“There is no strategic formula to dressing. It’s all about wearing what you feel comfortable in,” says Jeanne Damas when the word style is called into question. The role-juggling entrepreneur, who oscillates between creative direction, brand consultancy and modelling, is also one of Paris’s most influential dressers, boasting – unsurprisingly – more than 600,000 Instagram followers – yet another string to her multi-faceted bow. Now the Paris-born and based woman can add yet another title to her ever-extending portfolio – fashion entrepreneur.
When it comes to starting a fashion brand, an acute eye for aesthetic comes first, but an active social media strategy ranks a close second—Jeanne Damas is a master of the two, so the launch of her brand Rouje earlier this year was expected, if not inevitable.
“My vision of fashion puts functionality, femininity and of course, comfort first. I wear clothes that make me feel beautiful and I design classic pieces with that same aim in mind. I want women to feel good and comfortable, the two can and do run in parallel. It’s really important for me to not follow trends because I really like the idea that a wardrobe is something that’s about you, it should represent who you are and how you dress. These pieces aren’t ‘It’ pieces, they are classic, they fuse function with beauty.”
The word ‘function’ isn’t usually one to set pulses racing, but when spoken in a prototype French accent - as they are with Jeanne - we can’t help but feel assured that this combination of function and beauty is one we want in on. It is this, her effortless, Birkin-inspired style made up of silk shirts and vintage denim, that is magnetic to her followers who can prescribe her effortless yet always luxurious aesthetic via Jeanne’s own clothing line Rouje.
For Jeanne, the production of her brand Rouje found conception naturally, beginning with one very simple foundation: friendship. “Nathalie Dumeix has encouraged me in so many ways,” says Damas about her life-long friend and stylist. “Our friendship was the starting point of Rouje. It is a brand that was born and lives through that all-important relationship that is friendship.”
Friendship is at the core of Rouje, not merely through the enduring creative collaboration felt between Jeanne and Nathalie, but through Jeanne’s own network of fashionable friends who are at the forefront of her mind as she is curating collections. “The thinking behind Rouje is that it will be and is, made up of capsule collections that can translate to my own wardrobe and that of my friends. That’s who I make these clothes for, myself and my friends. I don’t like excessive consumption, Rouje will never be that. We work step-by-step, and slowly with a real focus on product design and selection with the central aim being that we maintain brand value.”
We asked this first-time founder/ CEO/ creative director to share her inspirations, her essentials and her favourite parts of Paris, the city that she vows she will never never leave.
By Elizabeth Coop for Semaine.