In Normandy, a smell of authenticity hangs over this family business that has been making work clothes for nearly 90 years. Today, the cuts are back to standard and up to date, but the workmanship and models are identical to those of the 1920s. The grandfather’s jacket and overalls claim a vintage look… that pleases!
It all began in the small town of St Pierre d’Entremont in Normandy. Marcel, son of a galosh maker (shoes with leather uppers and wooden soles) meets Emilie, daughter of a fabric merchant and clothing manufacturer… it was love at first sight and the beginning of a great entrepreneurial adventure.
In 1921, the couple married and gave birth to the Kiplay brand (a play on the word “qui plait” found by Marcel who believed strongly in advertising). They then made clothes for the French army and work clothes. The company grew and employed 350 people after the war.
After Marcel and Hubert, Marc took over and started the workshop again in the village of origin in Normandy. He decided to shape his new clothing line manufactured in his workshop, using the codes and authenticity of the original clothing line.
In 2016 and four generations later, the 3 children: Clément, Gérault and Romane join the family business.
A Norman know-how
Kiplay is proud to inscribe its history in Normandy. The proof: inside the jeans pockets, the map of Normandy is printed. Another source of pride: the company produces its entire jeans and workwear collection in its Normandy workshop, which produces 8,000 pieces per year.
Jackets, jackets, trousers, jeans, overalls, bags, caps, suspenders, the whole collection is ultra resistant and easy to clean. The Gaspard jacket, for example, designed in the 1960s, respects the pattern of the time in a more modern version. Romane explains “The fabric is cut according to the pattern of the model’s pattern and then our workers start assembling the garment. After the garment is dyed, all that remains is to wear out the garment to give it an aged appearance. We cut it, rub it, damage it to give it life experience”. The jackets are even “patched” by hand with yokes from recycled clothing.
“Each piece has its own story and we want to tell it,” adds Clément.
As for fabrics, all the clothes are woven in France with moleskin (literally mole skin), and chevron, which are 2 robust fabrics used at the time to protect workers from machines and bad weather.
A heritage brand
“My grandfather Hubert knew the name and family of his 600 employees, it was important to him,” says Clément, who wants to continue this legacy and is now committed to maintaining the most pleasant working conditions possible. In the workshop there is good light, suitable and comfortable workstations, a zen room for rest. A hive will even be installed!
To ensure the continuation and training of young people, Kiplay participated in the creation in Vire of a BTS in “fashion professions” on an alternating basis. A promising first promotion where a young student has joined the teams and is trained in the workshop and at school during the 2 years of training.
You can meet them at Made in France Première Vision on April 3rd and 4th at the tile of the temple in Paris.