Words by Marina Lange
Retro, girly, and undeniably appealing to women everywhere, Liz Berg and Jeannette Tiso have found true success with their clothing line French Me. Inspired predominantly by French fashions and advertisements from the 1950’s and 60’s, the offerings include lots of dresses, jumpers, and swimsuits with that certain “je ne sais quoi” so synonymous with the French woman. Liz can attest to their immediate popularity when they began selling, saying, “The first week our bathing suits were in a boutique, they sold out.”
After a kick-start due to a chance offer from a friend to become an investor, the girls jumped into the process of starting their own line. However, shortly after writing their business plan, Liz went to study in Italy for a year, making everything that much more difficult. “It was nuts to try to do it overseas.” Still, that period gave them ample time for the stockpiling of ideas, which were put immediately to use as soon as she came back. “We did our collection in two weeks.” The hunger and true passion the girls have for their work is instantly clear when meeting them.
Their eyes sparkle, and you can almost see their chests swelling up with pride when they talk about what they’ve accomplished. Honestly though, who can blame them? At the ever-so-young age of 21, they are living out every fashion designer’s dream: working with your best friend, immediate success, and all while making clothes that you love. The girls are true independent women (cue the Beyoncé) who design, sew, and market all aspects of their line, but they are hoping that come winter they will be able to move some production into a factory. On top of all this, both girls are also currently students at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, as well has holding down part-time jobs.
Their fall and winter collections continue the enormous success of their previous lines, with a new 70’s spin on some pieces as well. Their trademark piece; the jumper is present, this time in new takes like an evening version and a denim one. While their collection is not huge, the designers have decided to scale back from the size of some of their previous collections, focusing instead on quality versus quantity of styles. Fittingly, their vintage-inspired line often incorporates materials from bygone days in the lining, pockets, and buttons of their pieces.
Recently the girls passed another major milestone: their very first fashion show, complete with editors from major magazines, as well as a large guest turnout. Currently French Me can be purchased at two stores in Brooklyn: Flirt boutique in Park Slope, as well as RedToeNails in Williamsburg. They are also selling at Gina Agosta in Novi, MI. Make sure to check out their myspace page at:www.myspace.com/frenchmeplease. They are sure to win you over!