Agathe Bousquet was born in the fashion universe, her family having created the famous brand Cacharel. She gained experience in France, then in the USA for Cacharel and became the founder of her online store called The Undertropic, which she manages between New York and Miami. The Undertropic was born following a stay in Peru, where Agathe met artisans who inspired her to put their talents and values forward. She mixes designer pieces with craft pieces to create a bohemian chic and colorful universe for women wishing to combine fashion and fair trade.
Tell us about yourself, your roots and your path towards your business in fashion
I am originally from Nîmes, a Southern city of France. Thanks to my mother who has been working in Fashion with passion, my sister and I were born into it. I share my life today between France and the US and specially Miami. I have been attracted by the US at a pretty early stage in my life. I moved by myself to NYC where I started taking acting classes at the Lee Strasberg Institut. I came back to France and my passion for Fashion took the advantage over acting. I opened two clothing stores in the South of France. With the quick success of my own “boutiques”, I integrated the brand Cacharel Paris showroom for many years, founded by my uncle Jean Bousquet. I went back to NYC to take the position of Director USA for Cacharel and enjoyed this experience for four years. It’s recently in 2017, that I decided to create The Undertropic.
Tell us about your company: how did it start?
I have been invited to a Fashion tradeshow in Lima, Peru. It was the first time for me in Peru and I could not leave without seeing a bit more of this extraordinary country. I hence decided to spend some time in Cusco where I had one of the most amazing meeting in my life: Peruvian craftswomen and men. I spent few days with them and have been moved all along with their respect for their culture and traditions. With not much means and an unlimited creativity, these women bring authenticity to their art – which is each day a bit more rare in our industry. It’s after this amazing adventure that I wanted to help these women and decided to create my fashion e-commerce; The Undertropic. My goal here is to mix their knowledge with nowadays’ designers creations which I have an unconditional respect for.
What is your goal with The Undertropic?
My wish is for women to recognize themselves in this mix of influence, and to have fun! The Undertropic is open to all women, from all horizons. It is an invitation to a pop and colorful universe – I am myself a big fan of Andy Warhol and Lichtenstein. Each product on the website is selected to allow a modern and easygoing silhouette. At the same time, the support of artisans is one of my priorities. It is necessary for me to keep making their work discovered and shared around the world.
What do you like the most about the fashion industry?
A lot of things! What I am passionate about in fashion is the creativity that comes out of it. I love designers who, with their vision and talent, embrace women and are able to transform their daily life. Fashion is an incredible ‘way of expression, an amazing opportunity to show your personality and discover who you really are.’ The most important is not to take it too seriously!
Do you have an anecdote that you’d like to share?
I am always amazed by the passion that the dressmakers have to build a piece for a collection. For a Cacharel show at the Louvre in Paris, just a few minutes before the beginning, they kept sewing a dress in the middle of journalists, photographs and models; unshakeable… I call them the “little fairies”…
What is the question you’re asked you the most?
What is my style? To what I always answer ‘dare and be yourself.’
What is the question you’d like to be asked?
“What keeps your passion for Fashion alive” The eternal inspiration that it represents for all of us.
What are your projects for the coming months / year?
My plans for 2018 are to open several pop-up stores in Miami and in France and the creation of an accessible beachwear collection by The Undertropic. We are going to travel to Mexico, Cuba and more countries to new incredible discoveries with local artisans.