Each year, we work with a number of influencers, who are our brand ambassadors. We first came across Anaïk Lefebvre, a designer of limited-edition women’s clothing, via her Instagram account @unesourisdansmondressing in 2018. We were only just starting out at Escadrille, but Anaïk had faith in us. She has an eye for the latest trends and new designers and we were lucky enough to be featured in her selection.
It’s now 2021 and we’re delighted that our partnership is still alive today. At Escadrille, we love her looks, humor and most of all her authenticity. So we wanted to dive a bit deeper and learn more about her career and her life as an influencer and designer.
READ THE INTERVIEW BELOW!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Nearly nine years. In 2012, a friend of mine told me that I needed more than just a blog for my brand communications and that I should reinvent myself.
HOW DID YOU START OUT? YOUR BLOG, DEVELOPING YOUR WEBSITE, ETC.?
I created my blog in 2009 after another friend told me what a shame it was that I hid my light under a bushel. At the time I was on parental leave and was feeling quite isolated. I needed some kind of social recognition, so it came along at just the right time. My blog was what helped me realize that I love to write!
Spurred on by positive feedback on my designs, I launched my online store the next year. It started out really small as I wanted to do things slowly, step by step. I was so terrified of taking a leap into the unknown.
WHEN DID YOU MAKE THE MOVE TO INSTAGRAM?
For a few years after creating my Instagram, I carried on posting some more “substantial” articles on my blog. But I gradually stopped wanting to do that as at the time Instagram was a more intuitive and sociable tool. I liked the proximity it gave me compared to my blog and I thought it was less time-consuming – although that’s no longer the case.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR US?
Take your time and pace yourself. Stay genuine and authentic, but try to look after yourself. It’s sometimes a tricky balance to strike.
DOES INSTAGRAM NOT EAT INTO YOUR DESIGNING AND COUTURE WORK?
Instagram is an incredibly time-consuming tool. I’m actually looking for solutions to optimize the time I spend on it so I can have more time for designing and for my family, who don’t always appreciate how busy I am with my other commitments.
I love sharing, writing and talking with others and I am so lucky to have a really kind and friendly community that means so much to me as a person. Unfortunately, it just eats into my everyday life, I have to learn to set boundaries.
DO YOU HANDLE EVERYTHING YOURSELF?
I handle all aspects of my business myself: from sourcing the fabrics, to pattern making, to creating several prototypes and commercializing the models. Not to mention all the logistics (preparing and sending orders), managing exchanges and returns, updating my online store (creating product pages and writing articles to present new pieces), the accounting and of course all the communications (newsletters, Instagram posts, most of the photos, etc.)
I only subcontract the small-scale production and recently I’ve been working with the workshop’s pattern-maker, who has been helping me with making patterns from my ideas.
SO YOU HAVE MANAGED TO COMBINE YOUR TWO PASSIONS: COUTURE AND COMMUNICATION?
Before I started out, I thought they were two completely separate worlds. I only ever saw couture as a hobby and never as a potential career!
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FASHION?
My relationship with fashion is currently changing, I can see that I’m consuming far less fast fashion. I’m still curious about the latest trends, but I’ve stopped rushing in headlong without asking myself if I actually like it.
IS IT SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE ALWAYS LOVED?
Before I started my blog, I wasn’t really interested in fashion. I had so much on my plate with three young children and the never-ending works on our house that fashion honestly wasn’t a priority for me. If I had to choose between buying a sweater or a pot of paint, it was an easy decision.
WHAT IS THE KEY PIECE IN YOUR CLOSET?
A great blazer. I’ve actually got quite a few of them and they’re not necessarily very expensive pieces. I try to pay attention to the material and choose plain colors so they are easy to wear with anything. When I slip on a blazer, I feel more powerful. It’s my suit of armor!
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE BRANDS THAT YOU WORK FOR?
First of all, I need to feel a real affinity with the products, that they speak to me in some way. They also need to be consistent with what I share on social media, my community must feel that I’ve made a sincere choice.
Then I need there to be mutual trust between me and the brand, and, if possible, to be in direct contact with the designer.
Lastly, I want to be able to keep my own tone and use my discretion when speaking about a brand or product.
I can’t deal with being given strict instructions with all kinds of tags and hashtags to add.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT FASHION AND THE ENVIRONMENT? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS?
My generation grew up with industrialization, so thinking about the environment doesn’t come naturally to me. My children have made me more aware of it, I’m learning through them. So Faustine, my 18-year-old, will always take me to task if she sees me being tempted by fast fashion.
Even so, I think that you shouldn’t be too radical with your choices. No one is beyond reproach and every little helps.
WHAT IS YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE LIKE?
Complicated! As I work from home (in a small outbuilding in my garden), I soon started to go back to the “office” late in the evening or the weekend, and I often answer questions on Instagram every day of the week. But there’s one thing in particular that I’m proud of: for the last few months, I’ve been turning my phone off at 9pm every day – it’s amazing!
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ESCADRILLE?
Escadrille is an inspiring, small-scale venture so of course I admire it. I’ve also loved building a relationship with its designer and strengthening our ties over time. And of course I love the products too, which go so well with mine. You can’t have a blouse or a dress without a pretty pair of sandals! As my feet tend to complain a lot, comfort is also very important to me. Escadrille offers the best of both worlds: beautiful, modern designs (that I wear year after year) that are comfortable.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, DO YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR MANTRA OR BELIEF THAT DEFINES YOU?
Don’t dwell on failures, you always learn from your mistakes (even if it hurts at the time).
Thank you for letting us interview you, Anaïk!