You have probably already heard about the very famous Parisian label APC. But do you know where the genesis of this brand comes from? Who is Jean Touitou, an iconic figure in French fashion? Sit down comfortably, take your big cup of tea and go for a retrospective of this discreet man with a b character symbol of ready-to-wear made in France.
From Tunis to Paris, a man curious about the world that surrounds him
Jean Touitou was born in Tunis, Tunisia in 1951. At the age of 9, the little boy and his family settled in Paris. After obtaining a baccalaureate in art history, he studied history and geography at the Sorbonne. Dedicated to becoming a history teacher, the child from Tunis will discover the world. He began a great journey in South and North America.
Upon his return, the man with a Marxist and Hegelian philosophy completely changed his professional career, letting himself be guided by his passion for art and fashion.
Professional experience, which will forge his knowledge of the textile sector
Jean.T has no training in the fashion industry and design. In the 1970s, through friends, he managed to become an assistant for the famous Japanese designer Kenzo. After having failed to create his own music label, Touitou returned to Kenzo. From 1980 to 1982, he continued his apprenticeship with the French designer Agnès b. He accompanied the opening of his first boutique in New York, in the Soho district. Finally, he decided to join the ranks of the Irié label from 1983 to 1985.
It was in 1987, following the motivation of his friends who had recognized his talent in him, that Jean Touitou decided to take off by creating his own ready-to-wear house: A.P.C..
A.P.C. Minimalism as a brand motto
In 1987, the creator of the Parisian label decided to launch his first clothing line. Named HIVER 87 (on this occasion, read our article “APC Winter 87 By Jean Touitou“, which returns on this collection), Jean.T has the ambition to offer chic, elegant pieces with a functional style. The year of the collection and the season perfectly reflect this. He wants to instill a trend of accessible, wearable fashion in everyday life without pretension. A.P.C. bases its strength on the processed cuts of its parts. He himself defines his creative vision as strict :
“The coloristic gerboulade, not so much for me. I enjoy flirting with frigidity. ” Jean Touitou
The brand experienced a dazzling rise and very quickly began to make a name for itself. It was then that the owner of the Parisian company decided to rename the A.P.C. label, literally meaning Atelier de Production et de Création.
An empire had just been born under the impetus of a man as brilliant as he was charismatic.
Jean Touitou, a designer above all
The founder of the Parisian label does not claim to be a creator, a couturier, or even a designer, he is above all a trend setter. His strength lies in his success in capturing the world around him by creating the trends that will stand the test of time. He draws inspiration from scenes of everyday life to offer elegant and timeless clothes. This talent he has notably shaped alongside the designer Agnès b with whom he made his mark.
He rejects any form of extravagance and completely assumes his style, which is sometimes considered too rigid by the creators of the 90s.
A.P.C. quickly became known with a creation that remains today the best seller of the brand, the denim by Jean Touitou.
A.P.C. denim, a denim revolution in fashion.
It all started in 1989, Jean T was looking to choose jeans from his dressing room. He then asks himself a question: why is there so little faded declination of jean denim? The idea was found, the creator of the Parisian brand remembers the gift of a famous designer with whom he had worked: a magnificent Japanese denim border.
As a result, it took him less than 15 days to design the first denim jeans for the ready-to-wear house. Aware of the exceptional quality of this fabric, the designer who created the gift refused to reveal its source.
Jean Touitou then went to Japan in search of the precious grail. He finally found the Japanese weaver. This one offers an even better offer that now makes the brand famous. Denim by A.P.C. has become an icon and a reference in the textile world. Even Hedi Slimane, a fashion giant and specialist in high-end denim, went through Dior and then Saint Laurent and became interested in Touitou’s know-how and denim.
Today A.P.C. has a multitude of parts including flagship models such as the small new standard or the sailor.
J.Touitou, marketing genius
The founder of A.P.C. is not only a designer, he is also at the origin of many original marketing operations. In 2009, the Tunisian designer launched a service called Butler. Through this program, the Parisian label’s customers have the opportunity to exchange their old jeans for a new one at half price. J. Touitou was able to identify the environmental issue and the need to recycle materials.
This concept has seduced lovers of vintage jeans but also the brand’s purists. A winning bet for this man advocating a philosophy of simple and minimalist unpretentious fashion.
“No one loses, because it would have taken our customers a year to wear out their jeans. I am especially proud to have found this exceptional fabric, developed for us in Japan twenty-seven years ago. ” Jean Touitou
The creator of the Parisian brand also very quickly understood that the trend towards customization and the rarity of a product are two very important variables in the world of fashion.
In 2019 A.P.C. under the impetus of Jean.T will meet its fans during a free session opened in the brand‘s studio. Customers of the French label could come with A.P.C. jeans or a tote bag (on this subject our article “Tote Bag APC – The Bag Of An Atelier De Production.“, is worth consulting); and Jean Touitou himself would paint your initials. An original concept that allowed the lucky ones to leave with a new and personal piece.
A man at the origin of assertive collaborations
The designer of the French label does not hesitate to regularly associate with brands or personalities in which he believes. In 2014, he collaborated for the second time with the very large Kanye West with the release of a capsule collection in a minimalist style. This one highlighted the savoir faire of the label including 8 pieces ranging from the t-shirt to the famous A.P.C. jeans. Touitou will even admit the difficulty of making this capsule so demanding is Kanye West.
“When we finally finished this collection, I thought, OK, if I made this happen, then I can bring peace to the Middle East. ” Jean Touitou
There was also an iconic collaboration with the famous rapper Kid Cudi in 2019. As part of a new project initiated by the creator of the label called “Interaction“, A.P.C. tends to offer many more collaborations (again, we have largely detailed the subject with “APC Interaction And Jean Touitou’s Label Collaborations.“). These will always remain the initiative of the owner of the Parisian company. The American rapper therefore signed a capsule collection of 8 pieces like his predecessor K. West.
This line is articulated around b pieces with a red leather perfecto and its print symbolizing hell according to the painter William Blake. These include t-shirts, pairs of shoes, overalls and jeans embroidered with the abbreviation “Dream On“.
A daring collection once again asserting the label’s brand and perfectly mixing 2 universes. Jean Touitou has succeeded in his challenge to bring a new perspective to his work by emerging from his creative Bubble.
In short, Jean Touitou is…
The founder of the famous A.P.C. label is a man who is passionate about several themes that come together, namely culture, creativity, art and music. He places himself as a personality against the current of fashion trends. He advocates a minimalist, functional style based on know-how and adjusted cuts.
He is not just a creator, he is above all a designer. This marketing genius has brought his haute couture house to the roof of the world with more than 70 points of sale scattered around the globe.
Little by little, A.P.C. opens up to surprising collaborations and does not hesitate to share its universe. The label having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017 has managed to survive the times, to become a recognized brand in the haute couture landscape. Jean Touitou has left his mark on the history of fashion forever.
About the A.P.C. Universe, find our articles :
- Sizing Guide : How to size APC for Men and Women ? Our advice.
- The 5 reasons that make A.P.C. one of the coolest brand
- APC jeans, minimalism and expertise
- The APC bag, classic, timeless and modern
- APC Hiver 87 by Jean Touitou | FR
- A.P.C. pour Elle : La beauté épurée
- A.P.C. FW19, the French touch
- A.P.C. U.S. : French Made In USA !
- APC Interaction And Jean Touitou’s Label Collaborations.