In Morgane Sézalory, French fashion has found an anti-nonchalant ambassador. She is neither carefree nor haughty; instead, warm, welcoming and emotional about her journey from curious teenage upstart to global businesswoman at the heart of Paris’ first and highly successful e-commerce platform: Sézane.
Perhaps Sézalory’s unconventional journey to becoming the unwitting purveyor of some of France’s best affordable knitwear and couture has made her immune to some of her industry’s most stereotypical tropes. 18 years old and looking for an independent way to pay her rent (“I just didn’t want to work for someone who didn’t share my values”), Sézalory did what many young entrepreneurs do today. today and ran a parallel eBay scam.
Spoiler alert: She succeeded and moved her edition to Les Componentes, a website with scheduled “dates” to sell custom vintage pieces that often sold out within minutes. With no formal training in design but an appreciation for aesthetics and a desire to create, Sézalory discovered that the internet was simply a new way to express himself. A community of like-minded individuals took notice and Sézane, a “sort of brand” incorporating Morgane’s own designs, was born in 2013.
“I was the only option for people looking for creativity and soul online,” she says as the brand’s 10th anniversary approaches. “The success of the company has been a consequence of the heart that we [her now 200-strong team] put in… I like to work in a very meaningful way. Describing herself as the kind of CEO who skips international travel to hang out and ruminate on fabrics (Sézalory also takes every Wednesday to spend with her daughters – which she says makes her a better mother and a better entrepreneur) , Morgane’s mission is to protect happiness at the heart of her business.
All this to say that Sézane, despite its excellence in delivering Breton (loved by the US) and soft but sexy (catnip for the Brits) cardigans, still doesn’t look very French. “What is French?” Morgane quips when she is in a hurry to find a place in the realm of the cliché but oh so coveted of French style. “I think what defines us is the desire to make the world beautiful”, shares “I try not to lock in the style of the brand, so that everyone can come and choose something and make it their own.”
Sézane’s “everyday clothes with little details”, such as retro buttons and lace trims, certainly facilitate this. The knit, in particular, manages to evoke a vintage air while feeling completely on-trend. “These are pieces you won’t find anywhere else,” Morgane says of her formula for creating classics with an artistic flair: all the rich colors and delicate accents that don’t cost the earth.
The fact that many of the special anti-trend pieces are limited edition also helps appeal to high-profile clients, such as Bella Hadid, Sienna Miller and Selena Gomez, but Morgane is more concerned with meeting the needs of this community. initial looking for beauty in the ordinary. “Famous or not famous, it’s cool to see that there is not just one type of woman who appreciates quality and feels good in Sézane”, says the involuntary central for whom money and l celebrity endorsements were never motivations.
As 2023 promises a handful of exciting activations, including two collaborations and a big store buyout, Sézalory also returns to the start of its story: Les Componentes. “It’s kind of a renaissance that I’ve been working on for four years,” she teases. The words “bun fight” may not translate, but you can expect even the most quintessentially French among her followers to sharpen their elbows for this drop. Turns out it’s cool to be nice in fashion after all.