Instagram-loved fashion label Rouje is launching a 100% upcycled collection

Written by Harriet Davey

Stylist speaks to French founder, style icon and beauty mogul Jeanne Damas about the new upcycled collection: Re-Rouje.

We Brits tend to see Parisian women as people who possess innate style credentials, who pull off the ‘I haven’t even tried’ look and have impeccable taste when it comes to fashion brands. Considering the capital is home to designers such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent (to name a few) this tends to be part of the French package. 

But Paris is also responsible for some of the best lesser-known labels, such as Rouje. Founded in 2016 by Jeanne Damas, Rouje counts the likes of Sienna Miller and Selena Gomez among its many fans, who love the brand’s could-be-vintage printed dresses, ‘nice tops’ to wear with jeans and retro knitwear that has that certain je ne sais quoi.

If you’re one of Jeanne Damas’s casual 1.5 million Instagram followers, you’ll know the label is going from strength-to-strength, also having its own beauty line (Les Filles en Rouje) featuring some of Damas’s iconic lip shades. Now, the label is adding another string to its fashionable bow with is first 100% upcycled collection, Re-Rouje, created using materials leftover from previous collections. The limited-run nine-piece capsule will be available to shop from 14 January at uk.rouje.com from £110 and includes everything from slip dresses and tea styles to transseasonal knitwear and jackets. Stylist talks to the founder Jeanne Damas to find out more. 

Rouje founder Jeanne Damas (photo: Vincent Ferrané)

“I decided to create Re-Rouje as we always try to keep the volume of the collection low so that there isn’t a lot of extra stock. When there’s some fabric left at the end of the season, we are always looking for a sensible way to use it,” says Damas. 

“For example, in 2022, every month we designed a piece using upcycled fabrics for the benefit of a charity organisation, La Maison des Femmes, in St Denis. While doing this, we got inspired to create this small collection using the previous season’s fabrics to give leftover stock a new lease of life. To be able to use all the unused fabrics, we came up with the idea for the mix and match pieces such as the Silou dress to be able to use them all.”

Re-Rouje Silou dress

Why is being more sustainable as a fashion brand so important to Damas? “Since the beginning we were very conscious about sustainability and it’s a topic we push further systematically. The great majority of our designs are manufactured in Europe, a lot in Italy, Portugal or Romania, and most of the fabrics we use are eco-responsible. There is still a long way to go, but we are working to get better season after season. We have dedicated a section on our website to this subject to be transparent.”

She continues: “The challenge is to grow while staying authentic. I think that the authenticity and the voice of a brand are very important. Women are at the centre of our creation, we are women creating for women. The most beautiful compliment I got is that when wearing Rouje you see the woman before her outfit.”

And how will Damas be styling the new upcycled pieces? “The Marin dress is one of my favourites, it’s easy to wear for all occasions. I would style it with some ballerinas and a boyfriend jacket like our Jacques blazer style.”

Re-Rouje Macha cardigan

The entrepreneur is known for her style, but how do we recreate the French-girl look? “What has become known as ‘French style’ is a rather effortless look. I can’t speak for all French women, but personally I like the idea of a uniform which I can wear everyday, such as high-waisted jeans, an oversized sweater and ankle boots. I add a touch of fantasy or colour with an accessory and a bit of lipstick to illuminate the face.”

And of course, we wanted to find out where else Damas shops, when not wearing Rouje, of course. “I do a lot of vintage shopping, especially when I’m travelling. One can always find incredible pieces and I particularly love items by Yves Saint Laurent and Ungaro from the 70s. I also have a whole collection of silk slip dresses, many from the 40s.”

Re-Rouje Manteau Virginia jacket

Finally, what is Damas’s style resolution for 2023: “I want to be more daring like the women in New York or London. I love sheer outfits but would never dare to wear it in the streets, the same goes with more extravagant pieces.”

Shop the fully upcycled Re-Rouje collection at uk.rouje.com from Saturday 14 January. 

Images: courtesy of Rouje; Jeanne Damas; Vincent Ferrané

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