Stéphane Ashpool is a creator of his core. Stéphane comes from a Parisian family of artists (his mother was a professional dancer and his father an artist) and learned that community and creative expression go hand in hand. He also grew up with another form of expression, basketball, of which he still plays and gets inspired.
Many now know the story of Stéphane's Pigalle brand well. He named it after his neighborhood in Paris, but was equally influenced by the high and low culture from around the world. He started with T-shirts, but now has complete collections with tailored, fresh looks for men and women. Today, Pigalle has operations in Paris and Tokyo and works regularly with Nike, including projects such as the Insta-famous multicolored basketball court in Paris (opposite the independent Pigalle basketball business).
Of course, the Pigalle brand is much more than a fashion line. There are young, local creatives from various disciplines, many of whom are looked after directly by Stéphane and his cohort. Although Pigalle has won prestigious awards and has a worldwide following, Stéphane continues to push for new areas of cooperation. He said that he plans to build a production and incubation atelier, a "school of life", and eventually run for the mayor.
Stéphane made his mark on texture and color during Paris Fashion Week in the newly launched Jordan 23 Engineered collection. Jordan Brand used his knowledge throughout the week for several workshops and events, including a block party, design sessions, and custom products.
Here Stéphane talks about clothing, design and the connection to the global community.
Stéphane Ashpool in the workshop of the House of Jumpman in Paris
What did you learn about designing clothes in Pigalle's many years of development?
I've learned a lot about the many technical aspects and creative tools of clothing design. This combination allows me to apply my vision to a garment. I love it when extremes meet, be it in the form of high-end finishes or a sportier feel. I like to find the perfect balance of something modern.
"I always wanted Pigalle to be like a family bakery, not a supermarket."
What did you learn from the growth of the Pigalle brand through the opening of the Tokyo business and the expansion of the Pigalle family?
It's great, but it's a lot of work. Now that I know my limit, I would like to continue without enlarging the team too much. I always wanted Pigalle to be like a family bakery, not a supermarket. It feels great to work with friends and family.
For each collection, Pigalle has its own way of emphasizing color and texture, with style and restraint. What inspires you in choosing colors, materials and patterns?
Color and texture are things that come to mind spontaneously. It starts with a feeling, and then I associate it with the general idea that I want to achieve. It's a process that takes some time, but I have no precise rules. You just have to trust the flow and trust yourself. It is definitely one of my favorite pieces in making garments.
Stéphane Ashpool and Les Twins at the House of Jumpman Workshop in Paris
What inspires you to grow basketball culture in Paris, given your own role that enables children in and out of your neighborhood?
It is wonderful. We have developed a special love of basketball and lifestyle in Paris. It fits in well here. It feels like we have the mission to spread the love of basketball.
At Paris Fashion Week, you helped shape the new Jordan 23 Engineered collection and ran several workshops. What are your favorite pieces from 23 Engineered?
I would say the jackets, shorts, knit jersey and the general color palette. The collection is modern and suitable for indoor as well as outdoor use. They are great designs that blend well with other pieces.
What do you think are the most important elements of good lifestyle clothing, be it Pigalle or 23 Engineered Pieces?
Good lifestyle clothing should be comfortable, easy to wash and have large pockets. In addition, it should be something that you can wear open when it's hot or close when it starts to get cold or starts to rain. Jordan Brand manufactures this type of garment for public and off-market use. I am looking forward to seeing future garment from this direction.
The Jordan 23 Engineered collection will be available from July 2019 on Jordan.com and select retailers.