Contemporary French brands

Isabel Marant

Isabel Marant is best known for her bohemian aesthetic which perfectly encapsulated a casual, tousled yet never over-thought look. Her creations are worn by some of the most fashionable celebrities including Kate Moss and Alexa Chung – just to name a couple. 

Isabel Marant was born in Paris in 1967. She was actually born Isabelle, but dropped the last syllabus of her name when she learned that no less than four of her classmates had the same name. As a young girl, Isabel Marant was always a tomboy and used to raid her father’s closet. In 1982, she asked her father for a sewing machine because she was tired of not finding the clothes she wanted to wear in the stores. 

She’d never considered a career in fashion and was instead going to study economics after high school. This however changed when she was 16 as she was now earning money from selling her homemade clothing. Isabel Marant instead started studying design at the fashion school Studio Berçot in Paris in 1985. After this, she interned with Michel Klein and worked with Bridget Yorke and Marc Ascoli. 

Isabel Marant launched her own collections in 1989 as well as a jewelry label and a knitwear label – Twen – with her mother in 1990. In 1994, she set up her own label with a studio in Paris and in 1995 she held her first show – SS 1995. Isabel Marant debuted the diffusion line, Étoile by Isabel Marant at Paris Fashion Week in 1999, so as you can tell, everything has moved quite quickly for the French designer – and she’s not slowing down.


IRO was founded by brothers Laurent and Arik Bitton in 2005. The brothers find their inspiration in music and stylish women – don’t we all? The brand currently produces both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and created denim, knitwear and leather pieces for the contemporary shopper. 

On the website, IRO describes itself as “not a wardrobe for the models in the magazine but for the everyday cool girls” which speaks to the wearability of the brand. The brand also puts emphasis on the combination of New York vintage rock spirit, Parisian romanticism and the joy of Japanese madness that they strive to combine which in turn results in a balance of “coolness, sophistication and modernity”. 

IRO opened the first boutique in Paris in 2006 and today you can shop the French brand in more than 70 shops meaning IRO continues to expand.

Photo: s_lo96


A.P.C- is a French ready-to-wear brand created by Tunesian Jewish designer Jean Touitou in Paris. In 1987, he started a clothing line that would sooner become A.P.C. The initial collection was called WINTER 87. The following year, the first A.P.C. women’s collection launched. The brand was first renowned for their classic jeans in raw denim but today the brand offers a full range of both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories. 

A.P.C. stands for production and creation workshop, as the brand attached equal importance to both production and creation. The A.P.C. designs are characterized by their minimalism, clean lines and simple patterns. Jean Touitou assumes the absence of the extravagant and instead reaches for the essentials. A.P.C. stands for stylish and casual looks that are inspired by everyday life.

A.P.C. has done a fair share of collaborations as well – we’re talking Kid Cudi, Kanye West. Carhartt WIP and more.


This French brand was founded in 2003 by Barbara Boccara and Sharon Kief who both gave the first two letters of their names to the name of ba&sh. The two women had been friends for a long time and after both having children they decided they wanted to do something together. Barbara was working PR and Sharon in law, but the friends had a common dream: to bring their dream wardrobe to life. 

ba&sh created romantic, effortless looks spiced with a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll. This means a great deal of classic pieces featuring details you don’t want to miss and elevated staples. ba&sh is designed for real women: Women with kids, who travel and move around. That’s why ba&sh is designed to look good and be aesthetically pleasing while making women feel good and comfortable. You’ll not find uncomfortable materials or too-tight shapes at ba&sh. 

Today, you can find ba&sh in more than 400 stores around the world! As it says on the ba&sh website, “the ba&sh style remains distinctly Parisian, uniting an expression of freedom with an easy, joyful elegance” and that’s not going to change no matter how many stores open across the globe.

Written by Alberte Gram
Alberte Gram is a fashion writer based in London.
The people pictured are not associated with The Archive
or The Vintage Bar, and do not endorse the products shown.