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The woman behind collaborations: an interview with Sarah Andelman

With her latest project, Colette's founder continues to look for new ways to connect brands and people

The woman behind collaborations: an interview with Sarah Andelman With her latest project, Colette's founder continues to look for new ways to connect brands and people

For most people, the name Sarah Andelman might mean nothing. However, for fashion and streetwear enthusiasts, this name immediately evokes a specific place and aesthetic, identifying Andelman as a fundamental figure in shaping contemporary taste and fashion as we know it today. 
Together with her mother, Colette Roussaux, Andelman was in fact the founder of one of the most famous concept stores in the world, Colette, an oasis of fashion and innovation in the heart of Paris, at 213 Rue Saint-Honoré, which closed in 2017. Colette has changed the course of fashion in its twenty years of activity, elevating the store to an ideal meeting place between different media and disciplines, combining fashion, art, streetwear, sneaker culture, design, food, and culture giving space to emerging designers and young labels. Colette was a more cultural than commercial space, a pilgrimage destination for anyone in Paris, to breathe the store's ultra-cool and contemporary atmosphere. 

It's impossible not to mention Colette and its global influence to understand the new course in Sarah Andelman's career. Among the most important and game-changing innovations that Colette had introduced there is in fact the idea of ​​collaboration, understood as the desire to create connections with different realities to give life to unique products, with a cultural value and as the symbol of the store's community, bound to become immediately cult objects. Colette has elevated the concept of collaboration, signing capsule collections together with the most important brands in the world, from Nike to Hermès, from BAPE to Thom Browne, up to Louis Vuitton, sacai, and many others. 

After the closure of the store, whose history was recently retraced in the documentary Colette Mon Amour, Andelman didn't leave the fashion industry, continuing to work and reflect on the concept of collaboration with her consulting company JUST AN IDEA. A few weeks ago the company presented its first physical products, five completely different photographic books, ranging from the works of five independent artists: Sho Shibuya, Nicole McLaughlin, Douglas Coupland, Louis-Géraud Castor and Eric Ng. All immediately sold out, ça va sans dire

nss magazine reached out to Sarah Andelman to find out more about the concept behind these books and if she has ever regretted closing Colette. 

#1 How did you select the first five titles to be published under JUST AN IDEA BOOKS? What made them the perfect fit to start off? 

They're all artists I love their work and mostly follow them only via Instagram, and I thought they need more than just a feed… And I like the diversity, from a florist in Paris to a young illustrator in Australia… 

#2 Why did you choose to begin with books as the first physical product of the agency? 

I still have my consulting agency, helping brands to develop collaborations, and this is a side project, more personal let’s say… 

#3 In a world of collectables and endless collections of sneakers and fashion archive collections, books have become the ultimate object to collect and display? 

I've always loved books and felt they're important in any environment… They're objects for inspiration and beyond. 

#4 JUST AN IDEA is a consulting company, specialized in the development of collaborations. At Colette, you’ve mastered and elevated the art of collaboration, how has this concept evolved and what’s its role today? 

It evolved in the sense that brands really know what it means… Every day, there’s a new phenomenal collaboration. Just yesterday: Gucci x Balenciaga, who could have imagined such a thing happening! Now, everything is possible, so it’s even more difficult to manage to surprise and keep authenticity… 

#5 What’s the formula for a successful collaboration? Do you think the fashion industry still needs them? 

We'll always need them to see things differently, but we don't need many of them…

#6 From Colette to JUST AN IDEA, everything you touch becomes a cult. How do you manage to create such anticipation and desire around your work? 

Thank you! But I don't think so! It's not about me but the fabulous talents I notice, and respect and support ;-) 

#7 In this (almost) post-pandemic world, do you wish Colette were still open? Are you optimistic about the future of physical retail? 

I'm so happy we closed before all of this! No regrets! And yes, I'm optimistic, new ideas and great concepts on their way! 

All JUST AN IDEA BOOKS products are available at this link