Maille Création - Conscious collaborations | The Forward Lab

Marc Le Metayer is the Managing Director of the French atelier Maille Creation specialised in luxury knitwear. THEFORWARDLAB sat down with Marc to ask him questions about the atelier, the knitwear industry and sustainable fashion.

Could you tell us about Maille Creation in a couple of words?
Maille creation was created 27 years ago. We specialise in luxury knitwear and we create collections for high-end fashion houses.

Maille Creation is a cooperative, how does that affect company life on a day-to-day basis?
Maille Creation is a cooperative meaning that all employees are associates, the board of administration is renewed every 4 years and as long as you are an associate, you are eligible. This brings a greater implication and responsibility from each and every one of us as we are all equally responsible for the success of Maille Creation.

What is the training process?
We train our teams focusing on the technological knowledge required. Unfortunately, external training for hosiery and knitwear does not exist anymore. This a ‘savoir-faire’ which is slowly disappearing.
All our learning is done in-house.

Could you tell us how you work with the creative teams of a fashion house? What is the creative process?
It usually starts with a theme, a story, a thread.
It is our job to transform it into different types of knits which are then presented to the brand and modified depending on what they are looking for.
Once the knits are validated, we can then start designing the pieces according to the drawings provided. We also need at this point to provide solutions for assembly and finishing touches.

In your opinion, where should brands focus on to reduce their impact on the environment?
I would say they need to reduce the number of collections per year.

Do you feel an increase in awareness and/or changes in the habits coming from brands when it comes to the environment? If yes, could you give us examples?
Fashion is constantly looking for something new.
Each collection needs to be innovative and different: a new identity every season all the while keeping the DNA of the fashion house. Therefore, it is very hard to implement long-term solutions as a collection is by definition ephemeral.

Are you implementing solutions concerning the environment within Maille Creation?
Every year, we invest in environmental solutions.
After careful consideration, we concluded that our action needs to focus on reducing our energy consumption. This is why we have invested in a solar energy central (600 square meters) which will cover 1/3 of our consumption.
We also installed a closed-circuit for some our equipment for the water to be recycled.

The Forward Lab came to you with a proposal to work on a knitwear collection made with your deadstock of yarn. What did you think of the idea?
We liked the concept and the idea behind it. A thread has a relatively short life. Spinners offer a new  yarn selection every season and do not reproduce existing ones.
We created with The Forward Lab limited-edition designs: final quantities being the end of the yarn selected.

Do you believe this project could be a sustainable solution for Maille Creation to avoid deadstock?
The approach seems interesting and could be sustainable as this unused, unwanted yarn suddenly gets a second-life.

Head to our e-shop to discover the products of
THEFORWARDLAB + MAILLE CREATION conscious collaboration