Meet Julie of Poésie by Julie, the slow fashion atelier where each piece is made to order using only low ecological impact fabrics. Aspiring to step away from fast fashion, and seeking to offer a slower pace of fashion consumerism. This label is committed to being responsible every step of the way, from the creative process, to the materials and making of items. Greenwashing in the fashion industry is not the way forward, and Poésie by Julie chooses to play no part in it.
‘POÉSIE’, PRONOUNCED 'PO-É-ZI'
For those that don't know you, please can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Where to begin! I'm 27 years young, I have lived in the UK my entire life, but my heritage is French (mothers side) & Lebanese (fathers side). As a child, I watched 'Gone With the Wind' on repeat because I was in awe of the costume design, particularly Scarlett O'Hara's big ruffled gowns towards the beginning of the film. I grew up always being more interested and captivated by the creative subjects at school. I started sewing lessons when I was 12; I still remember my first successful sewing project, which was a little ballet-styled wrap skirt I wore to a school disco! Fast forward several years, I studied for my BA degree at the London College of Fashion in Womenswear Fashion Design.
And also your business; Poésie by Julie?
Poésie by Julie is an environmentally conscious womenswear label, where each design is made-to-order by me! The capsule collections are designed with intention; silhouettes created to last in your wardrobe for years to come in beautiful, high-quality fabrics that have low ecological impact. Before Poésie by Julie, I worked for a high street brand on the womenswear design team for three years. I learned how a fast-fashion business operated with a complete lack of ethics and consideration for the environment during my time there. I knew then that sustainability and transparency would be a priority if I were to start my own brand. I have shared honest price receipts on my Instagram page to show that compared to fast-fashion, the pricing is more expensive, and I like to make it clear what resources and time go into a Poésie by Julie creation.
What is the Poésie by Julie ethos?
Poésie is the French word for ‘poetry’, reflecting the brand ethos for garments to be poetic and meaningful on the body. Aspiring to step away from fast fashion and seeking to offer a slower pace of fashion consumerism. Continuously investing in quality over quantity.
I love the materials you have chosen to make your beautiful pieces, what do you look for when choosing them?
During the months of lockdown, while I was developing this business, I spent a great deal of time researching sustainable fabrics and ordering many, many swatches. When selecting fabrics, I consider the hand feel, fluidity and quality. I only use natural fibre fabrics, no synthetics! As the collections are sold online, customers can't feel the fabrics before ordering, so it's an essential part of the process for client satisfaction.
It is great that you have chosen to offer 'made to order', what was your reason behind this?
I love to sew! When I was developing the Poésie Business idea, I initially thought to find suppliers and outsource the making of my garments. High minimum order quantities and trying to guess the demand was daunting, so I wondered whether the option of sewing the pieces myself was a viable one. I researched made-to-order as a business model. Compared to the conventional made-to-stock or 'off the rack' model, made-to-order drastically reduces the potential for wastage or surplus stock and offers a more personal experience as I can sew orders following specific measurements to ensure a perfect fit.
What are you most excited about this year?
Apart from designing and releasing the two annual capsule collections, I'm not entirely sure what this year has planned for me, and I quite like that! My sister just got engaged, so naturally, I am in charge of her wedding dress. I made a wedding dress for my closest friend last year, so it has got me thinking about the potential for Poésie Bridalwear. Let's see ;)
What and who inspires you in your work?
One of my favourite topics to study during my degree was History of Dress; I held on to the books I bought for the subject and my notes for inspiration! I like to take elements of historical dress and sketch alongside my chosen fabric swatches. I go with what excites me/feels right. For example, I fell in love with Japan's Edo period. The traditional obi belt inspired a few designs like the Mae & Lucie.
How do you maintain a work life balance? (This is something I am working on myself)
This was actually the top of my list for resolutions this year. Last year I constantly felt burnt out and cancelled plans, rarely having weekends off because running a business can feel all-consuming. The issue is that I love what I do, and I want this business to thrive & grow, so I have trouble switching away from work and feel anxious when I take time off. I am now making a conscious effort to not work weekends and dedicate time in the week for other activities that feed my mind and body - like running and going for coffee with my loved ones!
What is your biggest piece of advice for female business owners and those wanting to start their own business?
I played with the idea of starting a business for years, always coming up with excuses not to go for it, which was not the right mindset. Take the time to find your confidence; this is how I went about starting Poésie by Julie. I began with the small steps that slowly made the idea into a real business without feeling overwhelming or risky. I registered the company and bought the website domain months before I began website building or having my business plan ready! 18 months in, to be honest, I still make mistakes and feel like an amateur; all we can do is continue learning, growing and supporting one another!
Discover Poésie by Julie below:Instagram: poesiebyjulie