Bienvenue and thanks for stopping by!
I'm Pepita Diamand, a former dot-com entrepreneur and full-on fashion aficionado, having been, at varying times, a fashion journalist, a stylist and a marketing consultant for some of the best-known brands in luxury.
I am also an unrepentant travel junkie, with a shameless addiction to vitamins D and sea.
CRUZ&PEPITA is the travel wardrobe I always wanted: Chic, easy-to-wear, easy-to-pack pieces that fill my carry-on (I like to travel light) with versatile, forgiving options for day and night.
The spirit is a sophisticated take on Cote d'Azur style, with lots of French flair and that certain je ne sais quoi.
Made in France from up-cycled, natural fabrics, CRUZ&PEPITA is also a bit of a personal mission, helping spread the word about sustainable fashion, timeless design and old-fashioned craftsmanship from the home of luxury.
I hope you enjoy shopping the collection and discovering pieces to call your own. Only a few are ever made in a given fabric, so if you find something you love, be sure to grab it before it's gone.
Want to read more about CRUZ&PEPITA? Grab yourself a cup of coffee or a nice glass of wine and settle in.
TALK ABOUT TIMING
Back in February 2019 (remember, pre-Covid?) I decided to turn a life-long dream into reality.
It was one of those rare times when the stars seemed to align: There was my Eureka moment, followed by a chance introduction and a further stroke of serendipity. The universe seemed to be urging me to "go for it". CRUZ&PEPITA was a calling.
It took me a year of searching high and low for the right ateliers and fabrics to take CRUZ&PEPITA to market, and at the beginning of March 2020 I was rewarded with my first order from one of my favourite luxury hotels - the week before Covid locked us all down.
The timing for the launch a resort-wear brand wasn't ideal, but if living through a global pandemic teaches us anything, it’s this: Carpe Diem. If you believe in something, life’s too short not to try.
ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION
I love fashion and believe in its power as a means of self-expression and communication. But the current industry model is unsustainable, in human, economic and environmental terms.
Buying "less but better" will help address this, which means rethinking what we value.
By using what is known as deadstock (the excess fabric manufactured for fashion seasons) CRUZ&PEPITA provides a second life to silks and natural textiles that might otherwise wind up in landfill or being burned. The colour or pattern might not be achingly "on trend" but does that really matter if it looks great on you?
At the same time, CRUZ&PEPITA seeks to preserve and create fairly-paid jobs in France, a former garment manufacturing powerhouse which has seen its industry whittled away by cheaper alternatives elsewhere. Conserving French savoir-faire and providing sustainable employment in my adopted home is at the heart of CRUZ&PEPITA's crusade.
The choice to use only natural fibres is also essential to the CRUZ&PEPITA's DNA, and despite my background in branding and marketing, packaging has been limited to the basics.
As CRUZ&PEPITA develops, I plan to further explore sustainability in fashion and share the lessons I learn along the way. We're all in this together, after all.
ABOUT DESIGN PRINCIPLES
I'm a "less is more" kinda gal, at least when it comes to design. I prefer beautifully executed simplicity to frou-frou frills and tend to ignore trends in favour of a flattering silhouette.
My minimalist ethos dovetails with sustainability. I am conscious of the wastage created when cutting garments from cloth and strive to either adjust the cut to minimise waste or find a use for the off-cuts.
Above all, when it comes to fashion design, I want women to be comfortable and confident in what they wear and aim to create dresses (yes, mainly dresses) that bring out the best in us. A belt when we're feeling svelte, a little looser when required, but always stylish and feminine.
I was born in Toronto, studied in Scotland and lived in London for many years. I moved to Paris in 2010 and, given my passion for fashion, started consulting for boutique French fashion brands and even enrolled in a course at an esteemed fashion design school. (Since fate had landed me in Paris, I figured I might as well! And being a few decades over the average student age wasn't going to stop me.)
Between work and class, I learned about the dramatic decline of France's garment industry. Globalisation and cheap-labour abroad has closed factories all over the world, but France? Every "Made in PRC" label that I saw sewn into an up-market French frock made me more and more mad.
What could I do?
As a (wanna-be) jetsetter and packing-list nerd, I had long toyed with the idea of creating a line of cruise-wear and even doodled with the name and logo for CRUZ&PEPITA back in 2011. Yet for whatever reason - lack of self-belief? - I didn't think I could make it happen.
Talk about timing.