Where the runway meets the street

L-R: Romain Bernardie James, Antoine Floch, Olivier Migda. (Photography: Mathieu Missiaen)

A new tradeshow hits Paris and New York this year in the form of MAN. Looking to bring something different to a crowded market and working on the basis of Quality before Quantity, a select line-up of brands includes Bleu de Chauffe, Kitsuné Tee, Steve Mono, Jojo Messenger and Fred Perry Laurel Wreath. A resident of the French capital, heading up the team is Antoine Floch who takes time out to tell us a little about his new venture, the Paris menswear scene and working with creative agency Les Imaginers.

Read the interview at the click.

What did you do before starting up MAN?

I started working 10 years ago in the fashion photography business as a producer and agent. I slowly moved to fashion events production and consulting. Before creating MAN last October, I was running Rendez Vous the fashion tradeshow in Paris and New York, which was part of the Surface to Air Group.

What inspired you to start a new Tradeshow?

It was a natural move after my position at Rendez-Vous that closed down a  few months ago. I think also that Paris needed a new show. Brands and buyers wanted a different way of working during men’s fashion week. I decided to travel to cities like London, Stockholm and New York to meet the brands I wanted to work with or that I’ve been friends with for years.

Why New York alongside Paris?

I lived in New York 8 years ago for 18 months and I have been in love with the city since then. New York is a good place for brands to show and again maybe it needed a new show that can help brands developing their business. Also, it’s easier to produce a show in NYC than in Paris so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make. I managed to create a small but solid network in the US when I was working for Surface to Air and I want to continue in the same way.

What’s the ethos behind MAN

I don’t think we can call MAN a tradeshow as we will have around 25 brands in each city, maybe the word “show” is more appropriate. We are trying to work with brands who all have their own strong identities. We want to keep it small for the upcoming seasons as it’s important for us to work closely with the brands and try to help them grow.

Tell us a little about the brands that will be showing in both cities? Are there any you are particularly excited about?

I think the brands lists in New York and Paris are very good and this for a first season. I’m very happy to have them all so I don’t want to talk about anyone instead of another!

How would you describe the menswear scene in Paris?

The Paris menswear scene is a bit difficult. Paris needs more men’s stores and to develop a real shopping experience. I’m working on it…more news soon,stay tuned!

Which stores would you recommend people to visit in the city?

The bookstore OFR is one of my favorites with their great selection of international magazines and books. La Grande Epicerie, the Bon Marche’s food store, is always an experience as their selection of goods is insane.

Can you tell us about the mountain imagery you used to introduce MAN?

The images used for the first season of MAN were taken by my dad in the late sixties, he was a guide among other things. He passed away 10 years so it’s kind of a homage to him. I they’re very “modern” and relevant for what is happening in men’s fashion in the past few years. But it is also a bit ironic as MAN won’t be about Americana or “Heritage” but Men’s fashion in general.

What role did The Imaginers play in organising the show?

The Imaginers have been doing projects for the likes of Renault, the Minister of French Culture, WAD… and Romain, one of the founders of The Imaginers, is also a photographer. I’ve been friends with Romain, Bernardie James and Olivier Migda for a few years now. When I decided to create MAN I knew I needed partners to help me on the project. It was to very natural to decide to do it with them as I really like their way of working and thinking, true people!

Where do you see menswear heading in the next year?

I think brands need to continue what they do, in the way they do it and try to keep their identity real. Not so sure if the whole “Heritage” thing will continue very long, but real craftmanship and clever collections with nice cuts and fabrics?  Yes, that’s hopefully here to stay.

Mountain images: Jean-Marie Floch

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