Store to watch: Centre Commercial

Fair fashion and style-conscious activism
Sébastien Kopp and Ghislain Morillion, former school friends and founders of the sustainable sneaker label Veja, opened their concept store Centre Commercial in 2010. Seven years later they have launched a branch of the fair-fashion store and developed a new store concept, by which they are positioning themselves as best practice for consistently sustainable business models.

The name for the Centre Commercial came from a work by the philosopher Bernard Stiegler and the American sociologist Mike Davis on the subject of consumer attitudes in society. The question, “How to consume properly?” was answered by Kopp and Morillion with a sustainable product segment devoted to responsible production. Pioneering brands such as Bleu de Paname, Paraboot, Baserange and of course Veja stand as examples for the turn to a more sustainable fashion sector.

But that is not enough for the two players. To create a place for those who will construct the society of tomorrow – that is a further interest of theirs. Events and collaboration are part of the atmosphere in the concept store, generating a community all around the Centre Commercial. In the first seven years over fifty events were held in the shop, featuring well-known labels, such as Aigle and Patagonia. “Transparency, design, traceability, fashion and activism” are the words which precisely describe the DNA of Centre Commercial in its own online shop.    

Nor does the idealism of the founders in matters of sustainability stop short at the second Centre Commercial store in the Rue Madame, which was opened in December last year. The concept has been thought through down to the last detail: unrendered walls in industrial chic, a mosaic floor of recycled glass from discarded computer screens, art such as the light installation by the Brazilian artist Kleber Matheus and, last but not least, the consistent decision to choose an energy supplier which uses renewable energies.  

A quotation from multitalented French-Canadian Xavier Dolan – actor, director and film producer – decorates the wall in the first Centre Commercial: “All is possible for those who dream, dare, work and never give in.” As already at Veja, Sebastian Kopp and Ghislain Morillion have shown for a second time that fashionable dress and respect for Man and nature do not have to be in contradiction.

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