BL1.D: the luxury brand that comes from the streets and is for the streets, without discrimination

A new brand is emerging in answer to the luxury industry.
BL1.D (read as "blindé") was designed by Mehdi Meftah and launched on 1 October via its online shopping site, www.bl1-d.com. A label that describes itself as "Urban Haute-Couture" which sheds light on the dysfunctions of the luxury sector in an effort to awaken its consumers.

Where do you come from and how did the idea of BL1.D come to be?

I do not come from the fashion world, my career path is unusual. Being an avid consumer of luxury products myself, I have observed the system in which we live and I have discovered that we are the victims of many scams. I find the prices of the luxury industry are often inflated in relation to the quality of the products proposed and consumers are taken for a ride. In my opinion, the only prestigious aspect of their products lies in being able to afford them!

So I decided to launch BL1.D to satisfy my ego and meet the needs of potential customers. I come from the Lyon suburbs and I want to show how the streets and streetwear currently influence fashion and luxury. Although codes from rap and diverse ethnic groups are increasingly found in the collections of major luxury brands, artistic directors do not necessarily have inside knowledge of the suburbs behind their inspiration. I feel they lack the legitimacy of what they manufacture. The industry has shone the spotlight on cities. But, unlike them, I have lived there and my product reflects the streets with a powerful message that invites respect and places value on these cities.

In my project, six people are already part of the adventure. The adventure of telling the truth as it is! Our executive director comes from the fashion industry. She has worked at Jean-Paul Gaultier and Sonia Rykiel and other external collaborators have also wanted to join us by committing to this good cause.

BL1.D: the luxury brand that comes from the streets and is for the streets, without discrimination

Which products make up your first collection?

At the moment, T-shirts are the core of our menswear collection. Available in black and white, they are manufactured in Portugal and their cut is entirely original and unique. Part of the collection is made with some of the finest cotton in the world (supima cotton), whereas the other part is made with high quality cotton.

We collaborate exclusively with Swarovski to decorate some of our pieces with crystals. However, the truly distinctive peculiarity, the added value of our products is the signature of all our items with a real 18-carat gold bar, fashioned and engraved by a French jeweller, positioned on the neck and hand-sewn. All our gold bars are identical in size.

Our T-shirts cost between EUR 445 and 685 they are costly but not exorbitant given their magnificent quality. In short, we introduce tracksuits, belts, caps and other accessories, always for men, and as from autumn-winter 2020 we will be launching our first collection for women.

Where is your brand marketed?

As from the 1st of October, BL1.D is sold exclusively via our website www.bl1-d.com. Meanwhile, we are approaching several luxury concept-stores in Paris, London, Miami, Singapore and Dubai.

What communication actions do you have in place to advertise your brand?

We have arranged a number of press interviews and we have posted photos of our collection on Facebook and Instagram. Nevertheless, we do not wish to be dragged into the "Instagram-system" aimed at paying influencers for a post or a story without even knowing whether the influencer actually likes the product or is doing it for the money. We think this is not authentic. Those who wear our clothing do so out of conviction.

With regard to our participation in events, without a doubt we shall be presenting BL1.D during Basel Art taking place in Miami in December.

BL1.D: the luxury brand that comes from the streets and is for the streets, without discrimination

What is your vision of luxury?

Nowadays, most major luxury brands no longer have any regard for you as a customer. Customer is no longer king, despite being their source of revenue!

I remember that, towards the late eighties, my father gave my mother a handbag of a major recognised brand. At the time, luxury was respected and this item was entirely made of leather. Today, the handbags under this same brand name are mostly made of plastic and leather bags no longer represent all of their collections. All these major brands have striven to conquer the masses and diversify their products by putting aside the nobility of the materials. I feel that they have now become luxury hypermarkets: they have lost their essence. Conversely, Hermès is one of the few brands to retain its original values, by proposing outstanding products and respecting their customers.

By contrast, with BL1.D I have created an authentic top quality product endowed with a strong identity. I do not make seven-fold coefficients of margins on my sales. I respect people's hard-earned "dough" and anybody can buy our products. We will always treat everybody the same way, irrespective of their social and ethnic origin and their buying power. BL1.D comes from the street and is for the street, without discrimination.

What is your message for prospective BL1.D consumers?

Our logo already speaks volumes. It represents a crown, a nod to Bansky... Our message is clear: the customer is king. They sit atop their throne. We want to transmit a feeling of excellence and integrity. When wearing BL1.D they feel like being respected and admired. Whether through our brand or through our customers we hope to gain noble, healthy and transparent recognition. At BL1.D, we don't pretend to be, we just are.

 

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