In February 2019 I was inspired to turn a lifelong dream into reality. With 3 beach dress prototypes (St Tropez, L’Escalet & Salinas) I hoped to get CRUZ&PEPITA going for the 2019 Mediterranean summer season. But things didn’t work out that way.
It took me a year to find the right ateliers and I only started to sell my line of beach kaftans and resortwear at the beginning of March 2020. I was rewarded with my first order from a glorious luxury hotel - the week before Covid locked us down.
Five months later, CRUZ&PEPITA went live. The timing wasn't ideal but if living through a global pandemic teaches us anything, it’s this: Carpe Diem. If you believe in something, life’s too short not to dare.
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION
I love fashion and believe in its power as a means of self-expression and communication. But the current industry model is unsustainable, in human, economic and environmental terms.
Buying "less but better" will help address this, which means rethinking what we value.
By using what is known as deadstock (the excess fabric manufactured for fashion seasons) CRUZ&PEPITA provides a second life to silks and natural textiles that might otherwise wind up in landfill or being burned. The colour or pattern might not be achingly "on trend" but does that really matter if it looks great on you?
At the same time, CRUZ&PEPITA seeks to preserve and create fairly-paid jobs in France, a former garment manufacturing powerhouse which has seen its industry whittled away by cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Conserving French savoir-faire and providing sustainable employment in my adopted home is at the heart of CRUZ&PEPITA's crusade.
The choice to use only natural fibres is also essential to the CRUZ&PEPITA's DNA, and despite my branding and marketing background, packaging has been limited to the basics.
As CRUZ&PEPITA develops, I plan to further explore sustainability in fashion and share the lessons I learn along the way. We're all on this path together, after all.
ABOUT DESIGN PRINCIPLES
I'm a "less is more" kinda gal, at least when it comes to design. I prefer beautifully executed simplicity to frou-frou frills and tend to ignore trends in favour of a flattering silhouette.
My minimalist ethos dovetails with sustainability. I am conscious of the wastage created when cutting garments from cloth and strive to either adjust the cut to minimise waste or find a use for the off-cuts.
Above all, when it comes to fashion design, I want women to be comfortable and confident in what they wear and aim to create dresses (yes, mainly dresses) that bring out the best in us. A belt when we're feeling svelte, a little looser when required, but always stylish and feminine.
My name is Pepita Diamand and I'm a former dot-com entrepreneur and full-on fashion aficionado, having been, at varying times, a fashion journalist, a stylist, a designer of hospitality uniforms and a marketing consultant for some of the best-known brands in luxury.
When I moved to Paris from London in 2010 (I'm from Toronto, by the way) I remember learning about the decline of France's garment industry and lamenting such a tragic loss to this proud nation's - dare I say - fibre. I toyed with the idea of creating a line of cruisewear and even came up with the name CRUZ&PEPITA back in 2011, but other work took precedence.