A movement born years prior had continued to flourish and grow for the biannual François Duperval pop-up shop.
It wasn't your average Wednesday night. Hump day: the marker of half of the week being over while another half lies on the horizon ready to conquer. As some carried the woe of Wednesday and assumed the disparity to follow for the next day that was a step closer to the weekend but not close enough, a group of creatives gathered for something greater than any regular Wednesday. Fashion. Music. Culture. A movement born years prior had continued to flourish and grow for the biannual François Duperval pop-up shop.
I got to the event at 8 p.m. Early as an attendee, but late as part of media. With the event technically beginning, with 8 p.m. to midnight listed as the event time, the men behind the movement were adding the final touches inside as a growing line continued to increase in size outside the door. A crowd waiting to get in to enjoy the positive energy, complimentary drinks, and the latest pieces from the François Duperval collection. Within minutes, the door opens and in flowed the members of the movement.
By 8:30 p.m., the crowd of attendees was larger with more supporters filling the room: amazing to see when you think only 30 minutes has passed since the doors opened. Each with their own purpose, their own personal style.
Media personalities and outlets sharing the brand's story with their audience. Other attendees are there to buying pieces from the new collection. Whether they came with their own cliques, or solo, everyone used the event as an opportunity to meet new people and network. Photographers talking to models. Media personalities talking to event planners. Already the event proves it's beyond just a pop-up shop.
François Duperval. Foreign sounding in name, yet a name many in the New Jersey/NYC area have become familiar with. The clothing-based brand full of streetwear with a cool, collective demeanor began as an outlet to express fashion and has since grown to become a movement, as noted by the man behind the brand.
"François Duperval is a lifestyle," Jean Claude François said, the founder and designer behind the brand. "We’ve just been progressing. Trying to be innovative, staying creative, and just making our own path in streetwear culture."
The man behind the label isn't the only one to notice the brand's ability to go beyond the title of a clothing line. "When we say a movement it’s really about people really moving with the brand and growing with us," Lahai 'LQ' Garber said, Marketing Director.
While their words are an indicator of the movement, the event turnout confirms their notions: actions always speak louder than words, and the look of the crowded room shouted out to anyone in attendance something greater than clothes was happening. The room warmed up—which is more than just the result of the temperature rising—with the positive energy that filled the room.
Among the crowd of people socializing, laughing, and adding to the vibes circulating the room, something stood out. An example of the movement and the hard work paying off that the men had committed to months prior: the clothing. White paper bags weave through the crowded room. Plain, yet a symbol of support. One purchase after the other. Proof of their allegiance to the mission.
Familiar faces circulate. Not only for myself, but for other attendees as well. Artists part of the showcase walk around connecting with people they might not know as well as talking to those who came out to support them: one is even donning an aviator flight jacket part of the new collection.
Attendees make their way to get one drink, and another, and another. So many it's easy to lose count thanks to the gracious bartender. This is how you know François Duperval is more than just the clothing. It's an entire movement that not only receives support but gives thanks to those that support them. A small staple of support is nothing compared to the unlimited amount of drinks attendees are enjoying of good, high quality wine and spirits and a blend of new music and old school hits that would make any late-80s and 90s baby feel nostalgic. Shoutout to the DJ. Creating an experience attendees are sure to remember and will be expecting come the next event in six months.
When asked about the brand that combines the surname of his father (François) and mother (Duperval), François speaks passionately about the clothing line he created four years ago. Currently enrolled in art school and the primary designer behind the brand, François' experience in dealing with fashion and clothing design helps him, and his team, create a brand that stands a part. "We know fashion is a very trendy thing," François said. "We want to keep our own identity by just making our own lane and having people follow us instead of us following them."
In a climate where companies are constantly fighting one another for the attention of customers, and potential clientele, it's easy to get lost and succumb to conformity than to stand out. "We don’t follow any trends. We make them," Garber said.
"The great thing about the brand is just invigorates itself," Garber said. His words ring true as he shares, and laughs, about the brand being bootlegged twice in China, proving their reach and stretch beyond the Garden State.
"We just love to be creative. We always try to do something that hasn’t been done or something that’s not really out in the fashion world right now," François said.
Garber's story of the company being bootlegged and copied stands out because that's what any clothing company fears. Along the mass of competitors with similar demographics, lower price points, and similar designs, having your designs copied is included on the list of things that can make or break you as an independent clothing line. In the case of François Duperval, obstacles have not stopped them.
From being copied in China to even having the cops patrol around the event as a crowd of people gather outside for a breath of fresh air with both François and I fearing the event might be shut down with an hour and 20 minutes left, Francois and his team are grateful for the constant support. "[that’s] just motivation for us to continue to grind and grow and be creative and make some dope apparel," François said.
Cops are gone. Drinks are still flowing. And the movement is continuing both inside the event and beyond with the brand's growing worldwide reach. The good thing about being an adult, you can be a part of a movement despite the day, even if it is the middle of the week. Imagine having to miss out on something like this.