Stéphane Ashpool On Repping Paris
The Pigalle founder talks about the growth of his brand and shares his favorite pieces in the new Jordan 23 Engineered collection.
Stéphane Ashpool is a creator to his core. Born into an artistic family in Paris (his mother was a professional dancer, and his father was an artist), Stéphane learned that community and creative expression go hand in hand. He also grew up nurturing another form of expression, basketball, which he still plays and gathers inspiration from.
Many know the story of Stéphane’s brand, Pigalle, well by now. He named it after his neighborhood in Paris but was equally influenced by high and low culture from around the world. He started with T-shirts but now has full collections with tailored, fresh looks for men and women. Today, Pigalle has stores in Paris and Tokyo and regularly collaborates with Nike, including on projects like the Insta-famous, multicolor basketball court in Paris (across from the standalone Pigalle Basketball store).
Of course, the Pigalle brand is much more than a clothing line. It has come to include young, local creatives from a variety of disciplines, many of whom are directly mentored by Stéphane and his cohort. Though Pigalle has won prestigious awards and earned a global following, Stéphane continues to push into new realms of collaboration; he has said that he plans to build a production and incubation-focused atelier, a “school of life,” and eventually run for mayor.
Incorporating his love of texture and color, Stéphane styled himself in the newly launched Jordan 23 Engineered collection during Paris Fashion Week. Jordan Brand tapped his knowledge for several workshops and events throughout the week, including a block party, design sessions and custom product.
Here, Stéphane talks clothing, design and connecting with the global community.
Stéphane Ashpool at the House of Jumpman workshop in Paris
Throughout the many years of developing Pigalle, what have you learned about designing apparel?
I’ve learned a lot about the many technical aspects and creative tools involved in apparel design. This combination allows me to apply my vision to a garment. I love when extremes meet, whether in the form of high-end finishings or a more sporty feeling. I like to strike the perfect balance of something modern.
“I always wanted Pigalle to be like a family bakery, not a supermarket.”
Through the opening of the Tokyo store and adding more people into the Pigalle family, what have you learned from growing the Pigalle brand?
It’s great, but it’s a lot of work. Now that I know my limit, I would love to keep doing what I do without increasing the team too much. I always wanted Pigalle to be like a family bakery, not a supermarket. It feels great to work with friends and family.
With every collection, Pigalle has its own way of pushing color and texture, with both style and restraint. What inspires your color, material, and print/pattern choices?
Color and texture are things that come to me spontaneously. It starts with a feeling, and then I combine it with the general idea I want to achieve. It’s a process that takes time, but I have no exact rules. You just have to trust the flow and trust yourself. It’s definitely one of my favorite parts of garment construction.
Stéphane Ashpool and Les Twins at the House of Jumpman workshop in Paris
What inspires you about the growth of basketball culture in Paris, given your own role in making that possible for kids in and out of your neighborhood?
It’s amazing. We’ve developed a very special love for basketball and this lifestyle in Paris. It fits well here. It feels like we’re on a mission to spread the love of basketball.
At Paris Fashion Week, you helped style the new Jordan 23 Engineered collection and led some workshops, too. What are your favorite pieces from 23 Engineered?
I would say the jackets, shorts, knitted jersey and the general color palette. The collection is modern and good for on and off the court. They are great designs that are easy to style with other pieces, too.
In your opinion, what are the most important elements of good lifestyle clothing, whether it be Pigalle or 23 Engineered pieces?
Good lifestyle clothing should be comfortable, easy to wash and have big pockets. On top, it should be something you can wear open when it’s hot out or close when it gets cold or starts raining. Jordan Brand is making these kinds of garments for utility on and off the court. I look forward to seeing future apparel born from this direction.
The Jordan 23 Engineered collection is available starting July 2019 on Jordan.com and at select retailers.