even come with their personal stylist to pick up some textile for their tour costumes (Lady Gaga was spotted having a look at their archives) and they just recently started an accessory line. We were so amazed that Switzerland has been for ages in the very centre of fashion industry, and St Gallen most particulary the main (and best) provider for high quality fabrics, the Jakob Schlaefpfer being one of the best (if not the best, hum hum) manufacture in the world : the proof is they are the brand that have been copied the biggest amount of time ever. Imagine just : if you ever try to reproduce a Dior dress or Chanel jacket, you’ll not only be copying the design created by the brand but also the textile produced by the company. 

What was so incredibly unexpected for me to learn was how creative the team at JS are. I’ve always belived that the prints, embelishments, broderies and so on were all created and imagined by the label’s creative director in order to suit perfectly with the aesthetic vision of their new collection when it turns out that some hand pick their favourite materials created by the Jakob Schlaepfer creative team and buy an exclusivity on the design for their show.  Of course there are also brands who have some in house ateliers, but it would require hundreds of various machines and years of knowledge and craftmanship to acquire the level of JS. Each year they create several textile collections with +200 different material designs, from prints, to tweed, to neoprene, to sequins (it’s their speciality) they’ve got all the possible combinations! We had the chance to visit the magical place, and I have to say that I saw some of the most beautiful textiles ever and got so extremely inspired. Some of them cost +5’000$ the metre, and some can go up to 20’000$!! That’s a very, very fancy dress you’ll get there. We were so honoured to have been given the chance to have a peek at all these gorgeous creations as they haven’t allowed for a very long time external media visits and the only people eventually coming in were the designer, and again only the top ones. We had the chance to see the upcoming textile collection and therefore have a little preview of what we’ll see at the next fashion weeks since obviously the brands are going to select and buy them. Yes people!! Switzerland is officially the new heart of fashion and haute couture! Take that Paris, nah. Without Switzerland’s crafty hands, where would be fashion right now? Gosh I am such a pround swiss gal. But the thing is that for years St Gallen has been the richest country in europe, thanks to the success of the textile industry they were making huge profits and participating in benefit of swiss economy. If you’re ever near the city, go have a look at their textile museums and the library where you can see some incredible textile archives. Hope you’ll enjoy the adventure!

COAT : & Other Stories
TOP : Three Floor
PANTS : Mango 
BAG : Louis Vuitton 
HAT : Zara
LIPS : YSL “Rose Lingerie”
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