Sustainable French Fashion: Anne-Sophie from Kimaya

Trendy and Joyful

Anne-Sophie was born in France, where she lived until she was 32 years old. She is still a bit ‘new’ to Auroville, as she moved here a few years ago. So, she finds, “I am still very French.” What has traveled with her from France is her passion for fashion. “Since I am kid, I know fashion design is my thing. It came naturally. At 6, I was making clothes, even just by tying dish towels together, and I was organizing fashion shows in my parents’ living room. With the important difference of course, that the people in the first row weren’t journalists or editors, but my family members. At 15, I started my studies in the school of arts. I painted a lot at that time. Then I went to a fashion school in Paris and right after my graduation, I started to work as a designer for different brands.”


For Anne Sophie, it was only a matter of time before she would start her own fashion line. “I have been thinking about this project for a very long time, but only last year I took the plunge to set up Kimaya. Everything happened very naturally: I met the right people at the right time and things fell into place.” And Kimaya is a totally different experience, now that she has moved out the fashion capital of the world. “In my previous life in Paris, I was looking for inspiration, analyzing trends and it was a full-time work of observation, looking at colours, fabrics, travelling. Now in Auroville, my creative process is very different. I am not anymore interested in the latest fashion trend and magazines but I connect with my heart and look at what brings me joy. My designs are more personal now.”

There is something special about doing this work in Auroville instead of Paris, as here, the work is inside and out. “Auroville is my home, but it also means for me unending education. This place is a laboratory, where we all experiment and learn how to grow individually and collectively. I’ve learned so much about myself since I came here. Of course, sometimes it is challenging, but it is worth the work for making a change and manifesting something. I feel grateful and lucky to be part of this adventure in constant progress, to have the possibility to do what I love most and to evolve with people from so many countries, cultures and backgrounds.”

Creating a New Collection

Kimaya has just launched its first collection, so we are curious to know how the beautiful pieces came into existence. “When I start a new collection, I don’t have a specific process. It is always different. Sometimes it starts with fabrics, sometimes with an association of colour shades, sometimes with a print pattern, sometimes with sketches and sometimes with a mix of everything. For the first season of Kimaya, I felt in love with hand loomed weaves, banana fiber fabric, and with natural indigo dyeing. I started sketching with these ingredients. Then ideas flowed and new components came up: organic jersey cotton, batik prints…” After understanding what she would like for materials, colours, and prints, some ‘structuring’ is needed to make a full collection. “For example, you need to make sure there is a good ratio between tops and bottoms, a good balance between the different shapes, colours… There are also some modifications from the first samples.” 

Shiloh Dress

And then, of course, there is the question of how to make the collection affordable. “Another important aspect is the commercial one. Not the most exciting for me! Because as a designer, I tend to always select and love the most beautiful and expensive fabrics, finishings, and details. But the final target price has to be taken in consideration at an early stage. So creating a collection is a mix of different aspects. That’s what I love to do the most! A new collection is like a puzzle, and the last piece is the photo shoot. Until the shooting, nothing is definitely settled. The weaving of a fabric can be delayed at the last minute, so it is very important to be creative and flexible as a designer.” And, how does she feel about the result? “Amazing! My favourite piece is the Shiloh dress, because of the pure simple lines and the handmade fabric.”

Life As Co-Creation

Anne Sophie has a clear vision for her brand, which is rooted in taking care of every aspect of production: “All the fabrics are organic, hand loomed and naturally dyed. It comes directly from local weavers in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. That is essential for me, to be respectful to people, to Mother Earth, to do commerce fairly, consciously and sustainably. Life is all about co-creation.” And for her future ventures, which will include a line of jewellery, a second womenswear collection, and commercial development, she plans to stick to these principles. Making all these parts move by herself – design, commerce, sustainability – is very challenging, she admits. “Draining even, sometimes. But so, so stimulating.”  

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