Interview : Flora Chabaud, Cem Cinar and Nathanaël Lafitte

At the Designers' Apartment exhibition held in Crossing the Salon Designers Apartment, held in workshops in Richelieu, we came across some of our alumni. Among them were, Flora Chabaud (promo 2012), Cem Cinar (promo 2012) and Nathaniel Lafitte (promo 2014) and all three of them are working for the brand Y PROJECT. It was the perfect occasion to conduct  a joint interview surrounding their eclectic journeys fathered around a common project universe.


In which direction did you see yourself going before ESMOD? Have you always had a keen interest in fashion?

Flora Chabaud: For my part, I had a BAC L and absolutely no intention of working in fashion. After a conversation with my sister, I decided to go down this path and study fashion on a whim!
Cem Cinar: I had already studied for a year at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts Arnhem (where Iris Van Herpen studied) when I decided to continue my training in France so I turned to ESMOD.
Nathaniel Lafitte: After receiving my diploma, I spent one year at ESAG Penninghen. My interest in fashion sparked quite late but I think its always been somewhere in me.

How was your experience at ESMOD? What are your best and worst memories?

FC: I was rather introverted as a student but I think I came out of my shell in modélisme which I really enjoyed. I was a little behind in stylisme. Ironically, my best memories are those of chaos, rush and sleepless nights in order to finish a project. I really liked the challenge. I have fond memories of the time I spent at Balmain, it was a great experience.
CC: I had three superb years. Personally, I preferred stylisme to modélisme and I spent some time working at Rick Owens during my studies. It is a huge advantage having class for half-days; it leaves us free time to have these professional experiences.
NL: Well I liked both modélisme and stylisme! Because I only had half-days, my classes were in the mornings and that was hard (laughs). However, I was really excelling in my personal work.

What are ESMOD's strengths in your opinion?

FC: The relationships ESMOD has with professionals are very helpful. There are a lot of opportunities to be dressers for parades, mandatory internships etc.
CC: ESMOD pushes you to become independent very quickly which is very important in this field of work because if you are not able to take initiative, you will not go far in the business.
NL: I agree, but I would add that a strength is the chance to work in a unique setting with an energising atmosphere.

How did you find the transition from ESMOD to the working world?

FC: Thanks to my strong connection with Balmain from my second and third years, I was able to find a job in product development with Y Project.
CC: After my experiences at Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh in my second and third years, I started working more in art and even had an exhibition in Paris. Then thanks to a contact at Rick Owens, I was able to join Y Project as a commercial director.
NL: I met Cem during the selection at the end of the year. He offered me the job of sales assistant for the brand. At first, I was a little hesitant but for my first experience, it seemed quite rewarding, so I agreed. I have not forgotten about creating my own brand, I have plenty of time to think about that.

A quick look into your personal universe/your inspirations...

FC: I love old things, the idea of something that transcends time: eternal clothing. I love to go to flea markets to find many things that inspire me. As for designers, I like the unisex fashion of Rad Hourani and especially his use of leather.
CC: My world is quite dark- no wonder I have enjoyed working with Rick Owens. I like leather, tough materials, rigid tissue. The American artist Banks Violette inspires me a lot as they are constantly adjusting materials, working with deconstruction and contrasts.
NL: My world is more casual: hip hop culture, basketball, etc. My style is the mix of bourgeois and bad boy but I think what inspires me the most is music.

Finally, can you give us a look into the universe of Y Project?

CC: Y Project is a brand that was born five years ago thanks to Yohan Serfaty. The designer was trying to invent, almost for himself, a cloakroom that would hide his body, rejected through strict lines and structures. The materials he chose were all natural: cotton, wool, leather, etc and they each received different treatments that created unique effects.
After the creators death, his first assistant, Glenn Martins took over the brand seeking to bring a boost of youth and life while still sticking to the same principals of the former creator. The clothing is more comfortable and the technical skill has developed bringing new disciplines into the collections. The brand is already included in Men's Fashion Week and is recently open to women.
Cem, Flora et Nathanaël sur le stand Y Project, au salon Designers appartment

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