Friendship x Collaboration: Clare V + Mike D

5 years ago by

In Partnership With The Outnet

You should have seen me the day my friend Clare told me she was collaborating with Mike D on her new men’s collection.

What!? THE Mike D?

“Yes!” she said with her laid back LA air that I always love.

The Mike D! The legend! I couldn’t believe it. The thing is, you should have seen me, a few years back, in the South of France dancing my ass off to every and any song the Beastie Boys ever came out with. Mike D was a personal hero, one of these that almost don’t exist they seem so far.

I tried to keep my cool, and imagined how interesting it could be to have the both of them on Pardon My French. So much to talk about!!! Fashion, music, friendship, business, the times when we were dancing our asses off…

So on today’s podcast, we’re doing just that. I’m sitting down with Clare and Mike to talk about all of those subjects and more. I hope you like this conversation as much as I did, and that, if you were not dancing your ass off in the 90s – that you fall in love with that fascinating combo.

pardon my french clare vivier mike d garance dore photo

On New York in the 80s
Mike: I could only have become who I became, and as a band we could only have become who we became, because we lived here in New York City. Because there was a confluence of culture, and all different kinds of music and all kinds of people from around the world. […] Another thing that helped, New York was a much cheaper and shittier place, in a way it was a more beautiful place. It was a much uglier place, in that there was a lot more crime, it was more dangerous. But it afforded a kind of freedom because you didn’t need a trust fund or a job in the financial industry to move here. You could just literally just move here with a dream or some vague idea of like, maybe I’ll write, maybe it’ll be cool to play some music and there might be some people that would be interesting to do that with.

On an early love for music…
Mike: I had this whole system where my mom would give me money for lunch and then I would buy the very bare minimum of food. I had it down to a system, a cinnamon raison bagel, and I’d put butter on it, not cream cheese because cream cheese was more expensive. It was something, like crazy, like 35 cents for a bagel with butter! I had that, and a soda, and I was fine for lunch. So by the end of the week, I’d accrued enough money by not spending it on lunch that I could buy like two seven-inch records at Import Records and I’d buy whatever. Gang of Four, or The Slits, or the X-Ray Specs, records that I love, still to this day…

On the start of her brand…
Clare: I just started selling my own bags. I started the business out of my house. You just take it one day at a time and keep going forward and keep having, gradually, a little more and more success.I loved fashion and thought I was going to be a writer in fashion. I was working as a journalist at the time and I started making laptop bags for myself because I was traveling and there were no cute workbags. It was at the time when Apple was releasing really cute laptop computers and there were just no bags for it. I thought, why are there no cute workbags for women? That’s stupid. There were like super corporate-y bags or men’s black bags made out of nylon. So, no, I didn’t start out thinking it was a business but I started out thinking there was a definite need for what I was creating.

pardon my french clare vivier mike d garance dore photo

pardon my french clare vivier mike d garance dore photo

On learning the business side…
Clare: Once it started to take off a little bit, I thought, oh this could maybe turn into something. This was after I was in 50 stores or something like that. I realized I didn’t know anything about business. I didn’t go to business school! I’m a creative person. I just thought of the designers that I had loved throughout the years and where are they now. Where the fuck are they? There are so many creative people who don’t know how to run a business. I think the thing we always have to keep in mind is what we don’t know how to do. And how we can surround ourselves with people who do know how to do the things we don’t know.

On the evolution of business…
Clare: Everything was cash funded, I had no funding starting the business so everything I earned I put back into it. I had no investors in the company until to got to a couple million dollars in sales. Which was big for me. When I reached a million dollars in sales I was like, ‘oh my god I passed a million!’ I remember calling my dad, telling him ‘we just hit a million dollars!’ And then we hit two million dollars that same year. Because it was before Christmas and by the time the holidays came we hit two million. So once we got to that point – that’s already a certain level of success – I had just taken it day by day with the common sense smarts that I have, I realized I could probably use some partners. Luckily Steven Alan introduced me to some people who became my partners and Steven became a partner as well. They’ve been extremely helpful on the finance side. I felt very strongly about the need for people who liked spreadsheets! People who liked Excel and who liked QuickBooks. And could do all the things I didn’t like to do.

On the necessity of their collaboration…
Mike: I was doing a collaboration with some friends from France who had these beautiful, old, vintage bags, and they’d show up to the studio with them, and I was literally showing up with a bag from the grocery store with my laptop in it and some cables, and it was terrible, it was not good. I needed to step it up. So we made something together that is made in America, and a lot more affordable. It’s a studio bag and overnight bag.

Clare: And there’s a laptop bag too, basically all the things Mike needs in his life! We did some small leather goods which were the card case, the passport case, and the money clip…

Mike: By the way I need a new money clip! Mine went missing, I almost got taken to Panamanian prison! It’s a long story, Clare…

Friendship x Collaboration: Clare V + Mike D

Special thanks to The Ludlow Hotel!

Pardon My French wouldn’t be possible without the support of The! Heading out to the beach this summer? Use the code BEACHPLEASE15 for an extra 10% off Beach Accessories from today until Monday, July 11th at midnight! Happy Summer!

Check out all the goodies from MDCV – Mike D for Clare V collection here

You can get more of Mike D on Instagram and Facebook!

And don’t miss his upcoming DJ sets:
July 6 – Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI
July 22 – Panorama Festival in New York City

Launching in July – Mike D Presents The Echo Chamber – his show on Beats Radio1

Cassius – Action (featuring Mike D & Cat Power): Album available August 26


Add yours
  • When we are creative and business lady everything can happen….when you create music why you can’t do something else
    i love collaboration after all we get inspired from everything …
    as long as the final product is amazing why not ….every idea can be sold if it’s promoted correctly …
    From The World With Love
    Yael Guetta

  • Wow Garance t’es jolie sur la photo! Emoji yeux en forme de coeur x3 ;))

    Les Beastie Boys c’est le hip hop de mon adolescence, j’adore! Je vais m’empresser d’écouter votre conversation ;)

  • J’ai trouvé Garance moins à l’aise sur ce podcast que d’habitude, mais c’est touchant en même temps de penser qu’il y avait encore un peu du trac de l’adolescente qui rencontre son idole.

    Claire is an amazing creative and Mike D…well. He’s beyond words.
    Thank you for sharing! I’m sure we’ll all be on the lookout!

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