Brice Partouce has a vision. The Parisian-Jewish-punk-rocker-record-label-proprietor-fashion-designer not only makes some of the most cool and sought-after threads, but he's also reshaping the industry landscape. Throngs of rockers and hipsters seek out his signature denim, each pair endowed with a loaded guitar pick-holster, allowing the bearer to play a power-chord at moment's notice. Drawing on his adolescence as a hardcore kid, and following the guidance of his conscience, Partouche has carved out a role for himself as both rebel and savior. In an age where the "rebel look" equates the irony of supporting some of the most mainstream and problematic industry practices, a real iconoclast emerges, and he's wearing a vegan biker jacket.
Discerning Brute: What's it like being a fashion designer in Paris who has ethical convictions? How does the industry respond to your values?
Brice Partouche: First, I don’t consider myself as a fashion designer. I use fashion industry to show my vision, and so my ethical convictions,but I also talk about music with APRIL77®collections, and more specifically about rock n’ roll and youth movements.
I was vegetarian for 13 years and recently turned vegan. Not a lot of people knows that APRIL77 is a cruelty-free label because we always have communicated on the music side but never on the “animal liberation” idea. But I think people will find out next winter when they will notice that wool has been banned from our collections.
The cruelty free ethic does not fit into the fashion industry right now. But I hope a change and I really think that APRIL77® could help for a change. We are the only fahion and trendy brand that is animal friendly. I’m not saying that others ethical brands doesn ‘t exist but I’m just pointing the fact that those brands are not into the “fashion/trendy” circuit but into the eco/ethical market.
DB: That's rare, and that's brave. Speaking of cruelty-free, what inspired the "Good Guys Don't Wear Leather" line, and what shoes and boots can we expect to see in the future? We need an amazing men's lace up boot! Do you have any other accessories planned? Driving gloves? Faux leather buckle suspenders maybe?
BP: The name comes from the Minor Threat song (which is a cover song) “Good Guys Don’t Wear White” because hardcore music made my mind and my vision. We launched this line with 2 shoes (derby/cowboys boots) last year but a real leather free shoe/accessories line will be launched next year. But it has to be perfect, and good leather alternative are hard to find and to develop...
DB: Your English is so much better than my French! You also run a record label. What came first, the clothing or the records, and give us a band we should check out that New York may not be aware of yet.
BP: The clothing line came first but music inspired the collections... It’s like the chicken and the egg. Top band: Semen Sundae. It’s my band and we are serious, 10 songs in 20 min.... Really I don’t listen to new bands... I'm kind of stuck in oldies punk/hxc/Black Metal/Hard Rock...
BP: First, leather is just like denim. Leather lives, get older.. So yes leather is beautiful. Same for fur... The problem with consumers is that they stop thinking after noticing that something is beautiful. That’s pure hypocrisy. Same with food. Meat is tasty/ good.. "Ok that’s enough...I don ‘t want to know more..." If people would have to kill by their hand the animals they are wearing, well the story would be different. Leather/fur supplier are just like butchers. And people are hiding behind them...
DB: We love the look of your wool garments, but many of us don't wear wool because of how the animals are bred, raised and treated for this purpose. Do you have any plans to make similar garments in a cruelty-free option or to discontinue the use of wool?
BP: I turned vegan 6 months ago , just when I started to work on the winter collection. It was logical to me that I should banned wool from the collection. Some people tried to change my mind or asked me to wait before doing such an important change, but I couldn’t be in harmony with myself if, as a vegan, [if] I was producing wool. In future collections, we are replacing wool by really thick and heavy cotton. Sometimes we mixed it up with some synthetic threads just for a hairy look. We are trying as much as we can to use only natural knitting fabrics.
DB: I was recently in Paris and had an amazing experience with food. What would a perfect weekend for a vegan in Paris look like? What is your favorite places to visit for fashion, food, and entertainment?
BP: Haha, eating vegan in Paris is like being satanist in Vatican... Almost all vegetarian/vegan restaurants are owned by sects...but a good place to eat is Le Potager Du Marais on rue Rambuteau in the 3rd. I will pass on the fashion/entertainment question...But, the best bar/pub is Stolly’s , awesome music and cool people.
DB: When will the online boutique be open for business? Where can people outside of Paris purchase your clothing?
BP: Soon a new website...
DB: What would the world be like if you were in charge?
BP: A vegan reich :-)