Pour Les Femmes debuted when a lifelong friendship transformed the sleepwear scene for every woman. Robin Wright and Karen Fowler are the innovators behind the brand of giving back. With a mission to empower the women of Congo through education and work opportunities, they have watched their brand soar high in the fashion industry. Conscious of the planet’s future, the creative duo have been magically transforming organic cotton fabric into luxuriously comfortable designs, that have become so appealing that they are expanding their brand far and beyond. With casual designs that are effortlessly chic, and colorful, you can be guaranteed many restful nights. By shifting their practices to biodegradable branding and being mindful of the longevity of their everlasting quality products, Robin and Karen are true ambassadors of sustainability and inclusivity. Meet the trendsetters behind the brand who have proven that comfort and luxury can truly coexist.
Tryano: Tell us more about “Pour Les Femmes” , where did it start, how it came to life and what it is about?
Pour Les Femmes: We have been friends for so long and always wanted to start a brand together. One day we were talking about how we couldn’t find any lightweight pajamas in the marketplace. We realized this was something that was missing and we felt passionate about creating it together. Our brand is built on giving back – an area important to us both and where we wanted to focus the foundation of the brand on. From there the name was born, Pour Les Femmes – For The Women. Our mission is to give the women of Congo a voice. By providing a voice, we empower these women through education and work, and in return they are able to support their families, send their children to school, and save for their future. We work closely with both Action Kivu and the Give Work Program in Congo. Both of these programs are truly amazing and have allowed us to give back in ways we never imaged. The most rewarding part of this process is seeing the success and freedom these women create.
T: Do you think comfort and fashion can coexist?
PLF: Absolutely! Comfort and fashion definitely go hand in hand. Personally, we feel women are their most authentic self when they are comfortable. You get more done and are so much more efficient when comfortable. We design each piece of the collection with versatility in mind and believe you can always look casually chic without over complicating things! Fashion doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.
T: Can you tell us a little bit more about the collection?
PLF: This season the collection is more vibrant than collections in the past. We focused on color and comfort and expanded into new fabrications, prints, and shapes. We are excited to debut our Japanese organic cotton pieces, lightweight wrap dresses that allow for maximum functionality, and our new swimmer print, which injected a playful twist to the collection. Our core collection is always present in a mix of organic cottons, linens, and silks. We believe in these classic and effortless styles, our definition of the Pour Les Femmes woman.
T: What brought you two (Robin Wright and Karen Fowler) together and how do you complement each other?
PLF: We have been friends for over 30 years. We met through a mutual
RW: Karen is an idea person, always coming up with different angles and strategies for the business.
KF: Robin has such a keen eye. With her director’s eye, she will look at something I designed and tweak it in the smallest way to make it perfect!
T: Some pieces have been created by women in Congo as part of the “Give Work Program”, how important is it for you and your brand to give back and what is the impact?
PLF: The most rewarding part of the brand is giving back. We set out to help Congolese women and they ended up changing our lives in more ways than they could ever imagine. They have circumstances unimaginable to most but have this amazing support system in their villages that helps each other like they are one big family. Their culture is rich in love and community. They have so little but give so much. We are thankful to be given the opportunity to work with these women. When we see the independence, they have gained from their work with the brand, we are humbled.
T: Robin, being an actress and a celebrity, does this help promote your brand?
RW: Being a celebrity gives you a voice to a captive and existing audience – it’s up to me on how I use it. I feel a strong responsibility to be a voice for the women in the Congo and am aware of the power this responsibility holds.
T: Sustainability is a big part of your brand’s DNA, do you feel that the retail industry is integrating sustainability in their strategies and operations or do you feel they are still lacking in that area?
PLF: Sustainability is forever changing. Change is coming and like all good change, it takes longer than we hope. We are always working on sustainability and won’t stop until we are where we need to be for our future and our planet. The retail industry is definitely working on it and voices are being heard. We have to be patient. Some of the bigger retailers will help lead the way, and the old way of doing business must change. Packaging, freight, and fabric waste must be reworked and updated to reflect sustainable goals. We are also focused on sleepwear, where you don’t need a new outfit every day and where trends are not part of Pour Les Femmes DNA. We want our customers to collect and wear their pieces forever.
T: Tryano’s campaign this season (SS20) revolves around sustainability in all its forms (environment, social, etc...). What are your thoughts on this and how do you see your brand develop in the Middle East and more specifically in Abu Dhabi?
PLF: In Abu Dhabi, it’s important for us to spread the word of who we are and our brand’s mission. We feel confident once the region understands we deeply care about the planet and sustainable practices; customers will fall in love. We are working on simplifying many areas of the brand, including eliminating plastic from our packaging and instead place pieces in lingerie bags made from left over fabric, shifting to biodegradable branding and packaging for hang-tags and shipping materials, and partnering with our wholesale accounts with the goal of eliminating the standardized shipping guidelines such as plastic hangers from all future orders. The sustainability, quality, and longevity of our products is front of mind for 2020.
T: What is next for the brand, will it expand to other categories? Would it still be focused only on women or are you planning to launch a men’s or kids version?
PLF: For now, we are focused on expanding into menswear and rounding out our women’s ready-to-wear collection and other areas of development include bedding and home items, such as candles. We are very excited to develop these categories and look forward to a year of growth!
Tryano invites you to delve into the world of Pour Les Femmes, and lose yourself in the mixed colors, prints and sustainable fabrics. Whether you’re seeking organic cotton, linen, or silk, you will definitely find your comfort in Pour Les Femme’s SS20 collection.
FIRE ROUND QUESTIONS
T: Favorite TV series?
K.F: The Crown.
R.W: The Handmaid's Tale.
T: Describe yourself in 3 words.
PLF: We would love to describe each other!
R.W describing K.F: Humorous, Hard Working, Loyal.
K.F describing R.W: Kind, Funny, Generous.
T: Morning or evening person?
K.F: Evening person.
R.W: Morning person.
T: Favorite place for holidays?
T: Favorite dish?
K.F: Mediterranean - Greek Food!
R.W: Mexican - Tacos!
T: What kind of music do you listen to?
K.F: I love old rock & roll and country. My go to artist is Journey.
R.W: I love discovering new artists.