Authenticity, sustainability and artistic exploration have always been at the heart of enSoie. Its story began in 1974, when Monique Meier took over esteemed Zurich silk house Brauchbar & Sons, founded in 1894, which had supplied leading couturiers in Paris and Rome with extravagant fabrics.
Monique duly established enSoie’s reputation as a pioneer in textile design by introducing a silk scarf collection, collaborating with artists such as Peter Fischli, Dieter Meier and Luciano Castelli who all contributed artworks for scarves and fabrics.
Apart from its iconic scarves and Vichy plaids, enSoie is best known for its timeless, yet consistently contemporary clothes and accessories, as well as its range of handcrafted ceramics and jewellery accompanying each fashion collection.
Anna Meier has joined her mother, leading the design team. She has introduced forward-forward basics, such as the logo-print sweatshirts, jumpsuits in all-over letter print, oversize coats and one-size pieces.
“We have never ever thrown any fabrics away”-Anna Meier
Otherwise, enSoie resists industry rules with a good measure of serene defiance: “We produce for soul, not for sale”, Monique Meier insists. The label champions traditional arts and crafts. The thread of ancient Indian artisanry weaves through all our collections. The scarves are still hand printed in the Swiss mountain village of Mitlödi.
Minimizing waste and constant reinvention are also key elements of the family firm’s DNA. One example is the ongoing fashion project What Goes Around Comes Around, which started as a mistake: a shirt arrived with the wrong cut. Instead of throwing it away, the team repurposed it as a bag. It sold so well that it has been re-worked time and again.
In 2014, enSoie introduced the 100% organic Sustainable Collection. Environment and high ethical standards apply throughout all production processes.
Sourire en soie – ‘smiling in silk’ - remains the label’s core value. It essentially translates to: a life without smiling is possible – but pointless.
Here we create, here it happens, here we live, here it started in 1974. Anna, the youngest daughter of founder and creative director Monique Meier, is in charge of the design team. She develops prints, clothes, accessories and jewellery. But enSoie being enSoie, creativity knows no bounds and collaborations are always encouraged. In 2014, Anna’s sister Sophie published a recipe book together with a Swiss cooking writer. Francis, the youngest sibling, is a talented draughtsman and provided the soundtrack to the spring/summer 2015 runway show. Meanwhile, Monique Meier still spends every day running the family business in the atelier at Strehlgasse 26 in Zurich’s old town.
This is where the magic happens. It all comes down to Surendra Joshi, our friend and Indian producer of 30 years. For Joshi, no ideas or designs are too complex. Through him, we have established long-term partnerships with craftsmen and producers in Kolkata. The artisans use century-old techniques and always leave us inspired. We do everything we can to help them pass the pearls of their vast wisdom on to the next generation. enSoie guarantees fair and regular payment, as well as a good work environment.
In autumn 2014, we opened a partner shop in the heart of Kolkata. It is run by Joshi and his daughter Radhika, who is also a designer. We look forward to many exciting new collaborations.