At the Intersection Between Contemporary and Comfort: Meet Arjé.
Fashion

At the Intersection Between Contemporary and Comfort: Meet ARJÉ

Founded by husband and wife duo Bessie Afnaim Corral and Oliver Corral, the brand is a celebration of simplistic beauty through the lens of modern luxury.
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The name of the Corrals’ design brainchild, ARJÉ, is defined by the brand as "The Essence of Everything." It might sound like a lofty claim, sure—but upon first look at the clothing label that prides itself on creating beautiful wardrobe essentials, it becomes crystal clear that ARJÉ is simply just that. A thoughtful distillation of luxury fashion to its roots, the brand pares away the tinkling, yet often distracting, bells and whistles that cover so many of the collections we watch walk down the runways every season. Arjé is the fashionably physical manifestation of a collaboration between two creatives, two designers, two business partners—who also just so happen to be life partners, too. 

Debuting its first “Chapter” in early 2017, Arjé is nearing its two-year anniversary as a clothing label. Free from the restrictions of the traditional fashion calendar, the brand releases clothing in chapters that coincide with periods of organic creative inspiration that come and go in the couple’s lives—their latest chapter marking their 5th. 

“Each chapter always reflects a “story” in our life,” said the designers. “We start each chapter by reflecting on a personal moment that we are in, or a current philosophy we live by. We allow the emotion of a story to be translated into a concept within the collection.”

As collaborators within the label, and partners in life, the co-designers have found a sense of sync when it comes to developing Arjé’s unique, design aesthetic.

“We have always ‘seen’ the same thing, but have always had a very different way of approaching how to get there,” the Corrals explain. “Through the years of working together with and before ARJÉ, we have learned more and more about our strengths and weaknesses and have become incredibly complimentary. Our tastes have really evolved into one, but we love approaching everything with 2 brains and challenging each other to create something better than we would and could create alone.” 

With five chapters establishing a strong base of the brand’s design aesthetic, the clothing is heavily influenced by the co-designers “ well-traveled and semi-nomadic lifestyles.” Simplistic, neutral, and earthy, the brand feels deeply rooted in the natural, with an adaptive quality anchored in the aspects of minimalism.

“We are constantly inspired by nature, by natural forms, and by natures never-ending cycle. Less is more in our world and neutral colors allow you to see the form, structure, and construction of each piece, versus over-decorating pieces with too much noise,” said the Corrals. “Working with a never-ending neutral color palette allows us to keep all our and collections—or as we call them “chapters” connected. Every time we start a new collection we build a color story that works with the past season while keeping in mind the future seasons so there is a very defined connection between everything we do.”  

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Along with imbuing inspiration drawn from the personal into their clothing, the designers also aim to create a sense of familiarity for the consumer through their brick-and-mortar retail locations, which they call ARJÉ Homes. There’s one in the heart of SoHo and one in London as well. 

“Having a physical store has been one of the most rewarding experiences since we launched our brand. We have formed direct bonds with our customers, and have created incredible relationships that can only be formed in a physical world,” said the Corrals. “By nature of us running our own stores there is a very special energy within the store and we feel a true sense of community being built. We believe the ARJÉ space could be a catalyst to create a unique community in the heart of NYC.” 

Despite having locations in the US and UK, the self-described “lovechild” brand was originally conceived in the south of Italy. 

“ARJÉ was originally inspired by Puglia—not quite a city, but a region. We started traveling to Puglia the summer before we launched our brand, and so much of its natural beauty, purity and design sensibility formed our original concept of our brand,” said the designers. 

However, they are also sure to note that since establishing a home in NYC, the brand has taken on a new flavor inspired by the necessity for functionality and practicality in the American megacity. 

“Living in NYC and giving birth to our brand here, has given it a true urban, city vibe and practicality. Its both functional and chic, and built with a purpose of ‘wardrobing’ so you have one outfit that takes you from day to night, from office to dinner.”

The Arjé home on Wooster Street.

As ARJÉ moves closer to debuting Chapter Six, both creators look towards the future of the brand with hopes of growing it larger and incorporating elements of lifestyle products. 

“We see ARJÉ growing into a full lifestyle brand, from day one we envisioned a world when creating our brand,” said the Corrals. “Essentially, we want to create a full experience, a world where someone can eat, sleep, drink and literally be ARJÉ. Having our physical stores has allowed us to get closer to expressing this vision within our first year of business, but we have a lot more to explore. We now believe we have a community that is ready to receive our bigger vision.” 

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