Maison Labiche co-founder Marie Welté elevates basics with embroidery
French brand Maison Labiche was founded in 2011 by Marie Welté and Jenny Richard. Jean-Baptiste Richard became co-owner in 2012. It has grown from a single product offering – the T-shirt – and gained international popularity while becoming a fast favourite with celebrities. The Paris-based business sells a complete range of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing including sweatshirts, shirts and jackets, all featuring its signature playful hand-embroidered messages.
The brand now sells across six continents in more than 400 retail locations, including Liberty and Harrods in London, and launched six-piece capsule collection with Mr Porter for autumn 18. The brand declines to reveal wholesale prices, but retail prices range from €55 (£49.59) for a T-shirt to €370 (£333.57) for a coat.
What inspired you to start Maison Labiche?
It was more of a need and the feeling that using couture techniques [such as hand embroidery] on basics and essential clothing items [to begin with, white unisex T-shirts] would be interesting.
How would you describe the aesthetic of the brand?
Clean and cheeky.
How has the brand changed and evolve since you launched it?
We started with only unisex T-shirts but now offer a wide range of clothing for kids, men and women.
How has the industry changed since launching the brand?
Streetwear has become the trend. When we started, the overall feeling and aesthetic was preppy, and Instagram was not as strong as it is today.
Where do you find your inspiration for collections?
It starts with feelings and craving for some fabrics, shapes, colours. Then, around these feelings, I search for new inspirations in books, movies, exhibitions and vintage clothing, to build the story of a journey from Paris to somewhere else and define the theme of the collection. My favourite collection is always the next one.
Why is embroidery important to the brand?
Embroidery never fades away, and it gives textural relief to the clothing. The number of techniques is infinite, and I find it very relaxing to embroider.
What are some of the challenges you face in your role on a day to day basis?
What’s the best part of your job?
Looking for new embroidery techniques, new fabrics, meeting with suppliers and working with my team.
Is there anyone in the industry you particularly admire?
Véronique Nichanian, the artistic director for Hermès.
What advice would you give to yourself at the start of your career?
Do what you feel like doing and don’t be afraid.
Where would you like to progress in the future?
I would like Maison Labiche to become an iconic French brand that people cherish and wear to feel good in their clothes.
Favourite places to shop
Last fashion purchase
Last book you read
American Pastoral by Philip Roth
Last film you watched
Call Me By Your Name
Selling friendship bracelets
Making and selling friendship bracelets was pretty nice
What would we find you doing at the weekend
Building things at home with my kids and going to the seaside