If you ask a French girl to cite some of her favorite brands, you’ll inevitably hear Sandro come up in the list. The cult Parisian line, which is rapidly expanding in other countries, is a study in clean lines and offers sophisticated takes on the season’s best trends. When I had the opportunity to attend Paris Fashion Week with Sandro, I sat down with founder and creative director Evelyne Chétrite to learn about a few of the secrets behind her incredible success as well as her Parisian insider tips.
Scroll down to check out the interview!
Who What Wear: How does a piece of clothing get made, from sketch to actual garment?
Evelyne Chétrite: Every Sandro garment is initially created and finished in-house in Paris. Our team of patternmakers creates the pattern from the sketch, and then our team of sewers creates the sample garment from the pattern. We manufacture out of house, and we have an amazing production team that analyzes every piece to ensure that impeccable Sandro quality.
WWW: Do you have any tips for growing a business?
EC: Always being true to the brand DNA while still being innovative and modern to keep our customers constantly inspired and coming back each season.
WWW: How has your role changed since you started the company until now?
EC: It changed a lot, I have to admit. In the past I was able to deal with every single issue; now I have to rely on my teams in order to focus on the women’s studio only. My son Ilan handles the men’s.
WWW: What advice do you wish you’d known back when you were just starting the brand?
EC: Never be afraid to take risks and go for your dreams. We started Sandro with a dream, and it’s truly been a fairy tale!
WWW: Where do you find inspiration?
EC: I draw my inspiration from my family as well as my professional family—people who work and contribute every day to the success of the brand—and from the street. I love sitting at a bistro terrace in Paris, taking in all the sights the city offers.
WWW: Is there a certain neighborhood in Paris where the street style is especially inspiring?
EC: I would say the Marais, where our offices are located. The streets there give me the most inspiration. … A color [or] a cut can trigger a season.
WWW: What is it about French style that people from around the world find compelling?
EC: You know, French style is very pragmatic. French women don’t like to think they’re influenced by trends. The Parisian woman has a je ne sais quoi that makes her style very special—casual but always chic, sophisticated but cool. The Parisian is more a concept: The rule number one is to keep the things that work well on you, well-cut basics that flatter your figure. And never try too hard, or make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve spent hours working on your outfit (even if you did).
WWW: A lot of French designers are also intrigued by Los Angeles. Why do you think that is?
EC: California has that cool vibe we always want to create within our collections. I believe there’s a certain laid-back attitude in California, which is very refreshing. I am thinking of Venice Beach, for instance, where it’s less about looking perfect and more about feeling comfortable while still being stylish.
WWW: What colors are you feeling for fall?
EC: Dark tones: Navy, burgundy, and green are my favorites this winter!
WWW: The brand has existed for over 30 years. What’s next for Sandro?
EC: Remain humble and keep offering beautiful, high-quality, and stylish collections to our customers. We strive to always ensure our clients are happy and inspired by every Sandro piece they purchase and wear. I would also like Sandro to express more as a lifestyle: a vision of the brand beyond the clothes, with contemporary values.