A Net Good: Fashion and Art to Support the Foyer
Jun 29, 2021

Paris-based fashion brand Verlan recently launched “Art for All,” a program to promote art and its accessibility through collaborations with international artists and non-profit organizations. For its inaugural edition, Verlan invited artist Marie Hazard to collaborate on a series of 110 white T-shirts with a one-off artwork. She chose to support Le Korsa and the new art classes at Les Foyers des Jeunes Filles in Tambacounda. 

Matthias Persson interviewed Marie and Lucca Lamoine, founder of Verlan, about the project. 

Matthias Persson: How did you first hear about Le Korsa?

Marie Hazard: The work of Anni and Josef Albers has long resonated with me and I was delighted to discover the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation some years ago. From there, the dots just seemed to connect, leading me to Thread and then Le Korsa. It’s a truly amazing combination of worthy causes. My dream would be to visit Senegal one day and meet the young ladies our project is supporting: to share our work, ideas and passions.

MP: What is your relation to Les Foyers des Jeunes Filles in Tambacounda?

MH: I’m 26 years old and thought to myself, I could have been in their shoes not so long ago. At that age so many things change so fast. Having access to medical facilities, education, sports, and art is so important. And you need help and support to feel secure and confident. Without that support it’s so much harder to make the right life choices. 

MP: Do you believe it is important for young people to receive art education? 

MH: I believe art is a way to spark your senses. We need this more than ever right now, during and after the pandemic. To find focus we need to concentrate on what brings us joy, what can bring us new, worthwhile experiences. Art education can reveal these different options to us and is clearly an invaluable means towards expressing oneself, finding oneself and succeeding on any path.  

MP: How did you end up with this particular design/motif with the blue threads?

MH: After a lot of trial and error! This design arrived after trying out many different colors and hues. I love blue because it acts as a color metaphor for so many subjects. And it’s gender neutral. I try to avoid notions of male versus female. The blue threads make up a net, which has deep symbolic meaning to me: representing interconnectedness, vacant space, structure and both strength and fragility. 

MP: Why were you keen to support Le Korsa with this project?

Lucca Lamoine: As soon as Marie proposed Le Korsa as the non-profit organization to support, it immediately appeared to be the perfect choice. Marie’s work has many links with education, culture, and the interconnectedness that Le Korsa supports. 

MP: How did the format (the collaboration between you and an artist, supporting an NGO) arise?

LL: We have been living in a strange world. Artists have struggled to show their art and audiences have been deprived of viewing. We believed the art world should respond to this unprecedented situation in an accessible and inclusive manner. And so Verlan’s “Art for All” program came into being. It promotes art and its accessibility via non-profit collaborations between international artists and the NGO or charity they select. All profits are then donated to this organization. 

MP: Can you tell us about the white T-shirt design and the material used?

LL: It started with the T-shirt serving as a “blank canvas.” Marie quickly came up with the idea to bond, through an original artwork, the Covid crisis as experienced in Europe to the situation facing people in Tambacounda. The result: Marie’s delicate yet strong net—a combination of linen, angora and polyester threads—that represents, as she puts it, “interconnectedness, vacant spaces, structure, strength and fragility all at once.”

The T-shirts are produced from heavyweight organic cotton, and designed to be straight-fitting and unisex. All are numbered by hand, from 1 – 110, and signed by Marie on the inside care label. Also, thanks to Arianee Blockchain technology, every T-shirt has a NFC chip, allowing owners to access information about their garment, receive invitations for launches and resell their product in the unlikely event that they choose to do so.

To learn more, visit Verlan.