Les Hirondelles - The alliance of artisanry and fashion
A company born in a dynamic city
Known as the Venice of the Alps, Annecy is an extremely attractive city for international companies, focusing on sports, tourism, and the animated film industry. Famed for its natural beauty and its scenic lake, as well as its Savoyard architecture and its canals, Annecy is also a top tourist destination in eastern France.
It is in this dynamic location that Claire Chiquet, Claire Alvernhe and Clarisse Cazenave, founded the headquarters of their brand, « Les Hirondelles », which produces clothing using scraps from nearby factories, sewn by regional craftsmen workshops.
The idea for “Les Hirondelles” came from these three young women’s commitment to responsible consumption and production, and the lack of fashion brands that respect these ideals. « Les Hirondelles » aims to fulfill this role, producing their clothes locally, following ethical principles and using high quality fabrics.
Creating environmentally responsible fashion
After looking for local factories and artisans to partner with, they started producing their brand in September 2017. To select their partners, they followed an ethical criterium, but also the proximity of their partners: “Les Hirondelles” only work with partners within an 800 km radius around Annecy.
“Les Hirondelles” clothes are created using production scraps from local factories. After creating clothe designs that are adapted to these scraps, they call upon local artisans to sew them. Thus, weaving is done in Charlieu and Troyes, the finishing and knitting in Roanne, the leather goods are assembled in Annecy, and the spinning of wool is done in Biela in Italy.
Sales also follow this geographic approach, as “Hirondelles” products are only sold in France, Belgium, Andorra, Switzerland or Italy.
Since the creation of clothes depends on the availability of production scrapts, these products are created in limited series, which means that they are highly personalized.
The “Hirondelles”’ approach follows the company's motto "to make that fashions last for more than one spring". Standing opposite to the principles of fast fashion, which aims to produce new clothes in a fast pace to keep up with current trends, “Les Hirondelles” wants to createe clothes in a slower pace, but with a timeless quality.
As “Hirondelles” is still a young company, its future remains uncertain, and they must keep up with the challenge to sell enough products to stay afloat.
Nonetheless, whatever the future brings, they hope to contribute to a "snowball" effect that transforms clothing production practices. And to prove that it is possible to work within their regional market while respecting the environment.