Who is G.Kero
G.kero is the story of an artist who started drawing from the tender age of 3, and never stopped.
I grew up in Cap Ferret where I started drawing and then painting. I worked on my pencil stroke, on the line, then at 18 I became more interested in color and I went to Rome at my aunts’.Somewhere along the way, I became passionate about animated films and ended up leaving my art school (La Cambre) at 22, pretty unhappy. I had been working on computers a lot and wanted to go back to hand painting.
My brother Philippe (who is also my partner in G.KERO), visiting Brazil at that time, asked me to send him some of my drawings to print on t-shirts. It was fun for me to give a new life to these ladies that I had animated in a cartoon. I then began to paint on T-shirts that I sold to my friends and to friends of friends around me. Antonin, another one of my brothers, had a rock band, Hangar, and for them I drew pretty girls on white t-shirts, and all the fans wanted the same ones.
Everyone was asking me for a T-shirt, it was then that we decided to create GKERO to print them, with my brother and partner Philippe and a childhood friend of his, Arnaud, who today is the third partner in GKERO. We kept the handmade spirit and launched the first Collection. We started to make shirts, sweatshirts, skirts, jackets, silk Kimonos…
I had to develop a kind of drawings especially designed for the garments and it became more and more interesting.
For example, instead of painting a picture with a portrait of David Bowie, I draw recognizable little Bowies over a shirt. This process is fun because from the way of drawing to the idea of representing this person on a nice garment, there is a concept. I knew I was onto something when I worked on this character.
When Kate Moss happened to wear the shirt, we were happy!
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspirations are animals, expressive beings, as rock stars often are, landscapes, everything I find beautiful. it can be abstract too!
I love music and it always supported my imagination. Music opens my chakras.
G. Kero manufacture in Portugal in family owned workshops that respect the environment. What are the biggest challenges for an ethical and eco-responsible brand like yours?
To not make clothes that wear out too quickly and must be discarded after a few wears. And not make too large a collection only to throw three quarters of it.
Another difficult challenge is to succeed in creating beautiful things but in small quantities. You have to convince the factories and be ready to pay more.
We mustn’t take the ‘easy trade’ way and start degrading the quality of clothing, on the pretext that it sells better because it is cheaper. I cannot bear this idea. It is people’s living standards that must be raised by paying them better and taxing them less. But today we keep wages low, a lot of taxes and we manufacture poor quality items to sell to people, often reaching high margins anyway since the products are made by children in Asia ...
Advice to give to a young brand wishing to develop their business in an ethical and sustainable way?
Don’t do too much, aim for the right idea, for quality. One good shirt rather than 3 average. Find inspiration in nature or life, avoid copying what others do.
Do you see a renewed interest from consumers for a more artisanal and local fashion, for a more reasonable mode of consumption?
Yes, of course, even the big brands of mass consumption and fast fashion have noticed it and start to present ‘conscious’ collections, even if obviously in their case it is fake and only a communication facade. But few are those who make ethical and responsible products in an honest way.
We can’t say that a large part of the population is interested in buying more expensive, more beautiful and more sustainable things, they would have to be interested in the environment and beauty. Our mass-consumption society has embedded in our brains just the opposite, the vulgar, the ugly, the cheap, the immediate (just do it). Opposite to that, those who have the leisure to turn to crafts, usually make the right choice! Unfortunately, it is a luxury.
How can the fashion industry progress? Can the consumer help this evolution?
The consumer and the fashion industry go hand in hand. One influences the other. If those making fashion care about the environment, they lead the consumer to do so too. And vice versa. The fashion industry can progress by slowing down, no doubt. By moving from the "just do it" era to the "just think about it".
By no longer producing plastic, by organizing efficient recycling chains, no working children, by paying workers well, by reducing margins... We do not need the government for that but if they make too much off taxes and tax work too much, as it is the case in France, the small creators will simply be unable to meet these challenges. Meanwhile the big monopolies of the ready-made industry will continue to manufacture at low costs in Asia and exploit children... Therefore, the state has a very heavy ecological and economic responsibility...
G. Kero donates 100 pieces each year to charitable organizations so that they can raise funds but also to raise awareness on certain topics. Is it important for brands to take concrete actions and not to be satisfied with a simple argument?
An action is worth more than a thousand words.
How do you see fashion evolve in France in the coming years?
What we see today is the reign of capitalism at its worst. The creation of gigantic monopolies that kill all around them. That means the opening of large department stores that manufacture and sell for cheap by copying small creators.
Then you have ‘small creators’ brands like us, precarious, upstream, undergoing unfair competition, when it is not counterfeiting, from these large groups that also pay little or no tax in France, as we are suffocated by taxation and the tax on labour that makes what we do impossible - precisely not to disturb the big monopolies of luxury or mass ready-made items.
What about G. Kero? How would you like to continue developing the brand?
We would like to become bigger and better known to show an example of beauty, ethics, of doing good, and to say that it is possible. That it is possible to succeed otherwise.
Photos Stephanie Lou
Model Ayak @ Marilyn Models Paris