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French Twist

Imagine, you’re a recent Parsons grad and a Paris native. It’s July--certainly you’re looking forward to a few relaxing weeks back home in Europe after two years of hard work? Not if you’re Claire Dartigues. The industrious young designer, who recently participated in the first Designow x The Collective runway show, is hard at work on not one, but two collections, and with six months left on her work visa, she intends to make the most of her time in New York.

Dartigues, who’s had stints at Theory and Asher Levine during her time in the States, recently launched her own label and is currently holed up in her studio, working to produce 40 samples (by hand) of a tote bag she has designed. With snaps all around that enable it to be worn as a cape, cardigan or skirt, the bag will be available in various shades of recycled tweed--Dartigues is devoted to sustainability since having participated in a school project on reducing waste in fashion. The second collection Dartigues is currently occupied with, for an eco conscious design challenge that will take place in Hong Kong in September, is more of a political statement on Hong Kong’s rivers that have been polluted by chemical dyes from nearby garment factories. “As fabric, I’m using white shirts from a banker friend of mine which I’m dying with wine,” Dartigues says. “The idea is to show the opposition between the white collar (profit-driven) and blue collar (manufacturing) worlds.”

For Dartigues’ 5-piece collection that she presented at The Collective show, she found inspiration nearby. “I use Citibike every day. One night while biking home, I realized how different the skyline looked after dark, how the colors had changed.” So Dartigues set about translating some of the city’s most iconic architecture such as the Chrysler Building (Dartigues’ personal favorite) and the Empire State Building into cocktail-ready attire, using fabrics recycled from some of France’s most well-known fashion houses. We can’t wait to see how she continues to blend high design with her sustainable ethos.

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