An interview with Julie Bérubé
R: What is the name of your collection or last collection?
Bérubé: I don’t normally give names to my collections… I don’t know why! Maybe I will give the next one a name.
R: When did you graduate?
Bérubé: In 2000.
R: Are you working on a new collection?
Bérubé: Yes, S/S 08. I find it harder to work on a summer collection, I’m from Canada so winter stuff comes a lot easier to me! But I believe that working in season is less and less relevant somehow…
R: Where are you from?
Bérubé: From Montreal, Canada.
R: Are there any family members that inspired your work? An Aunty that sews etc?
Bérubé: I was born in the 70’s and my mom was into the back to earth movement. She did everything from scratch including sewing our clothes. So I’ve learned to sew when I was even too young to remember. One of my aunty’s did study fashion before me, she even completed fashion studies in Paris but never worked in the industry. And my dad’s mother was always dressed to the nines. I remember she had a black monkey fur hat which is the chicest thing I’ve ever seen. (it’s so un-PC!!) she was always wearing brooches on perfectly pressed silk blouses. She was far from being rich but she took really good care of her clothes.
R: Have you always wanted to have a fashion label?
Bérubé: Yes, I knew when I was studying that I wouldn’t be able to work for anyone else. I have problems with authority!
R: Has being a mother influenced or changes your work?
Bérubé: Not my creativity but the way I approach the business side of it. I’m much more focused because this business needs to work for my family. It’s not just about me having fun designing anymore.
R: What is your signature? Is there a specific fabric or print that you are known to use? Or a detail?
Bérubé: I’ve been addicted to pleats for a while! I love to work with big wooly felts for winter coats. I also love to play with leather.
R: What are some of your favourite colours, patterns, weights of material to work with?
Bérubé: I’m really into black and grey and the moment. Boring as it may sounds, I don’t fancy colours anymore. I love fabrics who move and drapes or are quite heavy. I love working with volume.
R: Who are your favorite designers that you look to for inspiration?
Bérubé: I’m quite inspired by Claire McCardell at the moment, there is a very modern feel to her designs. Balenciaga (Cristobal) is someone whose work I always go back to and Coco Chanel for her attitude and use of menswear fabrics into womenswear.
R: What outside aspects inspire your designs?
Bérubé: Everything, clouds, houses, holes in the pavement, food I cook.
R: What were some of the struggles you had to overcome when beginning the label?
Bérubé: Beginning is quite easy! It’s basically just a bit of madness and naivety. Now it is getting tougher… juggling cashflow, deliveries on time, pressure to produce good collections every season, getting the press interested…
R: Have you been featured in any publications, TV shows, etc…? If so, when/where?
Bérubé: I have some press coverage all through the year. We are in Vogue this September issue, hurray!
R: Do you wear your own clothing?
R: What is the name of your current collection and why?
Bérubé: It hasn’t got a name! But the main inspiration is the female character in the film La Strada from Fellini.
R: Where is the collection currently sold and who are your dream stockists?
Bérubé: We are stocked in Rough Sleepers in London, Mix in Italy and Tanglewool in the US. My dream stockist would be to have my own boutique, but I’ve got my online boutique now so I’m happy. It’s working really well!
R: Which celebrities would you most like to see wearing your collection?
Bérubé: I don’t like this celebrity culture, I find the whole thing bland and empty and insignificant. There are so many amazing real women out there.
R: Do you remember your dreams?
Bérubé: Sometimes. I dream a lot about houses!
R: Do you eat breakfast?
R: Do you have a pet?
Bérubé: No, I’ve been broken hearted by the lost of pets in the past and I don’t think I can deal with the sadness of losing one again.
R: When are you showing next?
Bérubé: I’m not showing on the catwalk this September but I will be exhibiting at On|Off. I want to take a season away from the catwalk to concentrate on making a small but perfectly cut collection. I also felt that the exhibition in the tents is very poor and I feel On|Off offers an environment that suits my collections better.
R: Favourite food, restaurant?
Bérubé: I love good hearty food like Turkish and Greek cuisine.