“The Stackers and IFA Paris, it’s a marriage led to last for a while!”
When they decided to launch their ephemeral concept store The Stackers, Valerie Lemant and Armelle Luton knew that they would collaborate with a Parisian fashion school. Their meeting with Jean-Baptiste Andreani, Managing Director of the French campus of IFA Paris was a good one. The Stackers and IFA Paris share a common vision.
Michel Temman: Why have you called your concept store The Stackers? The name sounds very rock...
Armelle Luton: This name had a real resonance in us. Its’ echo seemed important because around that name, which is rocking in fact, there were stories to tell. Originally, a stacker is this industrial machine aimed at stacking newspapers and magazines for example. But we also and primarily have a vocation, with our project, to help and bring young artists to grow by taking them as high and far as possible, in collaboration with well-established brands. The history of The Stackers therefore is beginning in this crazy place, in Bastille, under a canopy of 1700 square meters.
“We met, we fell in love and since, we don’t leave each other! Our collaboration is now launched and we don’t want to stop there. Moreover when I see the energy that Jean-Baptiste Andreani deploys to its school with regard to our project. IFA Paris has become our school of reference!” Armelle Luton, The Stackers
M.T.: How did you get the idea of this ephemeral concept-store?
Armelle Luton: For twenty years I led a media agency and Valerie comes from the events business. A year ago we ended up together in the same group. And we thought that it was time for us to write our own history and story, with a project involving young designers. The media business is now in a serious crisis. Printed papers and magazine, in all media groups, suffer from an erosion of their sales – except for those on the Internet. But the media are also trademarks and we wondered, with Valerie, how could they bring a new energy, what could be for them a new source of revenue and diversification. We wanted to write this story with a new concept, collaborating in one way and having fun in the process – because with The Stackers, we also have a lot of fun! We presented our project on January 8th, 2016, to the French magazine Stylist, which offers such impertinent tone, is polite and impolite, with contents and graphics that we love. We proposed them to deploy all their sections outside the pages, on a completely live mode. And the idea immediately seduced our interlocutors and all sponsors. A new source of revenue like this, in fact, can’t be refused.
M. T.: How did you meet IFA Paris?
Armelle Luton: It is the meeting of the century! And that’s the issue happiness. In our desire to support the young creation, a collaboration with a fashion school made sense and it was one of our topics of discussion with the agency Les Parisiennes. We approached other fashion schools. Then, we were offered to meet IFA Paris and the general manager of the French school, Jean-Baptiste Andreani, and its artistic director, Jean-Marc Chauve, and both immediately responded to our invitation with enthusiasm and responsiveness that have delighted us. We told IFA Paris “We bring you along!” And they immediately responded, “We follow you!” We met, we fell in love, and since then, we never leave each other! Our collaboration is now launched and we don’t want to stop it there. Moreover when I see the energy that Jean-Baptiste Andreani deploys to its school with regard to our project, IFA Paris has become our school of reference. And Jean-Baptiste our darling! Whenever I propose a new idea, not only accept it but it amplifies it. With IFA Paris, the project is taking a different dimension. The Stackers and IFA Paris, is a marriage of convenience and is meant to last!
M. T.: You started on May 12th with a preview fashion show. What will the other highlights of the ten days be?
Valerie Lemant: On the 12th in the evening, the fashion show was indeed a preview, with the presence of many journalists. These ten days are dedicated to creation and latest trends. 70 young designers as well as better known brands will be there and meet each other. The place, with its hybrid concept, is open to all and people will find there a good place to exchange, drink a coffee, read magazines, an art book, watch works, spend a nice time, relax in a beautiful 80’s chair from Vitra. They will enjoy activities of deco, design, art, culture, food or sport. And even a punching ball and true boxing bags – with the presence of a coach and real boxer – to let off steam. They will also be able to challenge a friend to PacMan! We like the design, fashion, art, culture, sports and cooking. There will be also onsite some specialities to taste from Nice and South of France, tapas and happiness; a glass of rosé while enjoying tapenade. Anything that is found in the pages of Stylist. Except that this time, we’re out of the pages and purely live. And I can already assure you that it will be well thought out and beautifully installed. We will have locally rising brands, other more established, with a sufficiently broad price spectrum for people to have fun and do not stand frustrated! We’re in the experience, we share. It’s important to us.
Jean-Baptiste Andreani: We are able to tap into punching bags while getting a new tattoo done because we’ll also have in our walls a tattoo artist! The second floor of the concept store is a space dedicated to IFA Paris and its students, with a presentation of unique pieces, works and performances. Students and visitors will have the opportunity to participate in a “Do it yourself workshop” around the mesh, design accessories or styling, while discovering students' collections.
M. T.: How IFA Paris will unveil the work of its students?
Jean-Baptiste Andreani: The objective is to invest the 2nd floor and create a loft where expression and creation combine. What is very specific to such a place is the opportunity to meet different universes without spatial or architectural boundaries. Our idea is to recreate a sense of community. Alongside students, fashion professionals and people from Swarovski, Dior, Celine or Tom Brown, will visit as guest speakers. Two former IFA students, Sissi Johnsson and Karen Topacio, will also attend. With Jean-Marc Chauve, we also looked at the courses and programs that had been scheduled this year and that could arise during these ten days, so people will come to see, to listen and to discover. We have a shared goal. Our students will also participate in live sales experience and we will be there to help. Patrick Kouzmine-Karavaieff, president and co-founder of IFA Paris, will be present during the ten days and we will also announce the grant award IFA Paris-Stylist – a scholarship for the readers of Stylist, 3 years Bachelor Fashion Design at IFA Paris.
M. T.: The concept store is ephemeral but will it be repeated?
Armelle Luton: Yes. It will happen again in September and December. And then, we’ll see. To stack is also to win the bet at poker, and The Stackers being an English name, it can be exported easily. We can relocate and for the moment the brand can be anywhere. In the long term, our goal is to really install The Stackers as a brand. Why the concept it is ephemeral? Because it gives the project a valuable, precious and event side.
Jean-Baptiste Andreani: Yes, and after France, there will be probably Shanghai!
Valerie Lemant: Yes, why not. If The Stackers genuinely move as a brand, everything will be possible. But it is important that the event first succeeds in France with relevance, and then, how we could deploy The Stackers elsewhere in France, in large cities such as Marseille or Lyon, which have strong fashion connotations. The Stackers must be perceived as a brand and inspires confidence immediately, without necessary needing to explain for three hours what it is.
M. T.: The Stackers is actually a concept born from your friendship…
Valerie Lemant: Absolutely. We both have complementary experiences, Armelle in events, me in the media business. We thought that with our complementary skills, it would be good to try and launch this new adventure. The project started in October 2015 and became reality very quickly.
Jean-Baptiste Andreani: Note that our IFA Paris alumna, Camilla, who recently wrote about the designer Jase King, will soon write a story about The Stackers in the online media That’s It, based in Shanghai. No doubt that China will soon hear about the Stackers!