I’ve been privileged to pin down Dardant Equestrian’s founder and CEO, Pierre-Louis Coallier just long enough to find out more about the man behind the business, the experiences that motivate him plus what lies ahead for this haute couture equestrian brand.
“Fuel your mind, dress like a fashion icon, compete like a beast.” Is this your personal or business mantra?
I think it describes the ideal Equestrian Rider for whom we try to deliver Dardant products. We believe our customers are passionate, dedicated and avid riders who bond completely with their horses. This tag line also depicts the full spectrum of our Brand. Very Haute Couture but truly technical.
What led you to create Dardant Equestrian?
Ah… The million Pounds question…
Dardant is the epitome of a lifelong quest. I have been involved in the sports industry for many years and worked closely with apparel and fashion brands in North America and Europe. In my youth, I had the chance to be in contact with international artists, sculptors, painters and an advertising agency CEO who was a mentor for me. These encounters helped me shape a unique vision of art, fashion and brand development.
But in the end, Dardant was created to answer a growing demand for beautiful, technical sport apparel that would transcend the limits of fabric and fashion.
Why do you feel the equestrian world needs another brand?
We need fresh ideas. For decades, the equestrian industry has been driven by the same people and too often we have seen copycat design.
A few new brands are emerging, but we think our approach is radically different. We are driven by passion, technical savoir-faire and have been sourcing the most avant-garde partners to deliver something truly different.
What are the main influences behind your product development?
The Golden Romantic Victorian Era for design of clothing, when everyone was riding, it was so elegant. At the same time, a huge influence from modern fabric design acquired from the technical advancement of cutting edge new textiles used in the skiing & cycling industry.
But what is essential for us is to bring back production in a Haute Couture way. Meaning that we privilege bespoke creation in Europe and value handmade creations. Our goal is not to produce mass manufacturing in some remote areas of the world to exploit children but to value creative work from artists & artisans as well as developing new talents here in our homeland.
Still, we also use advanced technology in our development process. It’s a mix of the old and the new.
I see you’re looking to ‘go global’, what challenges do you think lie ahead?
Going Global is indeed a huge challenge, but being international is an obligation in this industry. As we are already in the Web 2.0 and the multi-screens era, something designed in London can be seen in seconds in Dubai. Technology enables us to be in close contact with our customers all over the world and we can fine-tune products easily at a distance.
Having a global vision even at this stage is possible since our team is composed of a very multicultural breed of individuals. We anticipate the subtleties of creating products and communicating with customers in different countries in Europe but also know that it can be radically different when we address ourselves to customers in the Emirates or the USA.
Since starting your own clothing line, has your personal style changed at all?
In some kind of way, yes. I do spend more time wearing my riding boots and jodphurs than before. I also have been drawing some new ideas for Equestrian Streetwear clothing, but that will be the topic of maybe another article?
Starting a new business is hard work. How do you relax in your downtime?
Riding, reading, playing and composing music. I think music for me is the best escape apart from riding horses, having a classical background, when I sit by the piano, I can let my mind free and this helps with the creation process.
Riding my horses is definitely the ultimate reward. During those moments, modernity, technology and smartphones are put aside and when riding in the country I sometimes forget that I’m living in the 21st century. Everyone should do this!
If our readers like the sound of Dardant, how can they find out more?
Our website www.dardant.com and social networks are an easy way to connect. We hope to meet equestrians in our Flagship stores & Shop-in-Shops and that more equine lovers will discover our brand.
Finally, may everyone adopt our other famous tagline – Talk about us, Dream about us…We Are Equestrians!