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Meet Pia Lepoutre

Conscious French designer and founder of the brand Del Carmen

Meet Pia Lepoutre - illustration 1

 Portrait of Pia Lepoutre wearing one of her creations in collaboration with brand Ganni

Pia Lepoutre created the upcycled clothing brand Del Carmen in 2018. Based in Paris, the young designer strives to promote ethical and responsible fashion through her creations, which she considers proper works of art. Lepoutre successfully blends tradition into modernity; she uses Sashiko, an ancestral Japanese embroidery technique, and decorative patchwork in her unique designs. This interview will convince you of one thing: nothing is lost, but everything is transformed!

1. Hello Pia! You're an entrepreneur and founded Del Carmen, your clothing brand, in 2018. How did you come up with this idea? And which women designers inspire you?

I've always wanted to create my own clothing brand to be able to express myself fully through my creations - it's very cliché but in high school I was already sketching ready-to-wear clothes! I'm not inspired by particular women designers, but by colors, materials, paintings... basically by everything that surrounds me in general.

2. Through your brand, you promote conscious, ethical and responsible consumption. What is your point of view on the current textile industry and its impact on the environment?

This is such a big subject... I'm appalled by its ecological impact, but also and especially by its human impact. We tend to forget what we can call modern slavery, but it's well and truly present behind these big names of fast fashion. This is why I feel like an actress of change, on a small scale of course, but I think it's necessary to have a mission when our convictions are well anchored. My mission today is to try to make things happen in this industry. To make waste look sexy by creating unique and timeless pieces, to show that we just have to reuse the old to make new; nothing is lost, but everything is transformed.

Meet Pia Lepoutre - illustration 1
Meet Pia Lepoutre - illustration 1

  On the Left: Close up on a fabric mixing Sashiko and patchwork. On the Right: A portrait of Pia Lepoutre in her studio.

3. The denim pieces you create are the result of the incredible marriage of patchwork and Sashiko, an ancestral Japanese embroidery technique. Why did you choose this original combination? According to you, is it important to understand the past in order to innovate?

Decorative and artistic patchwork is very recent, but initially the birth of patchwork is similar to that of Sashiko. The first one allowed people to make inexpensive clothes with recycled fabrics, and the second one allowed people to patch their clothes themselves, if they couldn't afford to have them tailored. These are two popular and artisanal techniques that have become modern art today. It's very important for me to understand the past in order to innovate, not only in the field of fashion or art more widely, but in all fields. Indeed, knowing the past allows us to reclaim our own history by improving or modifying actions, techniques, processes... Understanding the past leaves room for evolution.

4. Del Carmen is strongly influenced by urban culture, while advocating an ancient and artisanal know-how... If you could travel in time, which period of art history would you choose to discover?

That's a very good question! It's hard to answer, but I think I would dive into the 18th century, in the Classicism and Baroque period. I love painting and I'm always impressed by the talents of this era. I would then transport myself to the 19th century, to meet Van Gogh and Monet!

Meet Pia Lepoutre - illustration 1
Meet Pia Lepoutre - illustration 1

On the Left: André Derain, “Arlequin et Pierrot," 1924. On the Right: A beach in El Salvador, Pia Lepoutre's home country.

5. Your creations are unique pieces, as are works of art. Why this choice? Can you tell us more about the place that art takes in your life?

Precisely because I consider my creations as works of art! I love art in all its forms, and I am especially sensitive to colors. I like paintings or photographs that transport me and make me travel. I like to put myself in the artist's shoes: what did they want to transmit? How did they come up with their work? I have as many questions as I do emotions, that's why, for me, art is essential in our lives. It allows us to escape, to dream but also and above all, to understand humanity and its history.

6. You recently collaborated with Ganni, a very fashionable responsible clothing brand. Do you have any other event projects in the works?

Yes I have other projects, I like to be stimulated and in constant motion! Designing my own collections and collaborating with brands are two different things but they both contribute to my personal, artistic and financial balance.

7. Finally, what is the place that inspires you the most in the world?

I think the place that inspires me the most in the world is El Salvador, my home country. Going there allows me to recharge, to go back to my roots, to free myself... It gives me such strength that my mind frees itself from its creative or emotional barriers.

Their favourite artworks

Our recommendations Sean MacLeod, Miao Girls, Photography

Sean MacLeod

Miao Girls, 2002
39.4 x 39.4 x 0.4 inch


Kalus, De face, Painting


De face, 2012
23.6 x 28.7 x 1.2 inch


Hamid Sardar, Young falcon, Deloun Highlands, Olgii Province - Mongolia, Photography

Hamid Sardar

Young falcon, Deloun Highlands, Olgii Province - Mongolia, 2010
16.5 x 23.4 x 1.2 inch


Our recommendations Malick Sidibé, Bamako années 60 - 70, Photography

Malick Sidibé

Bamako années 60 - 70, 1970
11.8 x 9.4 inch


Serghei Ghetiu, The ballet angels, preparing for flying, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

The ballet angels, preparing for flying, 2021
31.5 x 25.6 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Carlos Pericás, Papi's long wait, Izmir, Photography

Carlos Pericás

Papi's long wait, Izmir, 2015
7.1 x 5.1 inch


Our recommendations Olivier Philippe, Calm Morning, Painting

Olivier Philippe

Calm Morning, 2022
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Lisa Ford, After the Storm, Sunset Beach , CA, Painting

Lisa Ford

After the Storm, Sunset Beach , CA, 2020
16 x 20 inch


Our recommendations Jean-Jacques Venturini, Plage du Crouton 1, Painting

Jean-Jacques Venturini

Plage du Crouton 1, 2022
31.9 x 39.4 x 1.2 inch


Meskar, L’eau de là, Painting


L’eau de là, 2022
31.5 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations François Foucras, The lonely place, Painting

François Foucras

The lonely place, 2022
31.5 x 31.5 x 1.6 inch


Barbara Hubert, Against the sun, Painting

Barbara Hubert

Against the sun, 2021
39.4 x 47.2 x 1.2 inch


Our recommendations Serghei Ghetiu, An usual day in Tibet, Painting

Serghei Ghetiu

An usual day in Tibet, 2022
25.6 x 31.5 x 0.8 inch


Marie-Thérèse Chanel, Cambodge - Série Paysage de Rizière, Painting

Marie-Thérèse Chanel

Cambodge - Série Paysage de Rizière, 2017
24 x 28.7 x 0.8 inch


Our recommendations Maxwell Boadi, Yellow Lines, Painting

Maxwell Boadi

Yellow Lines, 2018
35 x 45 inch