Premium Parisian menswear imprint, FUTUR has been a fashionable force to be reckoned with for six years and counting.
Boldly operating alongside some of the world’s most legendary fashion houses, from one of the most highbrow, cutthroat, style-centric cities, FUTUR prides itself on high quality craftsmanship and daring designs that offer up an edgier, hipper, more youthful perspective than the traditionally more conservative style stalwarts of Paris. Add to this their refreshing, almost complete disregard for social media, and you have a brand that focuses on product over persona, relying primarily on grassroots, word-of-mouth promotion. Founded by Felix Schaper and Ben Frédonie, FUTUR’s designs are heavily inspired by the duo’s passion for skateboarding, and the brand even sponsors their own skate team. But, as Felix is quick to point out, this is no skate brand. It’s scope is bigger and more expansive than that. Bodega caught up with Schaper to talk about style, skateboarding, coexisting with France’s fashion giants, and of course, the FUTURe.
What is your mission statement?
FUTUR is a chic sporting apparel brand for active & intelligent people with wit & humor.
What made you start your own label? What were you doing prior?
Both me and my partner Ben were working for a California-based skate brand at the time and we were pretty blocked in Europe on many projects by the US. At one point an opportunity opened up to start our own project over here in Europe and we decided to give it a go.
How would you describe your clothing line?
Primarily, FUTUR is a premium Menswear brand. Foremost we value quality of production, choice of material and graphic aesthetics. We come from skateboarding, so this obviously influences the direction of our style a bit, but we definitely do not market ourselves as a skate brand. We are a clothing brand.
What is it like having a label like yours like in a city known for high fashion giants?
It’s great in the sense that a lot of international shops and people visit Paris on a regular basis, which makes it easier for us to be seen. But on the other hand, there is so much going on that everything kind of blends in and it’s harder to stand out.
How many people are involved in FUTUR?
We are 2 in Europe and 1 person in Japan. There are many people around us that help out though. The guys on our team for instance— or photographers, friends, etc.
Biggest accomplishment so far?
The Pop-up at Bodega LA :) and running a brand for almost 6 years now. We were also happy with some collaboration with other brands we did.
What are your influences?
Pictures, Xcell files
Brands you look up to?
We have a lot of affinity for Japanese brands for some reason. Both me and Ben really like Mountain Research. But there are many!
Why the decision to stay away from social media. Is it not a necessary evil?
It’s a lot of work to have social media. We gave it a try without, and it proved that you can still grow a brand like back in the days without Instagram. We focused more on the relationship with our clients. When we launched our online shop a year and a half ago we also started Instagram. Just to create traffic. The funny thing is that now some people think the brand is only one-and-a-half years old. People tend to judge easily through your appearance on social media.
Tell us about the role of skateboarding in the brand. Do you guys have a “skate team?” I read that part of the intent of the company is taking people on skate trips.
It’s important; it’s part of the DNA of the brand, although that sounds mad cheesy. We have given skaters on our team clothing since day one and spent most of our extra money on taking the team on trips to create videos.
We have a room full of skaters here at Bodega, but most of us are not familiar with skating in Europe. What is the skate scene like in Paris? Can you skate the landmarks? I assume those spots are closely monitored.
The skateboarding scene is huge in Paris. You can skate almost anything without getting busted. The city is actually investing a lot in creating plazas for skating too.
What are some of your favorite spots outside of Paris, and in other parts of Europe?
Me personally, I like Milano Centrale (the train station) a lot. It’s a bit of a ghetto spot but the scene is super tight knit. Everybody protects everybody’s belongings. You need to chain your bags to a pole there :) The spot has a lot of history too.
Any near future goals for Futur? Have you considered a store at all?
Yes, this would be in Japan. We ideally would like to combine it with a small bar.