Immediate immersion in the universe of two talented stylists, Pamela and Julie, founders of Rue Mercer brand.
By Joana Rousselot
Tell us a bit about your brand.
We wanted a name that effectively evokes our inspirations and the image of our brand. The reference to Mercer St was obvious as we met a few years ago at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo, our favorite neighborhood of New York. We therefore created RUE MERCER which represents both our French side and Mercer our New York side. On a daily basis, people in the street, in the subway or in the media inspire us a lot. New York is a very stimulating city where people express their creativity everywhere. The downtown part of town has a rather chic and casual style which is one of our main influences. Then we have our French culture which inspires us to create refined and easy to wear pieces. It is the famous "effortlessly chic". We created a line specialist of the feminine shirt, simple and chic because we found that there was a real lack on the market for this kind of product. Dressing up women with a beautiful shirt in which she feels good and enhanced is a real pleasure for us. When you create a model, design is as important as the conditions in which it is made. That's why working with local New York artisans is a great pride. In our shirts, we find our French culture, our American-European inspirations and the know-how New York. It is the true soul of our clothes.
How would you define your brand in 3 words?
Chic, Modern, Intemporel
How do you feel about today's fashion world? What makes your brand different?
The world of clothing is dominated by the large distribution chains that make "trendy" clothing very affordable. But unfortunately these garments have no durability, no identity and the manufacturing conditions are quite worrying in terms of human rights and the environment. RUE MERCER goes against all this! The quality of materials and manufacturing is paramount. We avoid as much as possible synthetics, our shirts are made in ethical conditions by NY based factories. And above all, we have created a line that embodies more than just a look: we create durable pieces that represent a style, a culture and a story. We hope that our clients will one day transmit their shirts to their daughter!
Where does your love for creation come from?
Pamela : Having evolved in the world of fashion as a model from a very young age, I have always been fascinated by the reverse of the decor, especially in sewing workshops, such as that of Sonia Rykiel. I had the chance to meet this great lady of French fashion, and to see her artistic work come to life on me. I have always paid attention to the details that make certain clothes exceptional.Julie : My great-grandmother taught me how to knit and sew by hand when I was six years old to make doll clothes. Since then, everything that is creative interests me: drawing, music, dance and art in general! I have ideas all the time! And fashion is my first form of expression.
What is your background? What would you advise to people who want to become a designer?
Pamela : I pursued a full-fledged modeling career as a teenager. I do not have formal training in styling, but I followed my passion. My advice would be to follow his dream and want to put in a lot of work and time. There will always be obstacles in what you will undertake, you must know not to let go, and continue to believe in his talent.Julie : I graduated from styling and studied the art of fashion at the Louvre school. I then spent several years working in art. I would advise these future designers to be hardworking, thoughtful and above all to have an optimism at all times !!
How does a regular day at work look like?
Pamela and Julie : Our days in NY have no regularity. One juggles between the appointments in the Garment District, the sourcing, the communication, the explorations in the city.
What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer? What is the most difficult part?
Pamela et Julie : The creative part is pure happiness. We work as a duo, we exchange a lot and we put the best of both of us in our creations. We have a passion for cutting, materials and photography. The most difficult part is the financial part. The one we learn on the job, which is as important as the creation but we like less. This season, we wanted to integrate warm and rich colors, such as burgundy and olive green. The New York autumn colors inspired us. We have diversified the materials also: in our collection, we have several types of silks, leathers, cotton, velvet, jacquards embroidered with metallic threads, flannels, viscose.
If you had to choose your top three picks from this season's collection which would they be? Why?
Julie : The burgundy "Victoria" shirt : I love the color and the velvet braid !! The Riley: the fabric is superb, the cut is top and I have compliments every time I wear it. And finally, the Bedford: simple erases, and hyper easy to wear.
Who are your favourite fashion designers? Why?
Julie : Diane Furstenberg, This woman is a true inspiration for what she represents as a woman and for the empire she created. I will love to meet her.
Who are your muses?
Pamela : I like to take as inspirations European fashion icons like Jane Birkin, which embodies the chic and the simplicity. I will see very well Caroline de Maigret wearing our shirts, for her very Parisian side, Olivia Palermo for New York and Solange Knowles for her creativity.
Julie : I'd like to see Elisa Sednaoui, Alexa Chung, Cate Blanchett wearing our shirts. They give off a grace and natural beauty that I love very much. Michelle Obama, Ellen De Generes and Anna Wintour would be the perfect ambassadors. Their personalities and their personal journey are a real inspiration.
Tell us a little about your personal style.
Charm and simplicity dominate our personal style. We like to have a discreet and elegant detail in our outfits. Simple lines, beautiful materials, feminine and practical clothing, that would define our style.
What is your fashion obsession?
Julie : I have an obsession with textures. I love discovering new textures, knowing how they age and seeing the effect they make when transformed into clothing.
What is your favorite place to escape ?
Julie : Traveling is my best remedy for recharging the batteries. When you live in New York, it is vital to leave and change horizons regularly. I love going to St Barts out of season, to go see my friends and hang out at the beach until no time with the kids!
Pamela : I've lived in New York for 12 years now. My little haven of peace is Paris, I like to go there to recharge.