Flip through the market pages of any glossy these days–Lucky, Elle, etc.–and you’re likely to find an image of a soft, loungy IRO t-shirt. The collection, which we featured in “Five Frenchie Labels Set to Blow up Stateside,” is designed by Paris-based duo Laurent and Arik Bitton, whose mission in life is to sex up soft tees.
But with fantastic brands like LNA, Kain and T by Alexander Wang dominating the high-end tees market in the US, what differentiates the Bitton brothers’ collection from the rest? Well, it does help that Ms. Moss is a fan. Fashionista recently quizzed the boys.
Fashionista: Describe your clientele.
IRO: Active women who like to have a look without giving the impression of “too much.” Fresh, modern, casual.
Why is it so important to you to broaden your reach in the US?
While we were living in NYC pursuing our music career, the fashion on the streets really inspired us. We really believe that our French touch, mixed with NYC street style, is a perfect cocktail for the US market.
Paris has yet again become the epicenter of all things hip. Why do you think that is?
Fashion society changes very fast. We don’t think that this is due to French fashion, but more about new French brands becoming more accessible and designing with a strong-yet-feminine direction all with a justified price point for today’s times. The word “accessible” is emphasized: accessible in terms of the styling, the image, and again, most importantly, the pricing.
What stores do you favor in New York and Paris? Our favorite store in NYC is Curve; it has a very strong concept and you can feel that the person in charge really knows about fashion. In Paris (besides the IRO stores!), we like Merci; it’s new and fresh.
What are your favorite pieces from Spring 2010? The KILAV (an artfully-holed tee). We just received an email with a request from Kate Moss saying she wants to buy it!
What are you feeling for fall? One word: “USED.”