France

Hervé Delattre at the helm of La Touche Française, against all odds




Two crossed baguettes of bread, like two tibias, under a scallop shell stylized like a skull: a logo that perfectly sums up the spirit of the brand. A touch of “chauvinism” mocked tinged with a filibuster spirit, and the most famous seafood from the bay of Saint-Brieuc (22) where Hervé Delattre, its creator, ran a surf shop for fifteen years before launch its own line of sailor jumpers: La Touche Française. Nothing to do with the electro musical trend of the 1990s – the French Touch – it is better to avoid this confusion which annoys him a little.

Hervé Delattre popularized his brand La Touche Française by revisiting the sailor sweater, obviously made in France.

Daring

Disheveled summit, three-day beard and amused look, Hervé Delattre is not turning 48. And yet, behind his look of a bottle-fed teenager with skate culture and easy familiarity, hides a tenacious entrepreneur, a daring personality and a lot of scars. A former resident of a Jesuit establishment, he came out of it as solid as he was in love with freedom. He will find it in surfing, to which he is addicted and which he will subsequently trade.

I saw an old knitting factory and came home

It was on returning from a “ride” in Morbihan, in 2013, that he drove to Rohan (5-) in front of the Roc’han Maille factory. “I saw an old knitting factory,” he says, “I put on a handbrake in the parking lot and I came back”. Dressed in a wet T-shirt, his hair full of sand, Hervé Delattre then asks to see the manager who, surprised, nevertheless shows him around the factory: “He looked at me like an extraterrestrial”. The strange visitor from elsewhere will however place a first order of 72 sweaters from the Rohanaise factory. The adventure begin.

Color Striped Butter Caramel, broccoli or construction blue

Endowed with a real artistic fiber that he considers a maternal heritage – “I owe him everything” -, Hervé Delattre himself designs the clothes and develops La Touche Française, a brand of very high-end marine sweaters, wrapped in humor-tinged marketing. The pull’ouvert, his first model, is the perfect incarnation of his slogan “exactly as before and completely different”, or how to pay homage to the unmistakable sailor sweater with buttons in pure new wool but twisted by original colors Caramel Beurre Striped, Broccoli or even blue construction, sometimes mixed with stripes and a cut updated.

I put it all together with an iPhone, as much to say that I wanted some

If Hervé Delattre wants above all to preserve the second degree that surrounds La Touche Française, he has also eaten his black bread. “If you only knew the storms we’ve been through…” he sighs. “I found myself in 2015 without a store, with the truck and the IT that let me down,” he says. I put it all together with an iPhone, as much to say that I wanted some ”.

After an encouraging start – success of the first series of sweaters, a competent team – Hervé Delattre continued the trials. A deceased employee, another injured in an accident, her own health problems (he will be hospitalized for three months), to which are added the stress and overwork of the entrepreneurial adventure: “I almost went through it”. A difficult separation and the alternate custody of his son on leaving the hospital then force him to put the brand to sleep.

Accessible luxury

Serial pitfalls which will not however get the better of the determination of Hervé Delattre who – via his own recovery plan – has taken over the reins of his brand for a year with a well-oiled communication campaign as well as crowdfunding . The brand’s sweaters are now available online and at multiple points of sale in France, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. And to mark the occasion, the brand, which has not lost any of its sense of humor, is releasing a Beau new vest. Guaranteed success. A message of hope is what Hervé Delattre wants to convey. “If I succeeded in creating, then in relaunching it alone, by making luxury accessible and with so few means, others can do it”.

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