If you love fur, leather and cashmere – you’ll love Pascal Labelle. You could say Pascal is a master of outerwear. He’s been designing and creating exclusive pieces under his sought-after label for over 10 years and has managed to rack up some A-list wearers like Martine Forget, Ève Salvail and Walshy Fire.
One of the most unique elements of Pascal’s brand are the customized coats. Using his fine-tuned skills, Pascal creates one-of-a-kind statement pieces to reflect the personalities of his clients. He’ll be showing some of his best work in the <<United By Difference>> collection at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week this year.
I caught up with the designer prior to his TOM*FW debut to find out more about what his thoughts are on working with fur, how to get customized outerwear and who he’d love to see wearing his coats.
Seven Questions with Pascal Labelle
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: What do you think sets you apart from other outerwear designers?
PASCAL LABELLE: We create timeless and unique coats that clients can personalize with colours, linings, a personal signature, etc. We also try to be in-tune with the customer’s needs and help them create something they will be proud to wear.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: What made you want to get into fashion design?
PL: I went into fashion design because of my love for clothes, my love to create one piece at the time (not big production) and to connect with each and every one of my clients.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: Fur can be a controversial subject (personally, I love it) – how to do you react to negative comments?
PL: It’s a very controversial subject, but Pascal Labelle goes further than this subject alone. We try to focus our energy to create a universe that welcomes everyone no matter where they come from, what they look like and what their preferences are. We’re all about being united despite our differences. We concentrate on the positive aspects of life and try to share it as much as possible. We also want to offer great quality in our coats – coats that are durable and that have the least impact possible on the environment.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: Who’s someone you’d love to see wearing your designs?
PL: To be truthful, I love seeing people who are unique and out there wear them. It was already a huge honour to see Ève Salvail wear one of our coats with so much confidence. But in my dreams, I would love to see the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Drake, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Lady Gaga or Madonna wear one of my creations. So yeah, I guess I have a lot of dreams.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: You say your designs are inspired by stories and lifestyles of your clients. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration behind this collection for TOM*FW?
PL: Of course, we are so proud to be able to make people discover our brand in this part of Canada. For inspiration, we looked at our 10 years experience with clients. We met clients, asked about their preferences and what they are looking for in a coat. In all those years, we came across amazing success stories from high-careered professionals to real-life rock stars. Stories that made us realize we strive for uniqueness and authenticity. We value hard work and perseverance. All of these values and stories can be found in the line for the Toronto Men’s Fashion Week.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: How does the process of personalized coats work?
PL: The process is straightforward. We meet clients to talk about their expectations and preferences; we then create a mood board, we talk through it with the customer, we take their specific measurements, then help the client through the process from choosing the material, lining, etc. We combine our expertise and knowledge to the customer needs. Like mentioned earlier, for the new online collection, we will offer pieces that customers can personalize by changing the colours, the lining, add a personal signature inside, etc. We will also offer length and sizes to fit everyone.
THE LADY-LIKE LEOPARD: What advice would you have for someone breaking into the fashion industry?
PL: Oh that’s easy! Hard work, loyal friends and good connections are a must. And never forget to believe in your dreams and to never give up.
All photos courtesy of Pascal Labelle.