Clivia Nobili reminds us what clothes are for

The fashion system is broken. It’s something that we keep on hearing. We have accelerated in a speed that is no longer sustainable, we demand designers to produce up to 6 collections per year, ending up with products that look pretty much like each other, products whose even cheaper copies would be sold like pancakes in fast-fashion stores, all made on the backs of people working in inhumane conditions at the expense of the environment. Fashion today is questionable and frankly, boring.


This rant was shared during a shoot with French designer Clivia Nobili, who she says proudly, “I don’t do fashion, I make clothes.” Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe she saw it all coming. Established in 2010 at the Northern French city of Lille, her brand centers on workwear-inspired pieces: electric blue boiler suits, khaki straight-leg trousers paired with a painter’s shirt, denim jackets with all sorts of pockets. “Clothes with uncomplicated lines, something pure and functional.”


It’s rediscovering the emotional link we associate to the clothes we put on our backs. A scratchy polyester top from Zara that we would wear once or twice to a party before losing it at the back of our closets is not fashion. Nobili strives to create clothes that people would feel good in, pieces that we can move around with, work, and live in. “My brand is an ode to working-class heroes, people who needed garments that helped them to work efficiently and became their second-skin. No shortcuts, no opulence, no frills.”


If more designers put the premium back in making clothes that are well-designed, snug, and durable, as opposed to churning money-making, “must-have” pieces, maybe we would be reminded, as consumers, what we look for when we buy clothes.



Renee Ultado


Author: Renee Ultado

Renee Ultado is a writer fueled by glamour, caffeine, tequila shots (sometimes), an unswayed faith in the goodness of other people (always), and the reassuring thought that Mariah Carey is out there somewhere in a rhinestone studded slip dress doing the Lord's work.

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