FRANCI was established in 2018 by designer Surinder Francis, with a secure vision of luxurious and contemporary fashion. FRANCI was recently featured in the October issue of the Harper’s Bazaar alongside the new collection! Have a look below!
How did the Franci Brand begin?
The Franci brand was borne out of a combination of factors that came together at a certain point in my life. My husband and I along with our 3 young children made the brave decision to emigrate to Hong Kong. I spent the next 10 years raising our children and it was after this time I felt the timing was right to look at pursuing a new path for myself. But even at this stage I still was not sure what I wanted to actually do! So I volunteered at an NGO in Hong Kong. I was asked to research sustainable organisations and NGO’s in various Asian countries and it was through this research I came across phenomenal causes and projects; from advocacy to development to social enterprise. This opened my mind to looking at ethical production. I have always had a passion for scarves and this is where I found the crossover and strongly felt to look at producing scarves but only from an ethical and mindful perspective……this is how Franci started! Our ethical values are to ensure our scarves are only made from pure natural fibres with no harm to source animals or the environment. All our scarves are hand-loomed by artisans. It was extremely important to me to look at ensuring the artisans are able to support themselves and their communities through fair pay in exchange for their knowledge and craftsmanship. In addition throughout the production processes, I felt there must be limited negative impact on the environment.
What inspired you to create a brand for contemporary and luxurious fashion accessories?
I noticed with so many luxury brands whilst the products are beautifully produced and perfect along with their packaging it was clear the products are mass produced with little or no ethical or mindful production processes. Mass production and fast fashion is not the way I wanted to steer Franci towards. I wanted to demonstrate that within the luxury market we can still produce contemporary and luxurious accessory pieces with authenticity and integrity by using beautiful natural pure fibres, centuries old knowledge, inter generational craftsmanship and individuality woven into every scarf. Franci scarves would be more lifetime pieces which can be worn time and time again and still look timeless for both men and women. However just producing an ethical product was not going far enough, the packaging also had to follow the same set of rules and ethics. Our packaging is beautiful and is only made from recycled paper with a minimal amount of FSC paper as is all our stationary. Franci’s premier collections are produced in pure cashmere with great patience, love and dexterity from artisans in the highlands of Nepal. Our newest collection coming on board in AW21/22 will be produced in pure baby alpaca fibre from the hands of mothers from the communities of Peru!
Mass production and fast fashion is not the way I wanted to steer Franci towards
What is the design process in how you make your scarves?
Franci scarves are predominantly single colours or a weave design. When designing a scarf I will always look at what colours are projected for the coming seasons and look at colour combinations: what colours look great together. Once I have decided on colours and pattern I usually make a copy of the scarf with the chosen Pantone colours. However, in reality the yarn is dyed with the colours and these coloured yarns are woven on a hand loom. Once woven the colours will not look like the actual Pantone colours. Therefore, a weave is drawn in illustrator and it is this weave with the actual colours that will give a more accurate visualisation of what the scarf will look like once woven. Sometimes in a weave the selected colours may not have the right aesthetic and the colour combinations will be changed within the group a number of times until the aesthetic is what I am looking for that will project modernity and contemporary.
The yarn is dyed with the colours and these coloured yarns are woven on a hand loom.
What inspired you to design scarves?
The want and need to partner with artisans coupled with the enjoyment of wearing this accessory is what inspired me and were the drivers to design scarves for men and women. I sought and continue to find artisans and communities who have great inter generational craft experience in working with pure fibres such as cashmere, alpaca and peace silk, and who possess centuries old knowledge in their craft.
When creating your designs, what inspires you to create a timeless piece?
When embarking on this journey it was very important to look at curating pieces that are slow fashion. Design pieces that can be worn by men and women time and time again and is luxurious to the touch but also the fibre and fabric will stand the test of time. Impeccable craftsmanship is the final element in the creations with production of small numbers maintaining exclusivity of these pieces for the brand.
Franci’s premier collections are produced in pure cashmere with great patience, love and dexterity from artisans in the highlands of Nepal. Our newest collection coming on board in AW21/22 will be produced in pure baby alpaca fibre from the hands of mothers from the communities of Peru!
Impeccable craftsmanship is the final element in the creations
Discover FRANCI full collection
Words by Kenah Tosh