“Born from a Battle”
Maison de Choup is a collective of young artists and designers, who present a select run of beautiful and elegant designs, handmade here in the UK using elegant materials.
Away from talk of photography, my Q&A with the founder of Maison de Choup is something new for Americiums in the subject matter. Even in this unexplored territory I’ve still been left with a familiar sense of jaw-dropping awe. When you read my chat with founder George Hodgson, you’ll understand why.
When i spoke to George they were days away from launching their brand. As Americiums is still in early-stages of it’s own development, talking to someone feeling the same sense of anticipation and excitement was the perfect fit.
The Launch of Maison de Choup in comparison to my blog however, is something that involves not only an investment of time and money but an emotional involvement that i haven’t had to comprehend tapping away on my laptop
As with my talk with Chris Littlefair, George is another testament as to what can be achieved in the face of the seemingly impassable barriers that life can present us.
The brand is born out of his battle with anxiety and his determination to beat it. The products, the style and George himself are remarkable and his answer to my first question may give you an idea of his aforementioned emotional involvement.
Where are you from?
A very dark place. Maison de Choup was conceived one iron-grey day in 2014. But in 2014 every day was iron-grey. I am George David Hodgson, an acute anxiety sufferer and back then things were pretty bleak. But from the gloom came an idea, an idea that took me off the treadmill and that has carried me through, with help, to a lighter place. Together with new young artists and designers I’ve gathered together a run of starkly beautiful and elegant monochrome designs – each that take you from one state of mind to another.
What is your brand all about?
We all have anxieties and most often we wear them inside, on our hearts. We think they are deeply private but at the same time we are not very good at hiding them. MDC is their visual expression.
Who else is involved and how?
Initially it was started by me, George with the concept of designing from the darkness into the light. To realize my concept I brought on the consultancy of Vera Thordardottir fashion designer. Vera has experience working at premium fashion houses, start-ups in the industry as well as running her own brand. Together we developed the voice of the Maison de Choup. The fashion industry is demanding and multi-faceted. I am learning a lot every day and so far it has been a fascinating journey.
It is important to me that I give back to the people who supported me in my darkest times. To this end I want to be in a position to donate 25% of the profits from MDC’s anxiety based t-shirt designs to mind.org.
I’ve learnt it’s OK to worry.
How did the name for your brand come about?
The name Maison de Choup came from a nickname I gave to my sister Charlotte when I was younger. Charlotte (or Choup as she was then) is now developing her own artist brand PSYREN and is also co-founder of Lounge Studios UK and has been an inspiration to me.
Was the high end feel a conscious decision? Will this be reflected in the products?
In a world of mass produced identikit high street garb I wanted to produce something different – limited runs of individually designed clothes that will last. I am a great lover of quality and this will run through all MDC designs. And I want the designs to provoke comment. Who, what, why? And for the wearer to feel super confident in their response.
What has been the overriding feeling for you in the build up to launch day?
At the moment, we are still in the throes of launching. It has been incredibly difficult, although at the same time very healing. And far more so on both fronts than I expected. But it’s been fun. When I’m not occupied I become anxious and frustrated. MDC is my challenge and it’s been my transformation. There is excitement and first launch nerves in the air.
How important will social media like Instagram and Twitter be to your brand in the early days and beyond?
In the age we are living I feel that social media is essential to our brand. We’ve got a story to tell and Twitter and Instagram are the perfect vehicles to get it out there. And the more we talk, the more people talk back – it’s become a conversation which in turn has seen our web traffic grow. We are collaborating with a lot of great individuals and together we are telling a story that resonates with a lot of people.
What do you hope to achieve with this project? Are you realistic with your goals or is thinking big the way you work?
I want to go on a journey – from darkness to light. With our designers. With the fans of MDC. It’s hugely exciting to build a brand. It’s come from extreme anxiety and I think I will always be of this disposition, but my hope is that I can channel it into creating a style of beautiful honest clothing that makes everyone feel good.
Maison de Choup is available to buy from now;