story begins with a love affair; one between fashion-savvy
Instagrammers and a deliciously puff-sleeved white cotton blouse.
Quickly making its way onto our Explore page via the clothing rails
of Leandra Medine and Emily Ratajkowski, MaisonCléo has fast become the
name on every fashion editor’s lips (and clothing tag).
Marie and Cléo Dewet, the mother-daughter duo behind the
now-iconic label, maintain a unique ethos and steadfast approach to
sustainability. Creating anti-fast-fashion pieces, nothing goes to
waste – even off-cuts are made into adorable matching scrunchies
that come with every order.
Here, Marie talks about her working relationship with her
mother, the importance of price transparency and her frustrations
with big labels’ unsustainable approach to fashion.
Where did the name MaisonCléo come from?
Cléo was my mother’s nickname when she was my age; she had
short, dark hair and wore gold jewellery and black eyeliner, like
Cleopatra. Old friends still call her Cléo.
Tell us about your family history in fashion.
My great, great grandmother Louise, was a well-known seamstress
in the north of France. She had her own couture workshop and was
the head of a group of seamstresses. People from Paris
used to go to the north just to have their clothes tailored by her.
Later, my grandmother and mother became professional seamstresses
too. My mother also owned her own workshop before we created
When did fashion first spark your interest?
My mother bought me a copy of Vogue magazine when I was about 14
and I fell in love. I cut out all the pictures and stuck everything
on my walls; I started following fashion slavishly from that
What is MaisonCléo’s approach to fashion?
Sustainable. I wanted to create a brand that only created pieces
that were made-to-order and used natural or repurposed fabrics.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world – it is
total nonsense to make pieces in advance or produce fabric without
knowing the demand beforehand.
What do you and your mother bring to the label as
I don’t know how to sew – my mother gave me a sewing lesson last
week as she bought a new machine – and she he doesn’t know much
about artistic direction. So, we are essential for each other.
The Agnes blouse is probably your most iconic piece, but which
is your favourite?
It’s always the last piece we’ve made because I can’t wait to
show it to our clients. Currently, it’s a large-sleeved cotton
buttoned shirt – one of our spring pieces.
MaisonCléo is very transparent about their costs, why?
I choose to detail the price breakdown on each product page
because when I used to work for big brands I was shocked by the
large margins they take on the cost of production and the cost of
fabric. I know what polyester costs – those big-brand prices just
How does your mother’s style differ from your own?
Both of us only buy second-hand items, but my mother doesn’t
care about trends at all – that’s where I come in.
Talk us through your creative process.
I never draw things in advance. We purchase our fabrics from
couture houses, designers or factory leftovers, so I never know
what we’re going to find. The fabric we use will determine the
garment’s touch and its fall, so it’s only when I feel and see a
fabric that an idea comes to mind. After that, I go to my mum’s
workshop with the fabric and my drawing. When she doesn’t like my
idea, she’ll say, “Are you really sure…?” and then we debate it –
we have a lot of fun. Finally, she makes the prototype fitted to my
Your brand aesthetic is rooted in France. Whereabouts in Lille
do you find inspiration for your pieces?
I find a lot of inspiration in my grandmother’s dressing room –
she has an entire room filled with all her clothes, the majority of
which she’s made herself. I find lots of flowers, colours and
ruffles there. I’m also inspired by the outside world in general
and the women and girls I see on the streets, whatever their
What does your average day in Lille look like?
Alongside MaisonCléo, I still work every day at the Vestiaire
Collective office in Lille, as manager of the VIP and concierge
team. I’ll work at Vestiaire from 6am to 1.45pm, then I spend the
afternoons and evenings working on MaisonCléo. I work with my
assistant in Lille and with my mother on the phone, because she
still lives in Calais. I take care of the brand’s image and source
all the leftover fabrics. Then I’ll spend Friday to Sunday in
Calais with my mother to work on new prototypes. I never really
Favourite places you’ve visited…
What advice would you give people who are trying to become more
Before buying anything new, try to find it vintage.
What is your most-loved item of jewellery?
A gold necklace that my grandfather gave me. It belonged to his
daughter who passed away at the age of 12. It’s my greatest
treasure; I wear it every day.
What are your favourite shops to find vintage treasures?
In Lille, my favourite is Vintage Store on Rue de la Barre. On
the internet, the Los Feliz
Shop is my go-to – the owner Nadia has become a friend of
Any past trends you’d like to see make a comeback in 2019?
What’s in your SUITCASE?
My camera, a notebook for drawing, and at least two books
because now I only have time to read when I travel. Plus, lots of
Finally, when can we get our hands on the mini “wedding dress”
you’ve been teasing in your Instagram stories?
I’m not too sure yet – but probably in June.