Meet The Designer | Louise Misha
Posted on October 14 2018
Louise Misha was one of the first designers which inspired me to start Sisi & Seb. I discovered the brand back in 2014 and quickly fell in love with the stunning dresses; beautiful prints, neon highlights and amazingly delicate lace details. I am super excited to share the story with you as my first interview for my blog series 'Meet the Designer.'
Please tell us a little about the concept behind Louise Misha, where was the idea born, what made you want to start?
Everything started 10 years ago, during an adventure across India. My friend Aurelie Remetter and myself, Marie Pidancet, fell in love with the country. In India, you have to be prepared for the unexpected, emotions are stronger and life is more intense. Nothing is easy, but nothing is impossible. It’s a real source of inspiration everywhere you turn: the corner of a street in Jaipur or Delhi, the details of flying saris, the smell of spices on the markets, the smiles of children ...
Aurelie and I decided to bring our inspirations together to create a line of ready-to-wear and accessories for young girls and create the brand Louise Misha. The name “Louise Misha” came up as a combination of our beloved grandmother’s names.
Life, family, love... today Aurélie moved on to follow new dreams, but Louise Misha continues to grow and evolve, I am so happy to guide the brand with the fabulous team which came together.
Left to Right - Marie (Founder) Audrey (Commercial Director) & Claire (General Director)
When did you actually start up and when did the first collection launch?
The first collection came out in November 2012. The brand grew quickly, both in France and abroad. In 2014, in response to a popular demand from mothers, we have launched our first limited collection for women, followed two years later by a full line in 2016. In 2017 we expanded the range to include baby clothing and accessories.
What is important for your collections each season, has the brand moved direction or changed in any way?
Each collection is an invitation to a new destination!
Travel is an obsession! I travel a lot and obviously, I am inspired by what I discover in the clothes that I draw. I have a great passion for local traditions, crafts and folklore. Fashion trends are, for me, often meaningless. When I start working on a new collection, I always want to tell a story, a journey. My collections are very personal and very intimate.
This season was inspired by and photographed in Poland
What are the essential things to you in the production of your garments?
Each piece has to be made with love, respect and quality. We select our partner based on their know-how, being on any country or continent, to ensure a high level of quality and care. Participating to the local development of each country in which it collaborates, we monitor the working conditions in all the factories and maintain a close relationship with them. Kindness is something central to me and the brand, and it guides each decision, choice, and action and in turn, each creation.
Do your designs change at all from the initial design to the production?
The trademark of Louise Misha will remain the little girl’s dress with embroideries and delicate laces.
But yes of course there is a lot of work and trial behind each piece, and it is always a great adventure to see it evolves from an idea to a real piece of clothing. With the whole design team here in Paris, we try on different fabric, different prints, different types of embroidery. We adapt the fit on one dress and change the color on another, it is a long trial process to obtain the perfect piece! I am lucky to have been working with very talented workshops, which have followed us from the beginning, which are as passionate as I am about the final product. During the creation process it is a constant back and forth between us!
Can you tell us a little about the lifecycle of your collections - how long does it take from inspiration, design and then production?
First, I think about the theme of the collection. I always get inspired from my travels. For example, last winter, I went to Guadeloupe, in the French Caribbean. When I came back to France, I immediately knew that I was going to draw a collection on the Caribbean theme. The vegetation, the fruits and the light of the island particularly inspired me!
Once the theme is established, I start the research together with the design team: cultures, colors, patterns, history etc .. the first sketches are taking shape.
Then I start sourcing the raw materials, I usually travel in India or Morocco, there are very nice markets of fabrics where I find a diversity of colors and patterns.
Once the sketches are finalised, we send the instructions to our workshops partners and they start producing the first samples. My team and I always go to visit the workshops to make sure everything in under control.
Once the first samples have been received we make the necessary modifications before putting them into production.
We attach a great importance to the feedback from our customers and work closely with our customer service to know more about what works and what doesn’t, and how we can improve a fabric, a fit, and the types of clothes they prefer. This allows us to improve the collections over the seasons.
Where are the fabrics and materials sourced from?
All the designs are made in our workshop in Paris by our teams and each garment is produced in limited quantity.
Clothes are made in India, Italy and China. Jewelry is handmade in Louise Misha workshop in Paris and an artisanal workshop in India. Socks and tights are made in France, and the baskets in Morocco. Fabrics are selected each season with lots of care in France, India and China.
We have been working since the beginning of our brand with a family workshop in China, run by a friend of mine. We are very close, and we are proud that they grow with us and are as passionate about the brand as us.
We don’t hide the origins of our products and we attach great importance to the choice of each material according to its composition (most of our clothes are 100% cotton but we also use linen, silk ...) We carefully select our partners based on their know-how, being on any country or continent, to ensure a high level of quality and care.
Can you tell us a little about where they are produced - the factory; who works there, how many people, conditions?
It is a bit different in each country of course! In China, we work with different workshops which each have a different specialty, like silk and embroidery. Our main workshop there is a family workshop run by a friend of mine. They are small workshops, usually on one floor and depending on the time of the year it can go up to 40 or 50 people.
In India, we also work with a family-run business, and are experts in hand-made details and cotton work. Workers are both men and women, and each of them have their specialty, from pattern-making to working with the embroidery and amazing block prints,
In Morocco, there is no factory as it is an artisanal process. Each artisan receives the material and produce it at their own pace at home. This enables people who live in smaller villages to work close to their family and carry on doing their craft.
How many people are in your company in total, what does your team consist of directly?
We are a small team that is growing each year! There is Claire, a childhood friend who is General Manager; Sarah and Louise which are on the design team and look at everything from the creation to the production, together with a product manager; Laurie, in charge of the eshop and communication, and also brings her great eye on photoshoot. And myself, Marie, designer and owner. Everyone is polyvalent and will participate in the Louise Misha spirit. There is a truly great atmosphere in the office, where most days there are only girls present. We are still growing and recruiting and are very much looking forward to have new additions to that team! In addition, we work very closely with our lovely agents which are our best ambassadors, and our workshops: we talk and chat daily about everything and anything.
What are your ecological/environmental ideals when it comes to production?
It is definitely a major issue today for the fashion industry. As Louise Misha is growing we are realizing our impact is growing as well and are looking for better solution when it comes to production. There is no easy path in place right now especially for smaller company like us, but it is something close to our heart. One of the big projects we have and aim to develop over the next years is to work with more eco-friendly packaging for transportation and stockage for example. Another one is to be able to source more eco-friendly material such as organic cotton and integrate it in the collection. We also like the fact our clothes re something little girls can grow into, it is not just something to keep for one season. A dress can be reused as a top once the little girl gets taller!
How many stockists do you have worldwide?
Today Louise Misha is carried by more than 400 retailers across the world, in addition to a bustling online shop. To see stockiest that have started to work with us from the beginning coming back every season and always looking forward seeing the new collection is a lovely feeling and a great show of trust!
What would you say to anyone that is buying your products, the end user?
We would say thank you! We hope the product can share a little bit of the story behind each piece and picture and you like it as much as we do. Each product is here to give a little bit of happiness, the twirl of a dress, the softness of a knit, the colors it brings to everyday life! And we would say do not hesitate to get in touch, we always love to hear from our customers.
Shop our favourites from this seasons Louise Misha collection. Below the 'Atilla' dress.