We began with the intention to inspire consciousness in our everyday, to cultivate a culture that encourages others to uncover where and why something is made. Connected Clothing is a series of sustainable fashion interviews spotlighting on different individuals – why they wear what they wear and the significance behind their choices.
Aude Giraud is a florist, photographer, and the founder of Ask A French. Parisian born and raised, her floral atelier lifestyle concept takes inspiration from the beautiful contrast of wild nature and classic still life paintings. This dichotomy lends itself in her approach with her home and wardrobe. Her home is a duality of her French-Indonesian heritage: wayang kulit puppet hanging by the door, basket and bags from Jakarta, a vase from Delhi etched with her last name that she came across serendipitously, candles from Paris, and a nearly floor-to-ceiling mirror that’s been in the family for years. Just like her home, her wardrobe is a reflection of her upbringing and collection of her travels: a thrifted dress from Tokyo, vintage slip dresses from New Zealand, block printed dress from Jaipur, and classic shoes from Paris.
Read on to view our sustainable fashion interview with Aude:
Before your work as a florist and photographer for Ask A French, you were a journalist, and working in the media industry for 10 years. How do the dots connect to now?
I started making flowers out of passion and it all came very naturally, and very fast! I’ve been a florist for 3 years now and I chanced upon it. It started with me going to the market and making flower arrangements for myself, then bringing them to other people’s homes, and then people were asking me to send flowers for their loved ones as a gift. I didn’t have time to think, orders were coming from word of mouth, I guess I was also very lucky, since at that time there weren’t many Garden Style European florists in SG. My approach was also quite different from classic florists. I went to florist school in Singapore and did 3 months of intensive training, I wanted a better grasp of the technical side of the craft and Youtube was not enough at this point.
Before this, I was a broadcast journalist. I worked in Paris as a correspondent, interviewing personalities like Jude Law and Ryan Gosling, and even followed the presidential campaign closely in the newsroom. To me, going from a journalist to a florist is not very different. It’s storytelling. I like to know about the recipient’s personality if it’s a bouquet for a special occasion, the story of the space if it’s a decoration for an event. It’s intentional in that way and I guess that’s how the dots connect, as per journalism, photography, my flowers tell a story.
You seem to have a great affinity for the vintage: how does this affect your clothing choices and the pieces you put in your home?
I buy lots of vintage stuff when I travel, I think my preference for vintage also connects with the storytelling approach. For home decor, a good vintage vase adds a lot of personality to a space. I wish objects could speak, they could tell so many stories! And I can’t go to a city without checking vintage clothes. There aren’t a lot of vintage or secondhand shop options in Singapore and so I take it as an opportunity to look for them when I’m traveling. I like to mix “old” things with new. It’s also a way to be more sustainable friendly. I buy vintage and secondhand both for the story and for its sustainable impact. Clothes are like people, they’re living things and I’m a subscriber to the belief that clothes shouldn’t be thrown away.
What is your intention behind what you wear and what you buy?
I like comfortable clothes, even if I were to work in an office, I don’t think I would go for corporate classics. I also like clothing that’s artisan made, hand-made items to me are more unique than a luxury brand piece.
What is it about artisan made garments that speak to you?
I’m also an artisan, I make things with my hands and from that common ground I really respect the fact that someone is taking the time to make something. I feel that it has a soul, more life than something that’s machine stitched and I like that sense of humanity.
Tell me more about your closet.
It’s a Boho chic mix and I like to keep things that are long-lasting. Classic French like Repetto, sustainable like Matter Prints and Esse, Vintage from all the travels, second hand treasures from The Fifth Collection. I can travel and time travel with my closet. Like when I’m wearing my Repettos, I feel like I’m taken back to my time in Paris. Funny story about the Repetto shoes, there was a very famous French singer called Serge Gainsbourg, and those shoes were his signature style. The fame of the brand was largely due to him. Wearing my shoes makes me feel a sense of connection to that story, especially because I love music and I’m a songwriter as well.
What is your personal style and how has that definition evolved over time?
I guess it was effortless chic in Paris with linen shirts, skinny jeans, skinny boots in Paris and more effortless boho here in Singapore. But it’s still the same me, just adapted to a different weather (4 seasons to tropical). There’s this quote from Chanel that I like and I feel it sums this up perfectly, “Fashion changes but style endures”.
If your house is on fire, what are the five pieces you would save – even if it meant running back into a burning house?
Might sound crazy but it would be:
– Vintage lassi glass from India
– My favorite candles
– All my books about flowers
– My folk guitar
– My electric guitar
What is the relationship you have with your clothes?
They’re like friends, with benefits.
Aude Giraud is the florist and founder behind Ask A French in Singapore. Find her on IG here.