Opportunity comes to those who don't bag the first prize too. Just like Olivier Borde's endeavor at the Festival d'Hyeres, he may not be victorious but his wonderful reinvention over classic menswear pieces, which the panels have uplifted him over criticism, surely was a great motivational factor in pursuing his designing career.
Just last week, I was able catch Olivier Borde for an interview. See how the conversation went.

What's the Olivier Borde aesthetic?
Olivier: Well it's a mix of distressed tailoring and romantic sportswear.

How did you get into fashion?
I first got a sewing machine at 14 and start making clothe by myself and loved that. In the same time I was very into Jean-Paul Gaultier aesthetic and I just wanted to studying fashion but started by a sewing technical school because clothe were more important than fashion for me at this point.

But you entered fashion school right?
Then I went to a fashion school program yeah for 2 years.

Tell me about the Hyeres experience
Oh!!! It was so much fun there!! I was in NYC when I got the answer for the selection so I had to fly back to France and make the collection. Then I got to Hyeres and everyone was so nice and fun to hang out with. The Villa Noailles is such a beautiful and inspiring place. We all worked a lot with fittings rehearsals and all but there were no competiton mood between everyone, and the team from the festival was just great and sweet. One of the best experiences in my life for sure.

About the critics?
Well it is such an opportunity for a designer to be there because you meet a lot of people from the industry and have the chance to have a direct feedback on your collection and work. Even if you don't win the prize, which I didn't, lol, being there is a great exposure and it helps so much to start a business.

I second that.
By the way Olivier, what do you think is the edge of French designers compared to others?
I am not really sure we still can talk about a French or German or American edge anymore like we could 5 or 10 years ago. Designers like others are travelling, spend a lot of time on line and I think we are just becoming more "international" minded. Of course we have this thing about "Paris fashion capital of the world" but that doesn't make an edge right?

That's a great point over there. Do you think that's a threat for you?
No, not at all. I am proud to be French in terms of fashion because of all the great designer we have here, but more for the handcraft history and "savoir-faire" [which] France is known for. All my clothes are made in France and it becomes really rare now. It's important to work with your heritage.

About your upcoming collection, what's it gonna be like?
Well I'm gonna carry on doing what I've done so far but maybe more in a denim mood - you'll see in June. Hehe.

Who's the designer you're looking forward to work with?
I would say Rei Kawakubo or Dries Van Noten but i would love to do some collaboration with some heritage brand like Barbour.

Barbour tie up will definitely give us a good story to tell. And DVN or CDG would be so interesting!
Ever tried designing women's clothing?
Well I've been designing women's for 8 years before doing men's, lol, so yeah I've tried.

Oh yeah, I forgot. Was that for Charles Anastase right?
That's right, and also a high end brand from Monaco.

Finally, can you describe me your personal style?
Well I'm more into simple and comfortable clothing type of style. I'm wearing jeans, Nike sneakers, and polos - that's it ! LOL

As long as you're comfortable and confident with it, you're always fashionable. Thanks Olivier!
Hey thank you!!


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