A.P.C. The story behind the silent rebels of the fashion industry
A.P.C. was founded in 1987 by Jean Touitou in Paris. Touitou decided not to name the brand after himself because, he likes the idea of a community more than that of just one hero. Therefore, he decided to name the brand ‘Atelier de Production et Creation’ which roughly translates to ‘Workshop of Production and Creation’. He chose this name because without production, creation only stays within the mind, and without creation, the products would have no soul.
Touitou founded A.P.C. as a statement against the flashy and over-the-top fashion scene that prevailed in the '80s. In his mind perfecting unostentatious clothing is true fashion. This ideal is perfectly embodied in his very first collection. At this time, he had not thought of a brand name yet and branded his first collection with a simple tag ‘Hiver 87’, the name of that season. The collection consisted of simple wardrobe staples which were executed to perfection. Till this day A.P.C. has been cultivating this ‘Parisienne cool’ style. A style which they helped to create.
Tenue de Nîmes founder, Menno van Meurs, first came in touch with A.P.C. on a trip to New York City in 2006. His first A.P.C. item was a pair of jeans named ‘New Cure’ in rigid, his very first pair of unwashed jeans. He remembers cursing the employee for recommending buying the jeans in a smaller size. But after two weeks he was in love and he wore those jeans as if they were a second skin.
Once Tenue de Nîmes was founded, he knew that he needed to have A.P.C. in the store. A.P.C., was the perfect match for the fashion scene in the Netherlands, especially Amsterdam. Clothing that wasn’t over the top and could be worn to the office but could also be worn casually. A.P.C. made high-quality pieces that enabled someone to look sharp whilst only wearing simple clothes. This is what resonated with the Dutch 'sober' mentality. From 2010 till this day Tenue de Nîmes has proudly stocked A.P.C. Jean Touitou even hand-painted several jeans for Tenue de Nîmes' 10th anniversary!
As aforementioned A.P.C. started as a statement against the extravagant fashion of the '80s. Yet this statement may stand out stronger now more than ever in a fashion scene which seems to be dominated by trends and almost weekly seasons.
Touitou stated in an interview with Vogue that he deems trends as meaningless. He would much rather spend years designing the perfect trench coat than design a flashy piece for social media popularity.
Yet how does a brand stay relevant for so long and without taking part in these trends? Consistency is one of course. A.P.C. always release clothing with the same ideal — timeless and understated. Also, the fact that A.P.C. has been a frontrunner of 'fashion-politics' that nowadays revolve around creating fashion sustainably and fairly. Efforts that brands are starting to make now, A.P.C. has been doing since the '90s. What seems more important though, is the fact that the clothes come from a very genuine place. Touitou and his wife Judith said in an interview with the Financial Times that they only make clothes that they would wear themselves. They set out to make clothing that complements one’s character instead of taking it over.
Another way that A.P.C. stays relevant is through their collaborative efforts which they call ‘interactions’. So far A.P.C. has collaborated with the likes of BrainDead, Carhartt, Kid Cudi, Kanye West and a few more. These ‘interactions’ come from a very genuine place. Not just slapping both brands names on a shirt and calling it a day. They set out to really have an intimate collaboration with other people and brands. Without this real connection and intimacy, a collaboration wouldn’t make sense to Touitou.
We hope more fashion brands will take an example from A.P.C. Longevity is only for the ones that make genuine products and have a strong clear philosophy. A.P.C. is proof of that. As mister Touitou stated in an interview at the Oxford University:
“The magic of business is when you don't show you're selling something. You just do your thing, you believe in it, you put it there and you wait and see."
Check the full A.P.C. Spring/Summer '20 collection HERE
Words by Thomas Hibbert