Marie Douat, DOU.K’s founder and creative director, expects a lot from her brand. Product is magnificent and unique. Fit is precise and comfortable. All artisans receive appropriate compensation for their painstaking work, and production won’t favor trends over sustainability. DOU.K is emblamatic of luxury, and the ideal partner for our newest made-to-measure collaboration. It’s easy to go on and on and on and on about what makes DOU.K so special, but all it takes is a few words from Douat to realize it for yourself.
DOU.K Studio's Marie Douat
On Making Luxury Personal
JK: The personal experience that customers get with DOU.K studio sounds like heaven. So few offer that kind of client service these days. What made you decide to make that one-on-one interaction such an integral part of your business?
MD: Thank you for your appreciation! It hasn’t been easy. However, I have high expectations for DOU.K, just like its’ customers. Creating a made-to-measure shirt is about creating a new story. It’s important for me to understand my client’s wishes and needs so I can create their perfect shirt, which they will enjoy on many occasions. It’s only during a one-on-one appointment that we start building a unique relationship and our journey of creating unique pieces starts. One of my greatest pleasures is to hear my client’s beautiful stories when wearing their DOU.K shirt. Some proposed to their fiancée, learned how to fly, and others signed their dream contract. I want them to feel elegant, beautiful and powerful to accomplish their missions and dreams.
How will that parlay itself into the Antidote collaboration?
With Antidote, we wanted to bring this experience to our exclusive piece for all Antidote women. By designing a piece that is specifically for them. We are also offering the possibility to embroider their monogram to make it a unique piece!
“Being ethical and sustainable is not an option anymore in fashion. Luxury needs to be the leader in it.” – Marie Douat
I imagine that working made-to-measure helps ensure that you create zero-waste. Can you please tell me a bit about the environmental part of your project?
I would love to say DOU.K is zero-waste, however I can’t. We produce, therefore we have an impact, however we have put processes in place to minimize waste. We produce only pieces that have been ordered and we do not produce more than what we need (no extra stock). All our shirts are sent to a distribution center and are hand-delivered. We’ve minimized the usage extra packaging and shipping materials, while used recycled materials to reduce waste.
Our fabrics are of the highest quality, and will last for many years under normal conditions. Our service also includes replacement of cuffs and collars, while saving the fabric on the remainder of the shirt. A big part of our fabric collection includes organic cotton and certified Oeko-Tex 100.
I'd love to know more about the factory that you're working with in Poland.
Minimizing waste is only possible due to the close relationship and collaboration we have with our factory, which was founded in 1989 originally by an italian tailor and a polish business person. Their savoir-faire, heritage and expertise from Italy is incomparable! They work with the most beautiful and iconic fashion brands, and we are so grateful to have them as partners! Our close relationships allow us to work on special projects, like the collaboration with Antidote and work on minimizing waste, by recycling our cotton waste and re-using it for new products like the cuffs of our patchwork shirts.
Also, I see that you have a strong connection to the ocean. How is that taken into consideration with your business? Do you work with any ocean related charities or environmental ones?
I am originally from South West France. I was lucky enough to grow up on the Atlantic Ocean and spend most of my weekends and vacations on the beach or surfing. Oceans are part of my best memories and adventures. As a diver, oceans bring me so much joy and freedom and I knew there was a way to incorporate it into DOU.K. I wanted to produce a unique piece inspired by the magnificent humpback whales and give back somehow, and this is how the design of the Elia shirt was inspired. You can discover the Elia shirt here. The dress is made from a voile cotton certified Oeko-Tex, while the recycled mussels buttons are hand-sewn and the eye of a whales has been hand embroiderer in the back. A portion of the proceeds are being given back to the Shelltone Whales Project.
I love that you've found a way to make real luxury items (what's better than Albini) while still maintaining an ethical brand. How easy or difficult do you think it is to marry the two - luxury and sustainability?
My goal was to always create a beautiful and ethical product.. I simply will never compromise on this. First,I always source the highest quality fabrics and work only with mills that are 100% transparent on their supply chain and manufacturing. For me, luxury is about offering a unique service, a unique experience and a unique design while respecting the savoir-faire of artisans and making sure that every person involved in the production receives a fair wage. DOU.K is a small label, but since the beginning we offered an exclusive piece that gave back and benefited others.
Being ethical and sustainable is not an option any more in fashion. Luxury needs to be the leader in it.
Do you have any other tips on how others may do so? Specifically, is there a certain way of thinking that you think other business owners should have in order to infuse sustainability into their consumer-facing brands?
I strongly believe that as business owners we have certain responsibilities. We are responsible of the product we sell and produce just as much as we are responsible for the impact we have on the environment. We are also responsible for making sure that every person involved in the production are protected and paid a fair-wage. It’s our choice to be responsible.
My advice would be to build a strong relationship with your suppliers, partners and clients. Being transparent and honest is how we can change things - collaborate and act.
Can you please tell me a bit about the designs and fabrics that you've come up with for the Antidote collaboration? Where do you see them being worn?
These 2 designs came up after several discussions with Sophie! I wanted to understand who was the Antidote woman, where does she live and travel, what does she like to wear and how she wears her clothes. We wanted exclusive shirts that combine both of our creative visions.
Sophie and I believe that the DOU.K x Antidote women is an independent woman - a dreamer, a traveler, someone who loves life and people, someone who is passionate about everything going on around them! This is the reason we wanted 2 versatile pieces - intemporal which they could wear every season.
Our Annie Shirt - a white boyfriend shirt, is made from an 2-ply cotton twill from Albini. A twill has the particularity of having a casual look but I love to counterbalance this by using it in feminine creations to show the lustrous side of a beautiful twill. This shirt is the perfect balance between classic white blouse and the trendy oversized shirt that women love to wear. Tuck it in your suit pants or skirt and you will rock your business meetings. Wear it over your swimsuit to relax on the beach while reading your favorite book or simply wear it as a blouse and tie a large belt to highlight your waist.
Our Julie Shirt - our new patchwork is 100% cotton, which we wanted to mix and match several textures. In this shirt you will find an oxford, a twill, a twill melange and finally an italian poplin. This shirt offers a more casual look and carries the New York and Miami vibes all in one. The navy signifies the elegance found in New York women and the light blue and orange signifies the beautiful sunset on the ocean in Miami. A perfect Antidote to gray days during winter. Wear it tucked in or over your favorite vintage denim and a beautiful pair of heels. Travel, chill, and brunch with it!