Living as a local designer in the uber-chic North Marais gives me insights into not only the most fashionable cafés in the neighborhood, of which there are many, but of the most noteworthy boutiques. Designers both French and foreign have chosen to call the Haut Marais home, perhaps due to its history as a small-scale manufacturing hub. You can still stumble across the odd zipper or ribbon shop. More likely, Paris’ 3rd arrondissement attracts the independent fashion elite for its contagious creative energy and strong local vibe. The area is a bit lesser known to tourists, as most frequent the more commercial, albeit charming, cobbled streets of the 4th.
So who are these designers creating a name for themselves in the trendy 3rd? Those most exciting to me share not only a passion for unique design, but for local craftsmanship. Some, including myself, even share a manufacturer, located just steps away from Place de la République. In recent years, “Made in Paris” has set the precedent for both quality and sustainability.
Swedish-born Charlotte Bialas, whose shop is hidden within one of the most charming courtyards on rue Debelleyme, has been designing for over a decade, combining rare vintage silks to create timeless pieces. Her selection of fabrics is carefully curated from the 1950s and each haut de gamme dress, blouse, and pair of slacks is unique in both print and design. You may even spot Charlotte working in her atelier, located next-door to her shop.
Charlotte Bialas, 5 rue Debelleyme, 75003; Métro: Saint-Sébastien – Froissart; Tel: +33 (0)1 57 40 69 10
Both men and women can keep up with latest trends in the fashion capital with ready-to-wear label FrenchTrotters. The couple behind the brand opened their first shop in 2005, and just last year expanded to a 200 sq. meter flagship store on rue Vieille du Temple. With a passion for travel, they also exhibit a selection of home and fashion wares from international designers, while their own casual chic brand is produced, and often worn, locally.
FrenchTrotters, 128 rue Vieille du Temple, 75003; Métro: Filles du Calvaire; Tel: +33 (0)1 44 61 00 14
A Marseille native, Flore started her brand Eple & Melk in 2006 and opened her rue Charlot boutique three years later. Ever since, she’s been manufacturing and sourcing locally. Inspired by Nordic design, the name means “apple and milk” in Norwegian. Flore’s pieces are ready-to-wear basics in an array of textures and prints. Her attention to unique detail and love for fashion is evident in each piece displayed in her shop, which also serves as a showroom.
Eple & Melk, 45 rue Charlot, 75003; Métro: Filles du Calvaire; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 78 42 48
Since 2007, the fashion label Koshka Mashka has made its home in the Haut Marais. Designer Mari combines her Armenian roots with Slavic and Italian influences of top couture houses, while keeping in mind the needs of stylish, urban Parisian women. The name is inspired by Russian culture – “Koshka” meaning “little cat” and “Mashka” a nickname for “Marie” – and the brand represents colorful, elegant, feminine clothing and accessories with a modern twist. Mari is also an impressively skilled seamstress.
Koshka Mashka, 36 rue de Poitou, 75003; Métro: Filles du Calvaire; Tel: +33 (0)9 50 48 85 85
Along with the movement towards sustainability and wellness often comes the practice of yoga. Five years ago, Yoga Concept, the first boutique dedicated to this centuries-old philosophy, opened in the North Marais. Owner Pamela Levy keeps her finger on the local pulse by stocking her shop with yoga accessories and activewear by Paris-based designers, including my own custom Kasia Dietz bags, Square Modern eye pillows and meditation cushions, and MIRZ YOGA clothing.
Yoga Concept, 123 rue de Turenne, 75003; Métro: Filles du Calvaire; Tel: +33 (0)1 42 77 74 67