Rising brand Nobless Couture should definitely be on your radar as one to watch and one to wear. For their latest FW21 collection, they’ve incorporated the skill, beauty and intricacy of Japanese design and textiles, for modern fits. We caught up with the creative duo behind the brand, Franck Richard and Anthony Calydon – to discuss their brand stories, and how their own journeys aligned to create the fashion synergy that is Nobless Couture since 2018.
It’s true that personal roots and culture always give an advantageous edge in fashion. It’s something that can’t be replicated or faked. After all, we are the sum of our upbringing and experiences. The same can be said for the boys at Nobless. Culture is principal in all they do. Both Anthony and Franck make sure to take inspiration from their roots when it comes to their design. Franck’s derives from colourful and vibrant expression in his culture from DR Congo, and for Anthony it’s the tranquil (but festive) islands of the Caribbean.
Franck: “As far back as I can remember I’ve always been sensitive to colours and atmospheres. To the emotions they can transmit. I’m a fan of American hip-hop from the 90’s, and I discovered cinema by watching Spike Lee’s films. This film director has always fascinated me […] his ability to propose a hip hop vision of the cinema. The daily life of New York’s black ghettos, filmed in colour and with a particular atmosphere. Cinema – anchored in hip hop culture, with the sounds of Public Enemy as a rhythm, inspires me a lot. And the first time I went to Kinshasa – the capital of Congo, my home country – I felt the same energy.”
Franck graduated in literature and journalism. He’s had stints in photography, styling, journalism, public relations and as a celebrity agent. Over the last 15 years, Franck Richard has become a master of editorial fashion, communications and artistic direction.
Meanwhile, Anthony was introduced to sewing at an early age by his mother, a jewelry designer. Since 2013, he’s been designing his own clothes, made entirely by hand. After studying at ESMOD school he presented his first collection Fall/Winter 2016, which he sells via Instagram.
Anthony: My mother is a former jeweller who made all her creations by hand. It was a real passion for her. I often spent time looking at her technique and precision. This is what gave me the desire to create. Besides that, since my younger years, I’ve watched Japanese anime. I’m very inspired by this culture.”
It’s clear that both look out to other cultures to get inspired – not just their own. Their great admiration for Japanese culture, and a shared love for “the golden age of American hip-hop”, rings through the brand.
The designs themselves show off their skills. Scan through their latest designs and you’ll see premium quality denim sets, streamlined structures and tailoring, and unique seam finishes and linings. The pocket stitching: impeccable. The textures – from the embossed silk to the ribbing of parts of their sweaters and pants. It’s a masterclass on how to source and use materials well. “All our clothes are entirely handmade in their studio in Paris”, which is also where they met at a shoot in 2015. They both bonded over their similar vision for fashion, same vision of fashion, the same love of the garment, and of the beautiful materials.
“[We] use sustainable materials exclusively from France and Japan”. Without a doubt, the brand’s voice is an international one. The best of all worlds. The clothes fit right in with the Japanese setting in the images, and matches the innovative style and fits of East Asian culture. Don’t be surprised if you see a K-drama or K-pop style icon rocking a Nobless Couture piece!
“For this collection we used a lot of silk fabric including satin duchess we superposed as dinosaur scales for pants and jackets. We also used a bicolor fabric crafted with Sakiori. It’s a famous sustainable Japanese technique that consists of weaving old cotton material to make something new. We’re very involved in every step of the garment manufacturing.”
Teamwork really does make the dreamwork. There’s nothing better than to be working with a friend as passionate as you are. We asked about their day-to-day creative process, and who does what.
Franck: “We’re both co-creative directors of the brand with our own specific roles. I manage the brand’s global strategy, the artistic direction and the communications. Anthony manages the design of the clothes. But we’re multi-faceted. When we do collaborations with other brands, we work together on the creative direction of the project and on the design of the products. Each of us brings his own artistic sensibility to the other and we mix them to create our own universe. Franck can for exemple design a bag, and Anthony can conceive a digital strategy for a product”.
After learning more about their design approach, it’s clear to see that their design approach is genuinely about inclusivity. Their eclectic backgrounds make for a perfect mix that leaves nobody out.
“Our philosophy is to create an affordable couture clothing brand in which all people who love fashion are welcome. We’d like to offer to our customers sustainable creations that exceed their expectations in terms of quality”.
Be sure to check out the pair’s FW21 collection, even recently worn by Forest Whitaker on the Late Late show!