L’Oéil, Réalisation, Totême, Marais … parlez-vous Français? Even if you don’t, you’d be forgiven for thinking we just rattled off a list of French brands—but non! Not one of the aforementioned fashion labels hails from the land of croissants and Christian Dior.
Like their style, their food, and their laissez-faire attitude toward life and fitness, French names are a quality the rest of the world can’t seem to help but covet, and there’s nothing preventing a non-French brand from adopting one—which can be a little confusing, even for those of us who do this for a living. While the phenomenon is hardly new—Comme des Garçons, for one, is based in Tokyo—this year seemed to be an especially big one for indie brands with faux-French roots.
One of them, Loéil, an e-commerce shop that’s become an editor favorite in recent months, sounds French enough—like trompe-l’œil, right? But the lack of apostrophe, as well as the fact that the website URL—theloeil.com—would translate to “the the eye” in French, was a pretty strong tip-off to the fact that no, they are in fact based in Korea. (That said, Vetements, a Paris-based brand, also dropped the circumflex in their name from the original French vêtements, which means clothing.)
Fashionista investigated this naming phenomenon last year, and—perhaps unsurprisingly—found that most labels choose Gallic-sounding names for the caché they’re thought to lend to the brand. After all, Flying Roof might sound like a kind of kooky name for your fashion line, but Toit Volant? Now we’re talking.
Ahead, get to know—and shop—ten of our favorite faux-French brands in fashion right now.