Europe as a Statement
In 2012 the young Parisian fashion label Études started embroidering garments with the wreath of stars of the European flag. In times of national movements such as Brexit and an uncompromising policy of closure by the European Union, the flag which appears again and again in Étude’s collections becomes a symbol for an open, solidary Europe. form interviewed Aurélien Arbet, the co-founder of Études Studio.
When, how and why did you come up with the idea of using the European Union as a stylistic fashion symbol?
The idea to use the European flag came up quite soon after we started Études in 2012. We were working on a collection that focused on sports and sportswear and how you can bring together logos that talk about the team, the notion of a group. We realized, that a lot of American brands use the American flag and are quite proud and show it as a logo, but no one did the same with the European flag. It was kind of a play and a contrast of that. We used it in a very simple way; it was a white star on black pieces. Later we realised that it worked quite well, so we kept it and it became kind of one of the main logos of Études.
Beyond creating a team spirit thing, was it also kind of a proactive political statement of your brand or did this happen later when the European political climate turned?
No, it didn’t start like that. The topic of Europe was much more discreet in a way at that time. After Brexit and the fact that right-wing parties were taking over many countries, the question came up: what are we going to use the logo for in the future? For us, Europe means the mixture of cultures, the idea of travelling more easily and being able to exchange more easily as European citizens. We decided to keep the flag in our collections, and therefore to underline our understanding of Europe.
What’s your vision for a future Europe and what is the role of Études in this image?
For us, it is about keeping Europe open so we can all benefit from each other. That’s what we believe is interesting about Europe. The future of Europe hopefully will stay like that and we hope by having this logo on a piece of clothing we are supporting this spirit. We do creative work, we do clothing, we do books, and we want to keep talking about that.
This article was published in form 283. The Power of Design. You can buy the complete issue here.