From Surplus to Serendipity

0 Posted by - January 30, 2013 - Menswear, Travel Desk

Here at The Department, we’ve been on a few Sorties to Paris recently. It’s not an easy place to ignore. (Have a look at some of our pictures.) And yet, like the beautiful, experienced creature that she is, the city does not give away her secrets easily. But for the confident and the curious, the rewards are glorious.

The Marais, with its mix of cultures, narrow streets, and fashion intensity can keep us occupied for weeks at a time. Not far from Rue du Temple we were warmly welcomed first by Yves Andrieux and later by Vincent Jalbert. The two are responsible for their quirky, creative, shop: Yves Andrieux-Vincent Jalbert.

linen1They take French Army surplus tents, duffel bags, boots, even parachutes and turn them into quirky and comfortable fashion. In the past, the French army spared no expense when it came to buying materiel for the troops. The fabric Yves and Vincent work with is of stunningly high quality. For women and men, they spin this pre-worn gold into hats, bags, vests, coats, belts, and even pillows.

The Yves Andrieux-Vincent Jalbert shop is really a design portal. They use their small location on Rue Charlot as a Paris base but they market to the world. Persistent pilgrims from America and Asia make their way to Yves and Vincents’ door. And in turn the pair ship worldwide and open pop-up stores in places such as Tokyo’s Aoyama.

linen2Along with the clothing comes a philosophy. This swords into plowshares operation believes in giving dead stock new life, in taking the stuff of war and making it beautiful, in taking the drab and making it joyous.

Sortie Suggestion: After visiting the shop, we enjoy lunch at any one of the many casual dining options available at Le Marche des Enfants Rouges. It’s right around the corner from Yves Andrieux-Vincent Jalbert. And, as you will note from the posted hours, Yves and Vincent take an hour each day for lunch as well.

A note on the music in the video. Our friend Mark at Obsolete Components composed and created the song. He was inspired by the story of re-using old French army surplus and making something new out of it. So he did the same with the music. He took some sounds we had recorded of sewing machines, filtered them through the equipment in his studio, and used them to create some of the percussion sounds in the song. He then used samples of various instruments and repurposed them, combining it all into a unique piece of French house music. It’s something Mark is an expert at doing. If you haven’t already, watch our story about him and his record label.

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