In 2021, Circle Sportswear and Saint James will offer their community a unique collection, combining the technical knowledge of Circle tailoring with the tradition and know-how of Saint James.
Romain, co-founder and CEO of Circle, speaks with Luc Lesénécal, President of Tricots Saint James, on the occasion of their exclusive collaboration.
How did your meeting go?
RT: The kind of moment you don't forget!
I had the chance to present the Circle project on Europe 1 during the show France that Moves in June 2020. Luc was present as an expert entrepreneur, and he seemed curious to know more about our fashion approach sportswear and on eco-responsibility. He then challenged me: 48 hours to come up with ideas for collaborations. Challenge that I accepted!
After that, the entire Circle team mobilized to brainstorm and find ideas that reflect our common values, our complementarities to innovate together!
Two days later, we sent our proposals to Luc. And then, the wait... After a few hours, his answer finally arrives: he is interested! We met then a few days later, we agreed on a collaboration together, and that's how the adventure began!
LL: A story of encounter like true collaborations. Romain surprised me! And he was able to take up the challenge that I threw at him during the Europe 1 broadcast.
Why the desire to collaborate with a young sports and digital brand like Circle?
LL: The universe of Saint James is not that far from that of Circle. We have similar values.
The idea was to move away from marine codes and move towards a more “sporty”, more urban world. And then the notion of recyclability is something that is close to our hearts. We were born from the sea, let's not forget that! The idea of a QR code explaining the recyclability of a garment was also innovative for Saint James.
For you [Roman], what does Saint James represent?
RT: My first Saint James memory dates back to my childhood: my first outfit when I learned to sail in Les Glénans in Brittany. For me Saint James, these are quality clothes, which last and which follow us for life. These are values that touch us at Circle: quality, sustainability and locality. And then the motto “Born from the Sea” resonates with the genesis of our project which aimed to “Protect our playgrounds”: Born in the Ocean, worn in the Cities .
What did you try to achieve with this first collection?
RT: The priority was to have a circular approach (recycled & recyclable), to work as a team to think together about the best possible capsule. We said to ourselves that it would be interesting to combine our complementary know-how and values: “why not reinterpret an iconic Saint James and take it into the world of sport? » This is what we did with the sailor top, in a new, very technical material that is lighter than the Saint James standard.
LL: The idea of “ twister » our iconic sailor top, to take it to a world other than maritime or casual chic seduced us. Circle is aimed at 90% city dwellers, a target with which we want to be present. We also wanted to prove that our sailor top could be perfectly adapted to sports other than nautical areas.
How is this collection beneficial for the environment?
RT: It was essential to think about this capsule as a whole to be the most respectful of the planet. We have only sourced recycled fabrics, which are made in France or Italy. The prints are made using water-based ink. Finally, the thread of the Circle logo and the Saint James label are also recycled.
For the packaging , we also had to be consistent: we created a design specific to our collaboration using recycled paper and Acid Free .
We therefore had a 360° approach full of consistency and values. It is this attitude that makes the difference today for us, and of course for consumers.
LL: Traceability of raw materials, eco-responsibility, sustainability and transparency on production methods have always been values defended by Saint James. The QR code, printed on the different models that make up this collection, allows total transparency on the origin of the materials used and their recyclability. This is a first test for Saint James.
And so how did you go about developing a capsule truly suited to sport?
RT: For the bottoms we were able to reinterpret our looks and materials already tested by numerous sporting champions such as Yosi Goasdoué, French Half-Marathon Champion or Stéphanie Gicquel , adventurer and European Ultra Trail Champion.
For the tops, we worked with the traditional fiber manufacturers of Saint James but by adapting the weight for more lightness and applying a stitched effect for more breathability! The result is stunning, elegant and very efficient, it is the perfect outfit for a walk, a yoga run but also for everyday life.
LL: The bridge seemed easy: in the same way that our sailor sweater was designed as the sailor's first protective clothing "the famous body knit", clothing intended for Yoga and running protect athletes. We then just had to adapt our sailor top in terms of weight and breathability.
And when will this unique collection be available?
RT: The launch of digital pre-orders is planned for the beginning of May, in a very limited series!
Then in point of sale during June, to associate it with a major highlight of the sporting summer: the Tokyo Olympic Games, but also the numerous events which will be planned in France.
We will offer internet customers the opportunity to collect their orders directly at the point of sale, on specific days when Yoga sessions or even a running session will be offered with our sports ambassadors. The objective is to unite our communities while creating an event to welcome this first collaboration with Saint James.
A final word for this first Luc collaboration?
LL: With Circle we share the same values of independence, sharing… in short, know-how and interpersonal skills! Know-how is a precious asset, but so is interpersonal skills: integrity, honesty, respect and transparency are essential to the success of a collaboration. This is what brought Circle and Saint James together!