WORDS BY DANIEL RAMSDALE-HARRIS
Founded by Stephane Ashpool, and what originally began as a humble store front, Pigalle is a French streetwear brand, named after the former red-light district in Paris, that has gone to achieve a global consumer base since opening their doors in 2008through their quite brilliant ready to wear designs, fashion shows and truly authentic story.
Fun Fact: Ashpool’s mother was a major influence in the brand getting off the ground, with herself being an esteemed producer of fashion shows and still working at the brands Flagship store today.
The Parisian label wrestles with both race, class and gentrification to combat social restrictions in the French capital. This brand culture was epitomised when Ashpool, held his latest show in the remote nineteenth arrondissement, which is usually a 45–minute ride from the city centre. This demonstrated Pigalle’s approach in fostering a dialogue around the racial divides in Paris, as white people tend to live in the center of the city, pushing immigrants on to the outskirts
Too add, Stephane Ashpool himself describes Pigalle’s sprit as a “Mixity”. This has seen Pigalle create a strong relationship with cultures such as bohemianism and basketball, relationships which have seen global praise from A-listers such as Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. The brand’s culture has also attracted strong acknowledgement from Bruno Pavlosky, Chanel’s president of fashion, who is now in fact Ashpool’s mentor. The result of Pigalle’s positioning within the fashion industry has seen a mass blend of super fans who run across the fashion spectrum, from streetwear fanatics to high fashion lovers.
The growth of the brand has also brought a host of high-profile collaborations with worldwide companies, particularly within sport and most noticeably 2 with NIKE and with EA Sport’s NBA 2K video game. Through this partnership, Pigalle and NIKE have created two Air Force 1 Silhouettes, renditions of countless basketball sneaker models and a whole outerwear collection incorporating basketball DNA. Perhaps more importantly however, Pigalle have used their collaborations with Nike to give back to the youth of their community, creating colourful basketball courts located right across from their flagship store. Further cementing the brand’s outlook as a hub for the youth of Pigalle. Authenticity and Community at its finest
I recently visited the Pigalle store myself and I have to say it really is the heart of the community, with basketball being played in their courts directly opposite and Stephane’s mum still working in the store. If there’s any example of a brand executing a strong emotional and loyal relationship with their consumers, look no further than the job that Pigalle have done. Interestingly, the brand does not have their own transactional website and are not stocked elsewhere worldwide, defining their approach for a tight nick and loyal community.
I strongly believe that Pigalle will go from strength to strength, and that stems from the emotional connection of their story and values that so many can relate too. However, to reach new commercial heights and an even wider audience, their brand must become more accessible.