Emmanuelle (they) are only 23 Y.O, and while they study their Fashion Design Bachelor in Paris, they created their own Fashion brand. Martinican, Emmanuelle have one goal for their brand : to mix West Indian traditions with Fashion trends. INTERVIEW.

Why Flech Kann ?

It means “flèche de canne” in Creole and it’s the flower that blooms on the sugar cane. I was looking for my brand’s name and I wanted it to be in Creole so I opened a Creole dictionnary, and I found “flech kann”. Knowing the sugar cane only has one flower, it was unique so that’s what made me keep the name.

How would you define your brand ? 

It’s a West Indian brand, with a sour universe because it’s quite colorfoul and I also love sour things. It’s West Indian street wear. I wanted to mix the traditionnal codes of the West Indian costume with the actual Fashion codes because I want young people like me to wear back the traditionnal fabrics.
My main goal is to work the Madras. The Madras fabric comes from India but has a special place in the traditionnal West Indian costume. The problem is that the shops that make Madras clothes – which is a great fabric for Martinique because it’s very light – don’t make it modern so no one wears it anymore. Poeple would rather wear jeans while it’s 32 °C outside so I wanted to change that. It all started with a shirt and now I’m starting to try new designs while keeping the pattern but reworked.

Who/What are your inspirations ? 

My biggest inspiration is myself, a non-binary and queer POC. Then there are my closed ones, my friends and my sister. I find a lot of inspiration on social medias or in the streets, Drag Queens, CARTOONS, especially those from the 2000s  that made me dream such as Winx,  Witch, Totally Spies. In another genre, there’s also Phenomenal Raven !! 

Would you say that your brand is inclusive ? 

It’s one of my main goals. Since I mainly take customized orders, everyone is free to ask me whatever they want. I just forbid appropriation and skinny jeans.
A certain stylist has made you think that you can’t wear certain clothes according to your age, height, silhouette, genre and even your sexuality. Bullshit. Wear what you love, you are amazing when you wear what you love because you’re amazing when you’re happy. 
And if what you’d like to wear doesn’t exist yet, send a message to Flech Kann *wink*

As a Fashion student, you know that the Fashion Industry is an extremely polluting industry. Would you say that you’re committed to this cause ? 

Yes. But it’s quite difficult to apply it. When it comes to Flech Kann there’s a small fabric waste, so I try to keep all the fabric loss from each order to use it later. When it comes to me, I avoid overconsumption, I recycle old clothes or old fabrics in recycling bins.
To be honest, with what I’ve learned at school, I wonder if it truly has a utility but I still think it’s better to do something than nothing.
Sometimes I feel like an acomplice, I feel guilty that I chose this industry but I try to reassure myself by saying that we can’t defeat what we don’t know.

What’s your intake on Fashion ?

Ever since I created my own clothes, I buy less. Otherwise my sister and my friends (that take extremely good care of their clothes) give me what they don’t want or can’t wear anymore so I either keep them to wear them or I keep them for a project ; once I graduate, I’d like to create a sort of extension to Flech Kann where I could sell vintage clothes that I’d rework. It’s called upcycling but I feel like it’s a pretentious term so I’ll just say “vintage clothes”. If the clothes are ruined, I put them in recycling bins. My last purchases were two crop tops last September. They’re the only clothes I keep buying.

How do you imagine your brand in the future ?

I plan on stopping my studies and get a part-time job in September so I can get more time for Flech Kann. I want to build a website, do something really professional but still learn in some way, maybe try night lessons.
I gave myself 2 years to make it, so I’ll take my time, I’ll post more clothes like a series of unique pieces. My goal is not to create a franchise for my brand, but to have a small atelier in Martinique. 

Any advices for those who want to get in the Fashion industry  ? 

My first advice is : put your ego in your pocket but keep your dignity in order not to get walked on in any Fashion school. Your ego will be put to the test, you’l have to be kind to yourself.
If you tried but you didn’t like it, no problem, if you realised quite late that you wanted to do it then do it, no one is late, you have to go at your own pace.   
Finally I’d say that you have to be grateful, because the Fashion industry is full of ungrateful people. Gratitude brings opportunities. 

Thanks Emmanuelle for this interview ! Follow their work on their Instagram, and be on the lookout for when they make new orders !

Written by Elena Gaudé.