Genève Florance is a designer that has recently risen above the surface with the release of their first collection “Comment puis-je perdre en suivant Dieu” which translates to “How could I lose while following God”, a song that inspired the direction and naming of their collection.
Florance’s debut collection is a story of grief, rebellion, and acceptance. I was sold by this 20-year-old’s work the moment I first laid my eyes on it. Their ability to manipulate a garment’s texture and tell a story through each piece pulled me further in as I dug deeper into their work. Florance has stated that their love for fashion stems from a desire to solve problems. On the about section of their site, it reads “Playing with structure and flows through the use of knitwear and tailoring”. Through this collection we see a gap bridged with the symbiosis of knitwear and tailoring, as such, a problem solved. I loved this quote because it aptly reflects what their work represents, though I’m sure that isn’t the only problem Genève seeks to fix.
I would describe the collection as a gothic rebirth, though that phrase isn’t enough to encapsulate the essence of this collection. This collection traverses the history of Genève and their time on earth, from their catholic birth to their queer realization. The contrast between acceptance and rejection was prevalent throughout this collection.
One thing I personally love was their ability to use different fabrics to create one cohesive look. This makes more sense when you understand the designer’s passion for the concept of contrast vs form. Likewise, I enjoyed the religious symbolism depicted in pieces, such as the Chapel Suit and Priestess Dress.
What does your creative process look like when you approach a project?
I go back and forth between structure and form deciding which aspects I want to incorporate into a garment. This collection originally started off as a portfolio, a means to create tangible work that would contribute to my efforts to get a job in the industry.
Would you say growing up in a catholic household impacted your creativity?
Yes, this whole collection is a representation of that and more. The battles I encountered while finding myself, a queer, non-binary individual in a strict french catholic household. It was difficult navigating and I do have a hate-love relationship with religion due to that, however, this collection was born out of it. It symbolizes me coming into my own after fighting my past self about my desire to be loved by God. A breakthrough.
If you had to describe your collection in one word, what would it be?
‘Release’, it’s difficult deciding on one word but as of today that is the word I would use to describe it.
As someone who emphasizes matters of sustainability, what are your thoughts on the current state of the industry?
I live off my craft, so I understand more than most the argument of ethics vs reality. Yes, there may be instances where I won’t be able to employ 100% eco-friendly practices, but I do believe I will reach a point where that will be feasible. However, the industry does need to significantly reduce its waste and with each person, it becomes more of a necessity. Stop the fast-fashion hauls and invest in quality clothing. The appreciation for clothing and craftmanship is what’s missing. Saving up for months for one piece to wear until it can’t be worn again. The romance of tailoring needs to be revived.
What does this collection mean to you?
A clean slate. I can say “I went, I did it”. I created a collection in a month by myself at the age of 20. It is a dream come to fruition. The following thought is “what can we do next?”.
What is next for Genève Florance?
I want to get better at crafting and honing the skills I have. Designing is the easy part; crafting is what I want to explore. I want to explore the facets of creating, metal work, shoemaking, jewellery making and the likes. Making things is what I love.
Genève Florance’s collection is available on their site now.
Genève Florance’s Instagram Handle: @geneveflorance
Riley Kojima’s Instagram Handle (Photographer): @rileykojima