l’amour est bleu was founded with a vision to change the fashion industry. My desire is to create beautiful sustainable fashion that women will love and wear throughout their lives. To do this, I search for the most beautiful sustainable fabrics and create capsule collections that are easy to wear and combine well with each other. From the beginning, we have produced fairly in Germany, although production in Vietnam would not have been out of the question due to my mother tongue and network. Due to the complexity of the textile supply chain, I ultimately decided on production Made in Germany. The short distances allowed me to have the greatest possible influence on the transparency and sustainability of my supply chain. A few years later, I would never have thought it possible to have my clothes made by Vietnamese tailors in Berlin.
From pre-production to made to order
The first collections of l’amour est bleu were classically pre-produced – in small quantities, but still, there were leftovers at the end and that annoyed me a lot. It went against my idea of sustainability that resources and labour are invested in a garment that remains hanging on a clothes rail. My basic idea of l’amour est bleu was to produce garments only on order, to make only what is needed. I was talked out of this now very common production model at the time. But after several collections with leftover stock, I decided to give made to order a chance.
I worked with Karen, a freelance tailor, at the beginning and after a short time we found our rhythm and it worked flawlessly to make the clothes to order. But the greatest thing was that the customers accepted the longer waiting time of 10 days! The demand grew and suddenly I had to find new tailors to serve the orders.
Textile production in Berlin
Through Karen I found my second seamstress Annika, but I soon needed more support and found none. Out of complete perplexity, I wrote to my photographer Vivienne in the hope that she knew some Vietnamese tailor. And she did indeed have an acquaintance whose parents ran a tailor shop. So I marched with my cuts and patterns to the tailor’s shop in Friedrichshain and asked, in my broken Vietnamese, if they could make my orders for me. When they looked at me silently with wide eyes, I asked uncertainly, “Or would you prefer German?” Yen and her husband Toan asked me in horror why my Vietnamese language skills were so poor!
In the meantime, I have shifted the entire production of l’amour est bleu to Yen and through our purely Vietnamese communication, my language skills have improved significantly. While I made all the cuts and patterns myself in the beginning, Yen has taken over this area for the most part. She also coordinates the production of orders among her tailors and develops designs for the l’amour est bleu collections. Six months ago, we started producing orders for other fashion labels.
““It’s not an easy path to change the fashion industry, but it feels easier when you have support”.
From lone fighter to team
“I am very happy that I have now built up a small team to support me with l’amour est bleu. It is not an easy way to change the fashion industry, but it feels easier when you have support. Above all, I am very happy to have found someone in Yen who loves her work as much as I do and finds fulfilment in it. Finally, I would like to give Yen the opportunity to tell you more about herself:
“I was born and raised in Vietnam. I cut a shirt for the first time when I was 13 and sewed it by hand because my parents didn’t make enough money to afford a sewing machine. It took me a whole day to sew the shirt and my mother and friends praised me for making it look like it was sewn with a machine. My mother recognised my talent and sent me to train as a tailor. In 1987, the textile factory where I worked sent me to East Berlin as a guest worker to the company Damenmoden Berlin. In 1998, I opened my own tailor’s shop for new productions and alterations. But new designs were hardly in demand and in the long run I was bored just repairing clothes. I always wanted to be a pattern maker and dressmaker and was afraid that I would forget the knowledge I had learned if I only repaired clothes. The only thing I liked about being an alteration tailor was that I got to customise clothes for my customers and they were happy. But in 2018, I reached a point where I was becoming increasingly unhappy with my work. I am a very devout Christian and asked God to allow me to tailor new clothes again. A short time later, Thien actually came to my tailoring shop and asked me if I would like to work for her. What I love about my job is that I make clothes for women that make them feel beautiful. So I am grateful for any feedback from our customers that helps us improve our clothes. Because making our customers happy is a matter close to my heart”.