I may only follow 27 people on Instagram, but those 27 are a well curated bunch. Case in point: a few weeks ago, Twenty Tees founder David Helwani "liked" a photo with an Enfants Riches Déprimés branded top and bam! New amazing brand discovered thanks to social media (incidentally, I came across Helwani's burgeoning fashion empire in a similar fashion).
A unisex French/LA-based line, Enfants Riches Déprimés includes one-of-a kind baseball caps, vintage-inspired T-shirts, sweatshirts (they're so soft!) and leather jackets and, starting this month, the brand is carried exclusively at Browns in London. I spoke with designer Henri Alexander to find out more about his up-and-coming label.
theFashionSpot: Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Were you always interested in fashion?
Henri Alexander: My background has always been in art. I grew up on the East Coast and went to boarding school in Switzerland and British Columbia. For me, fashion and art have always gone hand in hand. I was painting and putting safety pins on my prep school jackets in middle school. Style has always been important.
tFS: You’re based between Los Angeles and Paris – any favorite spots?
HA: I've been living back and forth between Paris and Los Angeles for the last few years. I like to go to Le Baron in Paris. In LA, I like to buy records and eat Tommy Burger.
tFS: What led to the start of your brand? How did you come up with the name?
HA: I was walking around Montmartre at 3 a.m. and came up with this concept of some sort of French punk art gang, which eventually led to the start of Enfants. Enfants Riches Déprimés essentially means depressed rich kids. I was being specific here and am speaking directly to the stylish weird kid who went to prep school and has been given everything his/her whole life, but is still miserable. Chic outcasts, misfits and addicts.
tFS: When you say it’s based on French punk, what exactly do you mean?
HA: I was first inspired by the DIY style pioneered by Richard Hell, Malcolm Maclaren and John Lydon in the late 70s. I’m interested in what this became in the 80s, particularly in the UK, and the more hardcore style of punk, like GBH, subhumans, Crass. Bands like Komnitern Sect coming out of France. The line also takes influence from the anti-fashion movements of the 80s in Japan. Designers like Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo.
tFS: You have a few pieces with the Hermes logo – they’re notoriously very protective over their brand. Have they ever tried contacting you?
HA: I’m not too worried about Hermes. They have not contacted me, but I would be flattered if they did.
tFS: A lot of your pieces are done by hand. Can you tell us a little bit about the process?
HA: All the jackets and vests are handmade. I’m super particular about the way they are done. The thing is there are so many corny leather jackets out there. I first start with a vintage jean vest or jacket and then apply studs and patches. I stitch on the patches and put in the studs and then I beat it up and it’s done.
tFS: Are you working on any new designs that you can tell us about?
HA: I’m very exited for our upcoming spring collection. We are offering our staple ripped tees and caps as well as more fashion pieces like leather overalls and suiting.