From Abidjan to Paris: FOU Clothing

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From Abidjan to Paris: FOU Clothing

“Without wisdom, without reason, without prudence.” Words that strike the reader in the context of an over-monetised fashion industry, where fashion houses change direction according to financial results and young brands closely monitor their funding before launching. These words are FOU’s baseline. FOU was love at first sight – a impulsive decision to go on a fashion adventure following the discovery of a colourful and highly evocative material: wax fabric. At the beginning of 2016, Florent is in Abidjan, his friend Léa comes to visit him. The duo instantly falls  for the typically African fabric and its rich patterns. Together, they decide to launch FOU, a spontaneous and irreverent fashion line, with an open-air fashion show in the streets of Paris. We naturally wanted to meet them to hear all about it. 

Tell us about your trip to Côte d’Ivoire. What drew you to wax fabric? 

Florent : The trip was an escapade, as we quickly left Abidjan to go to the countryside in Man, the region of the eighteen sacred mountains. I already knew about wax, and introduced Léa to it during the trip. What we like about the fabric is how unique the designs are, as well as the vivid colours.

Léa : I hadn’t planned the trip at all – I booked a flight to meet up with Florent on a whim, the day before New Year’s. I was propelled in Abidjan at a moment where I needed to build something new. The style and the warmth of the locals strengthened our will to bring our two artistic worlds together. Florent showed me the fabric, I drew the clothes, and the project was launched.


Who does what at FOU?

There are no pre-assigned roles. We let each other’s strengths naturally come through, and do everything together.

How did you find the name of the brand? (“fou” means crazy in French)

FOU is strong! It came to us when we started to work on the collection. It’s linked to our way of creating and imagining things, it’s like a crazy whirlwind. Let’s just say we found it catchy, and that it represents our general way of life quite well.


You launched the brand with a spontaneous fashion show in Paris, outside of the usual fashion calendars. Why? Do you think Parisian fashion needs to be shaken up a bit? 

We thought it suited us well – something light, summery, festive, where people can have fun. We wanted it to be in the streets, cool and accessible to all. We’re not trying to revolutionise Parisian fashion, it’s just our way of seing things, in harmony with our first collection.

Paris is changing – there are more and more young people launching their own business.  Do you feel like you’re part of a new wave of creatives?

You could say that. It’s true that things have been changing for a while in Paris. People have often criticised the lack of movement in the last couple of years, but a lot of DIY projects are being developed nowadays. Which is a good thing. You need to be able to adapt, to wear different hats. What’s great is that you learn a lot, and it allows you to work with your friends, because everyone has their own skills and we all help each other.

Léa & Florent

Léa & Florent

What do you wish for FOU in the future?

We’d like to work on other collections, collaborate with people, and continue developing our brand image. We’d love to find our own space, with our own photo studio where we could shoot the FOU collections but also other brands. Our ultimate goal is to represent a modern and non-conformist community.