Applecore

Applecore

Steven Alexis and Moriba Koné

Who is Applecore ?
We are Steven Alexis and Moriba Koné. We respectively live in Le Pré-Saint-Gervais and Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis) in the north of Paris, and we are the co-founders of the brand Applecore.
Tell us about your respective paths, prior to you meeting each other and founding the brand Applecore.
SA: I’m originally from Poitiers, a city located in west-central France. Passionated by design and arts in general, I attended a interior architecture school in 2012 and switched to a design and graphic design school a few years later.
I also worked at Blackrainbow Agency, where I took part in quality projects, prior to launching Applecore at the end of 2015.

MK: 8 years ago, I co-founded a collective named Montaigne Street with two friends. We posted the things we liked in fashion, arts and music on a blog. Over the years, we started collaborating with brands and hosting parties and performing DJ sets, in presence of celebrity guests. In 2012, I enrolled in IFM [Institut Français de la Mode, editor’s note] and joined a consulting group, working with world-famous stores and brands. I also launched my first clothing brand named Maison Seine. Finally, in 2015, I met Steven and we started Applecore.
You both live in a northern suburb of Paris, and Steven is from the countryside. Does that automatically make you outsiders in the french fashion landscape?
SA: I think it does. Being that I never studied fashion and come from a city outside of Paris, the fashion world was something new to me. Moriba and I don’t match the description of the typical fashion guy, but it doesn’t prevent us from working in fashion. I actually think this is one of our strengths.

MK: If we didn’t mention it, nobody would know! It’s just that in the cities we come from and live, there’s close to no fashion success story at all.
You are now two young, Paris-based entrepreneurs. Is running an independent company as difficult as, less or more difficult than expected?
MK: Indeed, when you run an independent brand like we do, you’re more an entrepreneur than a designer. It’s an all-time involvement, 24/7. Of course, designing comes first, but finances, marketing, communication, orders and shipments follow closely. You have to build a team and work with trustworthy partners. Running an indie brand requires a lot of personal rigor.

SA: As Mo said, our time is split between design and actual business, 20% for 80%. To answer your question, running an independent fashion brand is more difficult than we expected, but we are determined and reactive. In the end, starting such a project with a bit of innocence may not be so wrong.
Is it something you could have done on your own, or does one feel stronger being a pair?
MK: I think we could do it on our own. We both have our own, strong creative worlds and a supportive entourage. But I also think loneliness is a major issue for a lot of entrepreneurs. Our synergy and the trust we have in each other showed us our collaboration could work long-term. Being two allows us to be stronger, to support hard blows and to find the balance between positive and negative vibes.

SA: And even alone, you’re never really by yourself. Team work makes the dream work!
How do you split the design, business and legal tasks? How strong is the trust in each other, and do you give each other some space?
SA & MK: We work together on design—Applecore is the meeting of two creative visions—and intuitively split the other tasks. We are also building a team to assist us on the setting of operational tools, on the commercial aspect, on press relations and on a more global vision for the brand.

We consider ourselves a real team and trust each other. Every opinion is important because they allow us to step back and, at times, to solve problems and differences of opinion.
"Applecore is a state of mind. Beyond the clothes and their functionality, there is this social link we want to create with and between people" [Applecore]
You just unveiled and launched a new collection, titled “Nation”. What is the collection made of? What’s the backstory?
SA & MK: The collection is a report on France’s social climate during the presidential election. We are claiming the ownership and use of the word “Nation” and of republican symbols, and allude to past brutal events, all in a positive way.
We also want people to feel like they belong to a more modern, multicultural and united nation. And finally, we are offering a range of summery, more accessible items, compared to our previous collections.
You quote “social tensions” in France as an inspiration leading to the design of Applecore’s summer 2017 drop. Are you referring to precise events, or is it something you feel on a daily basis?
MK: We feel the tension in the media, through the steady rise of the far-right party, the normalisation of racism, of racist acts and police brutality.
Fortunately, we don’t experience it in our everyday lives. The members of our entourage are very open-minded. It’s like living in a bubble.
This collection offers an updated version of the French Republic motto with “Multiculturel, Fédérateur, Unité” (standing from “Multicultural, Unifying, Unity”). Is it the motto of the Applecore nation?
SA & MK: These are words that touch us and that we believe in.
The time chosen for the release of “Nation”, one month after the french presidential election, is also interesting. Are you expressing yourselves on the matter with this drop? If so, what are you saying?
SA: I’m interested in politics. With “Nation,” we express our current opinion on things. This drop isn’t an answer to the election, but more an analysis on the social climate. The message is an indignation and an affirmation. We are claiming the ownership and use of symbols of the French Republic because the country is also ours. A beautiful, multicultural and united France.

MK: In my case, I don’t really feel affected by politics. But I try to highlight the positive when alluding to it through references. We also like to catch foreigners’ attention on the topics trending in France. For example, listing the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, a “no-go zone” to many, alongside fashion capitals shows a different interpretation of fashion.
Like in the US, France’s presidential election shed light on deep divergences of opinion within the country’s electorate. You describe Applecore as a unifying brand. Who are the people you bring together?
MK: We unify free and open-minded people who feel young in their minds, no matter where they come from, their social backgrounds, what they are into and their style. We champion open-mindedness.

SA: That’s how we always lived. Expressing it through Applecore is very natural for us.
Last question. Fashion is a very competitive industry. Why should people care about and buy in Applecore?
MK: Applecore is a state of mind. It’s two young people who work hard to enjoy life and share things with their friends and other people who can relate. Beyond the clothes and their functionality, there is this social link we want to create with and between people.

SA: Applecore blends streetwear and luxury. The brand emphasises the functionality of our clothes and prices at a decent level.
We are transparent and sincere. I think that a lot of people can picture themselves in our position and understand what we are accomplishing. Nowadays, Paris lives through worldwide fashion and I’m a bit mad at that. There’s so much talent in France, a new generation is on the rise and nobody is ready for them. This is the new France.
Interview by Iggy Nko (@iggynko).
Photos by Valentin Lecron (@valentinlecron)

Applecore

Steven Alexis and Moriba Koné

Who is Applecore ?
We are Steven Alexis and Moriba Koné. We respectively live in Le Pré-Saint-Gervais and Epinay-sur-Seine (Seine-Saint-Denis) in the north of Paris, and we are the co-founders of the brand Applecore.
Tell us about your respective paths, prior to you meeting each other and founding the brand Applecore.
SA: I’m originally from Poitiers, a city located in west-central France. Passionated by design and arts in general, I attended a interior architecture school in 2012 and switched to a design and graphic design school a few years later.
I also worked at Blackrainbow Agency, where I took part in quality projects, prior to launching Applecore at the end of 2015.

MK: 8 years ago, I co-founded a collective named Montaigne Street with two friends. We posted the things we liked in fashion, arts and music on a blog. Over the years, we started collaborating with brands and hosting parties and performing DJ sets, in presence of celebrity guests. In 2012, I enrolled in IFM [Institut Français de la Mode, editor’s note] and joined a consulting group, working with world-famous stores and brands. I also launched my first clothing brand named Maison Seine. Finally, in 2015, I met Steven and we started Applecore.
You both live in a northern suburb of Paris, and Steven is from the countryside. Does that automatically make you outsiders in the french fashion landscape?
SA: I think it does. Being that I never studied fashion and come from a city outside of Paris, the fashion world was something new to me. Moriba and I don’t match the description of the typical fashion guy, but it doesn’t prevent us from working in fashion. I actually think this is one of our strengths.

MK: If we didn’t mention it, nobody would know! It’s just that in the cities we come from and live, there’s close to no fashion success story at all.
You are now two young, Paris-based entrepreneurs. Is running an independent company as difficult as, less or more difficult than expected?
MK: Indeed, when you run an independent brand like we do, you’re more an entrepreneur than a designer. It’s an all-time involvement, 24/7. Of course, designing comes first, but finances, marketing, communication, orders and shipments follow closely. You have to build a team and work with trustworthy partners. Running an indie brand requires a lot of personal rigor.

SA: As Mo said, our time is split between design and actual business, 20% for 80%. To answer your question, running an independent fashion brand is more difficult than we expected, but we are determined and reactive. In the end, starting such a project with a bit of innocence may not be so wrong.
Is it something you could have done on your own, or does one feel stronger being a pair?
MK: I think we could do it on our own. We both have our own, strong creative worlds and a supportive entourage. But I also think loneliness is a major issue for a lot of entrepreneurs. Our synergy and the trust we have in each other showed us our collaboration could work long-term. Being two allows us to be stronger, to support hard blows and to find the balance between positive and negative vibes.

SA: And even alone, you’re never really by yourself. Team work makes the dream work!
How do you split the design, business and legal tasks? How strong is the trust in each other, and do you give each other some space?
SA & MK: We work together on design—Applecore is the meeting of two creative visions—and intuitively split the other tasks. We are also building a team to assist us on the setting of operational tools, on the commercial aspect, on press relations and on a more global vision for the brand.

We consider ourselves a real team and trust each other. Every opinion is important because they allow us to step back and, at times, to solve problems and differences of opinion.
"Applecore is a state of mind. Beyond the clothes and their functionality, there is this social link we want to create with and between people" [Applecore]
You just unveiled and launched a new collection, titled “Nation”. What is the collection made of? What’s the backstory?
SA & MK: The collection is a report on France’s social climate during the presidential election. We are claiming the ownership and use of the word “Nation” and of republican symbols, and allude to past brutal events, all in a positive way.
We also want people to feel like they belong to a more modern, multicultural and united nation. And finally, we are offering a range of summery, more accessible items, compared to our previous collections.
You quote “social tensions” in France as an inspiration leading to the design of Applecore’s summer 2017 drop. Are you referring to precise events, or is it something you feel on a daily basis?
MK: We feel the tension in the media, through the steady rise of the far-right party, the normalisation of racism, of racist acts and police brutality.
Fortunately, we don’t experience it in our everyday lives. The members of our entourage are very open-minded. It’s like living in a bubble.
This collection offers an updated version of the French Republic motto with “Multiculturel, Fédérateur, Unité” (standing from “Multicultural, Unifying, Unity”). Is it the motto of the Applecore nation?
SA & MK: These are words that touch us and that we believe in.
The time chosen for the release of “Nation”, one month after the french presidential election, is also interesting. Are you expressing yourselves on the matter with this drop? If so, what are you saying?
SA: I’m interested in politics. With “Nation,” we express our current opinion on things. This drop isn’t an answer to the election, but more an analysis on the social climate. The message is an indignation and an affirmation. We are claiming the ownership and use of symbols of the French Republic because the country is also ours. A beautiful, multicultural and united France.

MK: In my case, I don’t really feel affected by politics. But I try to highlight the positive when alluding to it through references. We also like to catch foreigners’ attention on the topics trending in France. For example, listing the department of Seine-Saint-Denis, a “no-go zone” to many, alongside fashion capitals shows a different interpretation of fashion.
Like in the US, France’s presidential election shed light on deep divergences of opinion within the country’s electorate. You describe Applecore as a unifying brand. Who are the people you bring together?
MK: We unify free and open-minded people who feel young in their minds, no matter where they come from, their social backgrounds, what they are into and their style. We champion open-mindedness.

SA: That’s how we always lived. Expressing it through Applecore is very natural for us.
Last question. Fashion is a very competitive industry. Why should people care about and buy in Applecore?
MK: Applecore is a state of mind. It’s two young people who work hard to enjoy life and share things with their friends and other people who can relate. Beyond the clothes and their functionality, there is this social link we want to create with and between people.

SA: Applecore blends streetwear and luxury. The brand emphasises the functionality of our clothes and prices at a decent level.
We are transparent and sincere. I think that a lot of people can picture themselves in our position and understand what we are accomplishing. Nowadays, Paris lives through worldwide fashion and I’m a bit mad at that. There’s so much talent in France, a new generation is on the rise and nobody is ready for them. This is the new France.
Interview by Iggy Nko (@iggynko).
Photos by Valentin Lecron (@valentinlecron)