Alexander, Laurent and Raphael Elisha were all destined to work in fashion: their father, Tony, is the founder of the brand ‘Comptoir des Cotonniers’, and he soon involved his sons in his adventure. In 2008, the three brothers developed some strategies (advertising in pairs), adapted their target market (young and trendy couples), and The Kooples was born. Three years later, it is one of the fastest growing textile brands in France and abroad…
It was from word of mouth that The Kooples became known: even before opening the first store, the brand had launched a major advertising campaign featuring couples, with no mention of the brand. It was to attract attention, but also to show the originality of the concept: one shop for both men and women, with almost mixed collections, as shown in the slogan « A locker room for two. » Heterosexual or homosexual, young or old, all types of couples were represented. Their only similarity? Style.
The brand focuses on rock and classic British references. Grey and black dominate, either in collections, decoration of shops or the design of the website. Skulls, blazers and chains are emblems of the brand: « We have always been immersed in the world of English dandyism and we wanted to create this world in fashion, chic and quirky, which changes each season while keeping trends of its own, « says Alexander during an interview with l’Express.
The three brothers also boast of designs that have come straight from Savile Row, the famous road of tailors in London. Even if the clothes are then sewn in China, it does not make a massive difference to the price tag – « But a €500 tailor that last a lifetime is cheaper than dozens of € 50 tailors that only last a season or two …”
The brand was immediately a huge hit, and competitors agree that the dandy, unisex combination for couples wanting top-notch, sharp but accessible clothing was a stroke of genius. There is indeed a menswear collection and a women’s collection, but many parts can be worn by both sides. « Spouses are often fashion advisers. They get dressed in the same place and ask the other’s opinion, instead of hanging around on the couch … « says Alexander, artistic director of the brand. For them, couples work in harmony (to the point of paying for each other’s clothes), but with a high degree of independence, it is almost like a relationship of partners, in which each helps the other to look their best – in giving advice when choosing their clothes, but also by showing them high fashion trends. The legendary couples they look up to are Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger, and the younger Kate Moss and Pete Doherty … who are also going to create a collection for the brand!
What type of clientele do the three brothers attract? Mainly young, urban and trendy couples who do not hesitate to share their clothes: « We wanted to offer an androgynous look, » says Alexander. «Women like borrowing their men’s clothes, their styles reflect a ‘rock’ and ‘free’ personality. » Some blame the brand for offering a sharper choice for men than for women: « It is simply because women’s fashion is everywhere, much has already been done. We really wanted to be precursors for men who want to have an image as thought-out as their girlfriends.”
Rapid success was also part of their plan: the three brothers wanted to quickly impose their brand to rapidly reach mass markets. Three years after the launch, The Kooples has 60 shops – always located in trendy areas – and 50 corners in department stores, and plans to increase its outlets internationally. The three brothers refuse to disclose their turnover, but make no secret of their ambitions: « Continue at this rate, open 100 more stores in the next 3 years, and become known around the world! » Certainly, for the Elisha’s, fashion and success is in their blood…