A meeting with Maroussia Rebeq, founder of the brand Andrea Crews, which recently took up residence at a new boutique and showroom on the rue de Turenne in Paris. Just ten years old, this young fashion brand, artists’ collective, and creative agency asserts a fresh point-of-view in the often homogenous world of fashion while leading by example in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Maroussia Rebecq, how did you come from the Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux to arrive in fashion?
When I was little I used to draw clothing, especially extravagant cocktail dresses…in the context of my studies at the Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, I was required to take on an internship project, and my professor suggested that I ought to create my own fashion label. I told myself « I am going to make outfits from garbage, dress the city-going public, and demonstrate that beauty can be unexpected. I launched a partnership with Secours Populaire and the CAPC–the contemporary art museum in Bordeaux– and we held our first runway presentation, styling and dressing people, creating a panoply of looks that we sold at auction.
After post-graduate studies in Nantes and a residence at the Villa Arson, I arrived in Paris in 2002. Le Palais de Tokyo invited me to do an exhibition the year that they first opened. As a result, I came to create Andrea Crews, which was a creative laboratory and a production agency: we did expositions, publishing, music, and styling centered around recycling, with the idea to take used clothing to create new forms.
Andrea Crews is nowadays a fashion brand, a company with employees. Do you still work with a local network of suppliers and producers?
These days, Andrew Crews offers two collections: an artisanal line crafted from recycled garments and a street wear line for which the production is ordered more conventionally. We recently have been reflecting on the relevance of the second line, even if it is pretty awesome to design an article of clothing and see it arrive finished.
For the artisanal line, we begin with vintage clothing and unsold stock, but this is also our method when we create capsule collections for other brands such as Uniqlo or My Little Pony. I love taking existing stories and filling them with a new life.
Occasionally we work with an artisan who has a specific savoir-faire, for example a Romanian embroiderer who works with the women of her village. But the sourcing of raw materials and unique talent is complicated and we can never guarantee that the quantity desired will in the end be produced– so this is why we usually reserve working with these artisans for one-of-a-kind pieces.
For the last collection, we recycled a bunch of vintage Scottish kilts and worked with a Scottish mill. At Andrew Crews, our inspiration comes from the real, from what is concrete. I am very inspired by material, I don’t do drawings but rather I start from a piece of clothing and think about ways to transform it– my approach is actually quite technical. It’s the sculptural and improvisational aspects of our recycling process the create the intrigue surrounding our garments.
Andrea Crews is a fashion brand that maintains an artistic posture, but also boasts sustainability?
Art has always been a part of Andrea Crews: in our runway shows, our showroom events, the workshops we organize with art students, the expositions to which we are invited, the Burning Vogue performances…fashion is my medium.
Andrea Crews is a system with very strong ideas but it is essential to know how to avoid falling into the trap of repeating oneself. We present ourselves as a collective, a recycling label, and so we open the field of fashion to other disciplines.
I have always been involved with sustainable development, before the eco-friendly trend, and I refuse to get caught up in this marketing dimension. Sustainable development is in the very roots of Andrea Crews. When you buy a piece of our clothing, you buy it for its story, for its past life… our pieces are iconic, they are made to be loved!