9 Independent French Designers

pretavoyager-parisdesignParis Fashion Week is in full swing, so I thought it’d be fun to share a post of my favorite independent designers, of a different sort—ahem, the ones actually in your budget and that make great souvenirs. The more I travel the more I realize that at times it seems everything looks the same, so on my Paris tours I make a concerted effort to showcase French designers and “made in France”—the things you can’t find everywhere. This post highlights nine of my favorite French brands who are constantly pushing the status quo, their work and the materials they use.

pretavoyager-omy-600OMY is a French company specializing in playful coloring “maps” that range from oversized wall posters to pocket guides to Paris and beyond. Fun for all ages. Shop 10th arrondissement (2 Rue Gabriel Laumain, 75010), and found around the city at shops like Merci and BonTon.

pretavoyager-papiertigre-600Papier Tigre run by 3 French designers is constantly pushing the possibilities and creativity of paper. Their products are printed on recycled paper, primarily in France. Their Paris shop is located at 5 Rue Filles du Calvaire 75003 (with their products also for sale at other boutiques), the Mitte area of Berlin, as well as a Pop-Up in Ginza, Tokyo.

pretavoyager-lebagnieur-600Le Baigner (translation: the bather) is a men’s natural soap brand with the most beautiful packaging.  Available at Papier Tigre and various stores around Paris, as well as online.

pretavoyager-maconlesquoy-600Macon & Lesquoy accessories take a playful spin on broaches (hand embroidered, inspired by military pins) and iron-on patches. It’s not until you put one on that you realize the full joy it brings — I love my croissant and pretzel! Available at Papier Tigre and various stores around Paris, and online.

pretavoyager-parisiener-600What started as a crowd-funding campaign to encourage illustrators to imagine a New Yorker-esque covers of the imaginary magazine “The Parisianer” has spun off into a series of posters and a book. Available at booksellers such as ARTAZART.

pretavoyager-nailmatic-600Nailmatic is a line of nail polish made in France. The company can often be seen collaborating with French brands like OMY and Paper Tigre. There’s a polish vending machine inside BonTon Filles du Calvaire, and available at a range of shops.

pretavoyager-jamni-600Jamini is the brainchild of Usha Bora, working with artisans in various regions of India to help bring a French design aesthetic to traditional craft methods from wood block prints [pictured here] for home décor to the use of peace worms for elegant scarves. Two boutiques (10 rue du Chateau d’Eau 75010 and 10 rue Notre Dame de Lorette 75009) + online shop.

pretavoyager-kerzon-600Kerzon is a scent-centric brand by two brothers focusing on smell packets, candles and more recently perfumes where the packaging is just as important as the product. Available online, at Papier Tigre, and various shops.

pretavoyager-linstantparisianL’Instant Parisien started as one of my favorite Paris-based websites and inspiring Instagram accounts highlighting chronicles of creatives around the city (in a local, non-cliché kind of way) before launching a crowd-funding campaign to launch their very own magazine (in French and English!). Available online and various stockists; cover art by Virginie Morgand.


Speaking of Paris, there’s currently a free Made in Paris expo in Hotel de Ville (City Hall in central Paris). Visit through the Rendezvous entrance facing BHV department store. Rendezvous also happens to be a great tourism resource and gift shop that’s aimed at a more local, less mainstream tourism crowd; they also have a fantastic collection of free, beautifully designed brochures of resources and events for you design fans.

The fall theme for Le Bon Marché department store is also Paris. The installation with Paris-curated products is on through October 15th and is a great way to discover unique French brands, and exclusive collaborations.


  • Anne, I love the phrase you used in your “About”: the intersection of travel and design. I just experienced that on a trip we recently took. The owners of both the hotel and the winery I featured in my post about it are people of taste with a clear design aesthetic that has made their properties unique.

  • This is awesome, Anne! So you :) Glad to see these great designers all in one cool post. I got an OMY map for my cousin and she’s obsessed.

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