François Girbaud

Marithe Bachellerie and Francois Girbaud met in the mid 60’s and established an exchange of ideas that resulted in a true complicity of vision. 40 years of collaboration between two designers who joined technology and creativity. They brought a new approach to fashion more popular and more industrial, starting with the work garment. Leaders of different movements, they have an influence on the textile market : « cow boy » phenomenon in the 60’s, sportswear in the men collections in the 70’s, leaders in the fabrics researches in the 80’s, visionnaries in the 90’s with Metamorphojean (first engineered jeans) and the SPQRCITY concept to reach the 2000’s with a new elegance, a modern « couture », a casual chic. After the invention of the Stonewash, they treat the jeans with laser (Wattwash™) and Ozone (G2 process) who join in an approach « eco-friendly ». 

Αn history full of interactive elegance and inspiration. 

A product in a constant state of evolution.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

We are trying to attract attention to our campaigns and crusades against practices within the industry which are detrimental to mankind as well as the environment and at the same time we are working to promote the use of the new ecologically sound alternatives we’ve developed. The profession is beginning to see the light, but there is still much work to be done to raise consciousness of the ethical and social responsibility designers, manufacturers and consumers have today. BUYING A JEAN IS ALSO A POLITICAL ACT – IT’S TIME TO INVENT A NEW TOMORROW. Our blog gives details of the campaigns we’ve been involved in, the various worldwide conferences and trade shows we have participated in as well as the demonstrations and presentations we’ve given.

WHERE DO YOU SEE DENIM GOING NEXT?

Shaken by the inevitable disasters, the earth is crying out to us to change our ways. The world trembled for a moment with the catastrophe of Fukushima and it has made us understand that we all share the same sea and the same atmosphere. We cannot forget about these facts until the next ecological disaster comes along. Fortunately, awareness is high among young consumers who are more conscious of the need for transparency with each product.We will continue to showcase the new technologies developed for our industry. We have innovated yet another new technique, the WATT WASH ™ and we insist that we are copied, as we were back then with the STONE WASH! This time, however, we’re very aware of our role as leaders within the industry – the antithesis of 40 years ago - and we know that this time it’s for the good of the planet and all future generations… Still in jeans.

WHAT CAN BE TAKEN FROM THE PAST?

We became REBELS by creating an industrial Stone Wash. We’d tried everything to produce an artificially worn effect on the jean and found that stones and water worked, what could be more natural? In the ‘70s 'and ‘80s we were, however, ignorant of the consequences and of the damage to the environment this would cause.Jeans represented freedom and liberty, so we followed socio-cultural trends to treat denim in every imaginable outrageous way, but little did we know that we had innocently started an inexorable process of destruction and that the symbol of rebellion in ‘69-‘70 would become a CRIMINAL act. We invented an industrialised Stone Wash, which no one else had ever done, but with it we also created a trade and an industry that polluted every river on the planet.At the end of the ‘80s they wanted me to use permanganates to burn jeans. In ’89 I saw the BERLIN WALL fall, with hordes of communists who thought that jeans were supposed to have that shameful color. Intoxication guaranteed. It really shook us up and we reacted by working on shapes, sculpting the raw material.In 1988 our main american partner was the V.F corp. group. I said "the jean is dead, long live metamorphojean", thinking this comment would, at most, provoke an ironic smile, but then I found out that they wanted me to apologise. I had offended the huge machine, I had overstepped the limits of the politically correct, but I refused to use the snow wash like everyone else. I felt that we had contributed to a huge mistake and I didn’t want to make jeans like that anymore. My refusal of huge financial deals was a rebellious act and I was perceived, yet again, as a rebel. This was, rather, my environmental awakening. From then on the road toward 21st century techniques opened up to us and we began the long process of research and subsequently started to conduct the first tests with and towards light. Unwittingly consuming water and energy as well as using chemicals and techniques which are dangerous for mankind and the environment is a practice which belongs in the past. We cannot continue to waste water, which is going to become a very rare resource, or risk the health and lives of insufficiently protected workers who end up in hospital after inhaling harmful chemical products, such as potassium permanganates, used to accentuate the aging process, or worse still, are condemned to death by the sandblasting process which causes the incurable disease of silicosis.

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