François Girbaud, Marithé+François Girbaud, at the Maison d'Exceptions show


“My name is François Girbaud and I boast a career in fashion that is nearing 50 years. The brand Marithé+François Girbaud that I cofounded is well-known for inventing the Stone Wash technique among others. Today I am obviously much more involved in all the initiatives aiming to save water and energy, as well as get rid of chemicals.
I am aware that we are criminals because we invented a process that has polluted rivers throughout the world. Since 1989 I have been fighting against these malpractices: it was when the Berlin wall fell down and people from the other side of the wall brought the Acid Wash technique that I realized I had made a huge mistake. We used to rely on water and stones so it was different, but now we can’t even use water anymore. We need to be reminded of all this and put an end to it.
My career is made of extremes: first the Stone Wash, now the Light Wash, a technique based on light. We developed machines, lasers and started working with air, a free resource unlike water which is increasingly expensive. That is the reason why I settled in Los Angeles where water is missing and solutions need to be found.
Separating hydrogen from oxygen is important, especially when working with indigo dye. And if people still want to dress with old and ragged clothes, at least we can now manufacture them without using water or energy.”