Vilebrequin is one of those brands that inspires aspiration. Views of sunny St.Tropez, glamorous celebrities, and luxury getaways immediately come to mind when purchasing a swimsuit from Villebrequin. What people don’t know is that beyond the glamour, Villebrequin has been steadily working with various marine protection associations in the last eight years— protecting sea turtles and raising awareness about their natural environment.
We chat with Vilebrequin’s charismatic CEO, Roland Herlory. From his gorgeous estate in St.Barthelemy, Roland discusses his latest collaboration with Cecile Gaspar and the Te Mana o Te Moana organisation. An organisation dedicated to protecting sea turtles and the marine environment of French Polynesia. What began as a pair of swim-shorts has now resulted in a program that has educated over 7500 locals on ecological preservation, and welcomed forty-four sea turtles into the world. Together with Te Mana o Te Moana, Villebrequin goes beyond simple luxury, as they take their next steps towards a more sustainable future.
Vilebrequin was born in St.Tropez back in 1971. At that time, St.Tropez was just a little harbour where many artists and icons gathered. It was a time when carelessness was allowed and freedom was in the air. Brigitte Bardot, Gunter Sachs, Françoise Sagan, were just a few of the many icons who came together in St.Tropez. The vibe was very rock and roll! Mick Jagger actually married Bianca Jagger in St-Tropez in 1971!
Even though times have changed, Vilebrequin still clings to its St-Tropez roots. Over the past few years, we have extended our line to womenswear, ready-to-wear, accessories, and even a ski collection. We are always driven by the same St-Tropez spirit; and a commitment to making the best products. Our goal is to perfect the art of living under the sun.
Collaborations give new perspectives to our brand spectrum. It’s a great way to bring in new inspiration and to work with amazing and talented designers, artists, and brands that share our vision of the world. We mix our identities to find a common path, and it is very exciting! The response from our clients to each of our collaborations has been very positive; and I’m sure we’ll keep on doing them in the future. In order for a collaboration to work, we don’t need to be identical but we need to share something. Whether is through fashion, environmental protection. It just has to make sense with our history and identity, and help show a new and different side of Vilebrequin.
Speaking of partners, tell us about Vilebrequin’s Te Mana o Te Moana Collection? In what ways does this collection help protect the marine environment of Polynesia?
These funds have helped welcome forty-four turtles in 2017; and raise awareness about the Polynesian environment to over 7500 people. Te Mana o Te Moana was also able to create a sentinel program called Hei Moana. This program teaches local Polynesians how to monitor and take care of the turtles, even when outside of the perimeters of the association.
As consumers, how can we make a difference in protecting the future of our planet?
At Vilebrequin, we developed a very high quality stainless steel water bottle, as a gift with purchase. It was made to last for a very long time; and help reduce our customer’s daily plastic consumption. These small steps all count to make big changes, all you have to do is start right now.