French clothing brand Damart is blowing out sixty candles this year. Currently the brand focuses on “clothes with added value”, but in 1953 it all started on a bad note...
From fabrics company to mail order business…
In the early 1950s the brothers Joseph, Paul and Jules Despature had a fabrics business in the Rue Dammartin in Roubaix in the North of France. Because sales are falling, they decide to try something new: they have chlorofibres, which were only used for industrial means, knitted into warm underwear.
The sales in the shops are however disappointing and the brothers decide to only sell their products through mail order. The first catalogue is published in 1953 and marks the beginning of a success story. In 1957 the brothers open their first shop in Paris: the start of the famous Damart brand.
Since the discovery of the warming Thermolactyl fibre, Damart has always used its technological know-how to further develop their range of innovating textile fibres. They also created the cooling Océalis fibres and the acclimatising Climatyl fibres.
…with 140 shops
Damart may not have a trendy image, but “the brand has evolved during the course of time”, says fashion specialist Linda Van Waesberge. “A few years ago young designers were contacted to create a new collection and the brand not only offers warm and sound underwear. These days it also has sexy shirts with lace and an expansive prêt-à-porter collection.” The colourful birthday collection even has a jeans shirt.
The sales through the catalogue (which of course has its extension online) may still be very important for Damart, but the group also has about 140 shops in the most important European countries. In 2011 parent company Damartex launched a new boutique concept: Happy D. by Damart, focused on women from 55 to 65.