Inside Paris' Andrea Crews Shop [Gallery]
Announcing itself with fluorescent yellow and safety bright orange duct tape spelling out its name on its large front windows, Andrea Crews sits unmistakable in the trendy Belleville neighborhood of Paris. For ten years, the French label has been bringing its own brand of independent spunkiness to the masses, appearing on the runway, in fashion magazines and on popular performers. Hype acts like French chanteuse Yelle and Harlem's current rap king A$AP Rocky are both fans of Andrea Crews, decking themselves out in colorful and quirky accessories and clothing from the brand. We ventured into its Paris location for a look around and to learn more.
Its location on Rue Vaucouleurs doubles as both a showroom/shop and working studio in which two full-time sewers create pieces and other employees buzz around working on design, graphics, promotion and more. Studio chief Nina Gander gave us a tour of the downstairs lair that houses clothing from collections past to present, explaining that the avant-garde French brand has been going strong for ten years. Its slogan? Fashion, Art, Activism. Gander was able to offer us a glimpse of each word in action with various pieces she pulled from the rack. One particular piece is a black and white striped T-shirt, emblazoned with a face made out of various colors of lamé. It falls into the activism category, made at a workshop in Asia that the brand regularly partakes in.
Hanging from racks and ladders and sitting atop a stacked boxes are remnants from prior runway shows including wooden cross necklaces affixed on gold chains, explosive prints, jackets with frilled collars, Mexican wrestling masking and other bizarre headwear and abnormal trademark style of combining two different tops into one - whether it be shirts or jackets. There is a collection of kooky and comically terrifying winter jackets on the fared of one rack representing the brand's collaboration with Pyrenex. Collaboration is a common theme, whether it be with performing artists, other brands or other European artists such one in Berlin who works with fabric dyes and one in Romania who specalizes in knitwear.
Big in Asia with stockists in Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo alongside ones in New York and across Europe, the brand flourishes in its own niche market. Founder Maroussia Rebecq and artistic director passes along that average Andrea Crews customer is "A man or a woman, mainly Asian with a strong style. The customer loves designer pieces, a mix between simple pieces and original pieces with brights colors and strong forms. He/she has between 30 and 50 years old and is urban."
Given the mix of what's available at the shop, it looks like that idea of a customer would have closet lust the moment they entered. The downstairs as as close to a dress up box a fashion forward adult could want, while still remaining creatively wearable and relatively affordable.
Images by Nilina Mason-Campbell