ANTIK DENIM JEANS
Designer Philippe Naouris 20-year commitment to vintage denim, measured by his obsessive knowledge of detailing and craftsmanship, earned him the title, "The King of Vintage, in the fashion industry. His passion for denim design was evident when he was only 15 years old. The year was 1985, and he was working at the only store in his hometown of Marseille, France, that carried authentic American denim. That store became the first vintage shop he would own. At barely 17, and with little capital, he roadtripped across America, uncovering rare vintage treasures for his store.
Naouri grew to be a sought-after expert in the fashion business. Reputable companies such as Replay, Diesel, G-star, Levis and Chevignon, bought his most exclusive and inspirational vintage pieces for their designs, and hired him to consult on style, details and wash. In 1991, he organized the first ever antique Levis auction held in Drouot, France, in partnership with Levis. In the book, Jeans of Heroes, Lincoln Editions, 1994, Naouri was dubbed the French Connection Of Denim. He also contributed to an event in honor of denim for the city of Nimes, France, where denim was supposed to have originated. In Texas, where he lived for 16 years prior to Los Angeles, his warehouse became a virtual Ali Baba cavern for antique denim buyers the world over. The future holds plans for this connoisseur of denim to open his own jeans museum.
Naouri says he is inspired by, vintage movies, fashion furniture, and music. He also notes his affection for perfection and authenticity. What motivated this perfectionist to create Antik, along with his friend Alexandre Caugant, was his experience working for other designers, timing, and his desire to gift the world with his fresh approach. Naouris vision for Antik Denim is to build a brand which, as he puts it, will last for another 150 years, and mark its time just like Levis did.
Alexandre Caugants reputation for innovation has made him one of the hottest fashion designers today, and is one reason Antik Denim has won the affection of some of the limelights hippest stars. Its a characteristic he shares with his co-designer Philippe Naourithe ability to invent designs that revive the past and connect with people. Of his designs, Caugant says, I bring out something different all the time. I like to surprise, and always keep it fresh.
At an age when other kids went off to college, Caugant began his career working at a Levi's store in his hometown of Marseille, France, and screen printing original T-shirts for fun. He went on to dress store windows throughout the South of France. In the '90s, he moved to Paris to work for the successful brand Chevignon, where he added a vintage flair to his designs. Other companies who tapped his talent include: Bisous-Bisous, and Morgan De Toi. He says he learned a lot from colleagues in the fashion business, especially Guy Azoulay (Chevignon), Christian Audigier (Von Dutch), and Jeannot Elbaz (Chipie). Caugant claims that modesty, and being open to learning new things is a secret to success.
Caugants dream of seeing his own brand sold in stores worldwide, was to be realized in 2004. But before coming to Los Angeles, where he now lives, he traversed South America, China, and Japan, and absorbed the beauty and passion of different cultures, colors, and life. He developed styles that looked sexy on women of many sizes; in Brazil, he perfected the ever-popular super-low jean. He worked with the high-profile brand Goa, in Columbia, where he invented his signature stitching and customized jeans. That led to his work with ABL Couture, at which time he became reacquainted with his old friend Naouri. About what inspires him, Caugant says, I believe fashion is on the street, fashion is people. The media inspires me, TV, movies, and music.
Caugant is perhaps best appreciated for his passion for perfection, and the details he gives to his designs. Caugant remarks, I think I have achieved one of my goals, which is to make a true denim line that suits everybody.