Elena Feit at 23 years old is the founder of The Ethiquette. The brand launched during fashion week last month on Place des Vosges in Paris. Within Serpent à Plume, in a tapestry-filled setting an innovative concept debuted. Whitewall later met Feit in her showroom in the 16th arrondissement to discuss environmental responsibility and rental fashion.
WHITEWALL: How was the idea of The Ethiquette born?
ELENA FEIT: I was living in Shanghai to complete my last year in business school. I had an environmental awareness when I witnessed the heavy pollution there. I was very much into fashion having done an internship with Paul Andrew in New York. I felt the need to serve the environment and at the same time meet the desires of the fashion consumers in Paris with a rental service.
WW: How do you work with the designer Alexia Hanemian?
EF: I am the CEO of the brand; I created the concept and the company. I take care of the business side, communication and artistic direction of The Ethiquette. Alexia, who studied at la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture de Paris and Central Saint Martins in London, was the perfect fit for the team. We get along really well with the artistic direction.
WW: Could you describe The Ethiquette woman?
EF: She is very independent and elegant. She acts according to her beliefs on a daily basis with habits that serve the planet. She is also a socialite because she attends a lot of cultural events, as our clothes are graceful for evening wear.
WW: What are your inspirations?
EF: We are inspired by the elegance of artistically inspiring women of the 1960s and 1980s in Paris—Ines de la Fressange and Catherine Deneuve, for example. We are using Pinterest and fashion art books, as well as old Elle magazines to get more ideas, and New Wave movies. I fell in love with Indian embroidery when I traveled there so I decided that part of the collection would be made from ancient Indian saris.
WW: Do you have any other competitors in the market?
EF: We have zero direct competitors. Therefore, we have indirect competitors being ecologically responsible like Marine Serre and Kévin Germanier. On the other hand, there are multi-brand rental platforms like Les Preteuses. But The Ethiquette is unique in the way that it is rental and also recyclable fashion.
WW: How do you expect to benefit from the brand’s rental system?
EF: Firstly, I respond to a market trend with The Ethiquette. We get to produce way less and therefore afford to have our workshops in Paris. We propose semi couture at affordable price and as the aesthetic that we offer can be worn occasionally for events, the rental system logical solution.
WW: How do you wish for The Ethiquette to evolve in the long run?
EF: We have opened a showroom in Paris for the moment and I would adore to have a visibility in London and New York. I sincerely believe that The Ethiquette has the potential to build a community and become a membership club that offers the “art de vivre” of the brand with a spa, a restaurant and a tea room.
WW: What do think of the fashion industry today?
EF: It’s extremely diverse and very futuristic. The consumer has a wide variety of choice which leads to overconsumption and it can be hard to circulate through this mass of information.