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Interview

Maison Atia: Faux Fur, Real Luxury with Co-Founder Chloé Mendel

Get ready to channel your inner Cruella de Vil because Maison Atia is giving you 101 reasons to wear fur again.

Get ready to channel your inner Cruella de Vil because Maison Atia is giving you 101 reasons to wear fur again. Reason 1: Maison Atia doesn’t use real fur. Reason 2: Maison Atia makes faux fur look fabulous — not fake.

Chloé Mendel is a sixth generation member of the house of Mendel, making design capability a critical part of her DNA. After training in the atelier of her father, Gilles Mendel, she collaborated with Gilles in his 2016 haute couture collection. But there is one thing Chloé doesn’t have in common with the legacy of designers before her: fur! When she decided to start her own brand with Gustave Maisonrouge, this was the one thing she left behind in order to forge a more sustainable future. And that future is full of handbags, pillows, coats, jackets, shoes, bracelets and necklace pouches– thanks to Maison Atia!

We caught up with Chloé in the midst of closing her incredibly successful pop-up to hear all about her future plans for life, fashion, and family.

YOUR DAY

Morning routine?

I sleep for as long as I can. Typically, one child wakes up around 6:15 a.m. (I have two kids under 4 years old). I wait ‘til one starts calling for me. Then, we all brush our teeth and negotiate what’s for breakfast — a lot of negotiating.Then, we make breakfast as we listen to our jukebox in the kitchen.

I sip a cup of English breakfast tea while I watch my children destroy breakfast as the baby gets it all in her hair.

Get dressed. Moisturize my face. Read emails and sort out what we need to do for the day. Oh, and I try to meditate for 10 minutes somewhere in that mix.

One eco-friendly choice you make every day?

I only use natural cleaning products throughout my whole home. I can’t bear the thought of washing my clothes and home with harsh chemicals that are harmful to us and the earth. In fact, I even make many of the cleaning products myself (white vinegar and essential oil does wonders in one’s home!).

By your bed?

A bottle of high pH water… Random children’s toys… A new cookbook… A notebook because I tend to remember everything I forgot to do that day right before bedtime… And no cellphone! I charge my phone in the bathroom to keep distractions away at night.

YOUR STYLE

Favorite item in your closet?

My Maison Atia faux fur coats of course!

Day-to-night outfit?

Honestly, I am all about versatility. What I wear during the day crosses-over with evening wear. In addition, I don’t glam myself up too often. I tend to wear vintage courreges dresses and tights with a good boot. It’s kind of been my uniform lately, especially if I need to look like a professional person (ha).

Go-to work ensemble?

Same as above, but the design studio can get messy at times. So, denim overalls! All day, every day!

YOUR CITY

What you love most?

In NYC, I love my family the most! That’s the best part for me. Having my parents + siblings around :)

Go-to lunch spot?

Recently, I have been frequenting this plant-based kitchen called Le Botaniste. It’s great for quick, healthy and yummy meals on-the-go.

Favorite stores to shop at?

Hmmmm… I honestly don’t shop all that much! My favourite spot for vintage sunglasses is Selima Optique.

YOUR BUSINESS

In what ways has having a business partner helped with running your company?

Oh gosh, I’m a mess! I need someone who can double-check the bills, strategize business plans, care for customers with their heart + soul,push me to be on time, and so much more! Gustave has been a dream-come-true! He does everything that I can’t (and don’t like to) do so well! He’s a fantastic business partner and a great support. It’s important to balance responsibilities because it’s impossible for one person to “do it all” and do it well. Of course there is overlap, but knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses is key.

What makes your products more sustainable than other faux fur products on the market?

This year, we are making a new collection from recycled water bottles + natural fibers and launching it as “MA by Maison Atia.” It is 100% sustainable! How cool is that? I think we are the only ones offering such an innovative faux fur line. In addition to this super cute line, we strive to be as low-waste as possible in our productions. Fashion, as we all know, is a wasteful industry. So, how do we reduce waste? Maison Atia makes accessories with all of the fabric scraps from our production. This is more expensive to do because we have to hand-cut each accessory from the uneven pieces of scrap fabric, but we would rather uphold responsible practices. Otherwise, this fabric would typically be thrown away. Finally, we donate any leftover fabric to FABSCRAP.

Maison Atia makes accessories with all of the fabric scraps from our production.

Your take on the future of fashion and sustainability?

I only hope that the fashion industry transitions into more responsible practices. We are in a world of ‘disposable’ fashion today, which is unfortunate in my opinion. I have always been an advocate for shopping for pieces, cherishing them and wearing them over and over again. Quality over quantity!If we as consumers use our dollars more consciously, the industry will follow-suit. It is our job as the consumer to lead the industry into a better future.

Upcoming projects in store for Maison Atia?

All secrets. But, you should check out our KOIO collaboration! We designed a super chic (vegan!) platform sneaker.I’m obsessed.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a graduate from Columbia University with majors in English and Creative Writing. She is a freelance writer and marketing assistant working for clients in the wellness, jewelry, creative, and sports industries. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. Spending much of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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