L’Envers: Behind the Brand
Interview by Devon Lach
Photography by L’envers
Julie Charvet Robinne, the founder of L’Envers, has a deep family history, interwoven with wool. The story goes back to 1820, when her great-great-great-great-great-grandfather founded a wool mill in northern France. After working in the fashion industry, in Paris and Madrid, Julie was beckoned back to her roots. She moved to a sleepy Spanish mountain village and founded her sustainable knitwear brand, L’Envers—intent on making fewer things in a better way.
Describe where you are sitting right now to write this interview.
I’m sitting in my office, inside our lovely home in the hills outside of Madrid, where I live with my husband and 3 children. Currently in the COVID situation our entire studio is working from home. We are 100% online, a true e-commerce business, with a small and dedicated team. It doesn’t matter if we are sitting right next to each other in an office, making a photoshoot, or each one working from home, we are always communicating!
Tell me about L’envers and the motivation for founding the brand.
In 2015, I realized the huge social and environmental impact of the textile industry and decided to launch my own fashion brand, taking a stand to promote sustainability, with a philosophy to fight against poor quality and fast fashion. I was keen to work at a local scale with artisans manufacturing our garments with great care, and use the most sustainable fabrics available: natural wool and organic cotton/fabric sourced exclusively with local partners in France and Spain.
L’Envers means the opposite, the reverse in French, “Faire les choses à l'envers”: Doing things in an opposite way, in a different manner. Offering an alternative to fast fashion is what we stand for.
I love the intention of buying fewer things made in a better way. How do you balance running a business while encouraging customers to buy less?
We don’t want people to purchase something they don’t need.
We defend the idea of individuality and offer pieces in limited edition, producing only what is strictly necessary. We produce small batches and order small amounts of fabrics.
Contrary to a pace of regular and seasonal launches with a limited lifespan—the antipodes of a fast fashion quickly produced, quickly consumed, quickly forgotten—L’Envers’ ethos lies in the offer of simple and sustainable pieces knitted in small editions.
Our goal is to create sustainable pieces that you will wear for many years. We don’t want to take part in this incessant rhythm of discounts that causes people to find quality products too expensive..
How do you find the local Spanish artisans you work with?
I spent many hours/days looking for the right partners—browsing online, talking with people from the sector, visiting fairs—until I found our current ateliers. I have strong relationships with each artisan and visit them often.
L’envers uses organic cotton and natural wool. How do those materials play into the design process?
We always start with the yarn, it is the main character of our collection and influences the whole design process. All our materials are carefully selected from our mills in France and Spain, which allows us to control
the manufacturing conditions of our yarns, to guarantee the quality of non toxic-materials dangerous to your health and the environment.
What does timeless fashion mean to you?
Timeless fashion, for me, are seasonless pieces. Clothing that you can wear all year long (weather permitting) and year, after year. The timeless editions we offer are meant to stand the test of time and outlive fast fads and seasonal trends.
How do you keep customers interested without catering to fashion trends or seasons?
Our community tends to be conscious shoppers who are in line with our values of proximity, transparency and authenticity. We have really received a lot of support for what we do and how we do it.
What’s your favorite L’envers piece?
The Charlotte Cardigan!
What’s next for L’envers?
I want to keep growing the brand, but keep it on a human scale. We are always improving our sustainable standards and keep in mind our planet and artisans in everything we do.
Check out L’envers full collection here.