Originally from Sweden, Fia Reispass - Founder and Designer of Petitbo - now spends her Sunday mornings on the west coast of France. From her balcony she sees the early rising surfers run barefoot past the local bakery as they are heading to the beach break around the corner. Inspired by this sunny beach-side lifestyle in Biarritz, France and her previously urban lifestyle in Sweden, Fia has created a unique Petitbo style she calls "Nordic Bohemian with a French touch". This spring, Petitbo's bohemian chic design includes their signature fringes, incredibly comfortable everyday wear made with GOTS-certified organic cotton and lovely, warm colors.
Please tell us more about this collection, what can we expect, what inspired you while creating this collection?
The spirit of Petitbo is a mix of Rock n´ Roll/Bohemian. Usually the spring/summer collections tend to be more bohemian and the fall/winter collections to be more Rock n´ Roll. I have the new collection in my head long before it gets sketched down on a paper. The colors, prints, details etc. Directly after having created a new collection the next one is already on the way. I always have my fundamental inspirations that never change, what´s me and that gives Petitbo its niche. I always make an inspiration wall and for SS15 there are a lot of Native American details on it as well as ethnic prints, shades of blue and peach, the ocean and strong, confident girls.
(Before Pinterest was a thing, there were walls. Loving Fia's inspirational wall!)
Born and raised in Sweden and now living by the beach on the French West Coast, please tell us about your journey and how Petitbo was born along the way!
I met my French husband in Stockholm in 2005 and it was love at second sight - long story, haha. We decided after only 6 months that I would leave Stockholm to come live with him in Biarritz, France. I never even hesitated for a second, it was meant to be! I left Sweden 4 days later.
I´ve known since I was a little that I wanted to work with fashion. Directly after high school I entered fashion design school and continued on to work for different brands in Stockholm, most recently as a visual merchandiser for H&M. After having been in France for less than a year I suddenly felt a big urge to start my own brand! Our kitchen table wasn´t big enough for making adult patterns so I got started with some children’s styles and, voila! Petitbo was born! It´s been a long journey from idea to where Petitbo is today. In the beginning I produced everything myself, then my younger brother came along to help me. When we could no longer handle the production ourselves I went to look for producers. Today we produce everything in Portugal. It´s only a 7 hour car ride from where I live in Biarritz so I can easily go there whenever I feel the need to.
(Lovely summer day in Biarritz)
While on the topic of manufacturing in Portugal - we share a passion for sustainability and ethical manufacturing. Why do you find it important to be personally involved throughout the production process?
For me it´s important to have the production close for several reasons, first so that I can easily go there in no time whenever I need to check something. It can be a huge stress when production is not working correctly so to be present is incredibly important. Then it´s of course the ethic side, I know that the people who make our clothes have good work conditions and are paid appropriately with great benefits. I love the fact that I can go and say hi to them, shake their hands and say thank you for all the work they put down in making our clothes!
We decided to start with organic cotton 5 years ago, it was obvious to go that way. All that we can do to be more kind to our planet is a must.
(Milou wearing a Petitbo fringed favorite from SS14 in Sweden, summer 2014. Made with 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton that feels oh-so soft)
For us non-French speakers, what does Petitbo mean?
Petitbo in French means a small piece of something, but the correct way to spell it is petit bout. For me the meaning is also small bohemian. It´s always difficult to decide names and it took some time for me to decide on Petitbo. It felt right, I simply like the way it´s pronounced!
(Sneak peak of the Spring/Summer 2015 collection. Soon to be available at Ruth & Ragnar!)
For those of us who dream of a weekend on the French West Coast, please tell us what a Sunday morning looks like for you in Biarritz!
On Sundays we like to sleep a bit longer, no stress. My husband and I both have our own companies and sometimes it´s a bit too much work and it´s difficult to find time for each other. So Sunday mornings are kind of sacred! A long breakfast with fresh bread from the local bakery, some soft music and too much coffee while talking for hours. A chance to catch up! We love to sit on our small balcony with a view over the local bakery. To feel the morning sun on our faces and to watch the surfers run barefoot thru the streets to reach the ocean. We live only 400 meters from the beach and on stormy days we can even hear the big waves roll in.
(Fia Reispass, Founder and Designer of Petitbo.)
What music are you listening to right now?
Lately I have been crazy about Christine and The Queens and especially the song Saint Claude. The perfect car music! One of the most interesting French singers for the moment, love it!
Thank you Fia! We are eagerly waiting for those fringes to arrive. It's going to be a bohemian kind of spring!
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