When doodles become your own fashion designs

Daniel Vigny-Pau poses with a few of his T-shirts. Photo by Daniel Vigny-Pau

Concordia student and founder of Heure de Sieste T-shirt brand discusses his creative process

It’s abstract, awry, and mangled—yet you can still recognize what it is. Tristan has an ear replaced by a face, Noah has a mouth instead of an eye, and Mathilde is two-faced with a mouth where her heart should be. Tristan, Noah and Mathilde are screen printed T-shirts from the online store Heure de Sieste.

At 20 years old, Daniel Vigny-Pau, a second-year computer science student at Concordia, launched his own clothing line in September. It’s called Heure de Sieste, and it all started because Vigny-Pau was bored in a CEGEP physics class.

He started doodling in a notebook “trying to see how [to] distort people’s bodies or add random body parts to different places,” he said. That same notebook became Vigny-Pau’s sketchbook by the end of the year. He would stay up until 2 a.m. drawing if he was feeling down or in a bad mood.

Last year, Vigny-Pau looked into launching his own line of T-shirts with his designs. Yet he thought it was “too complicated and expensive” so he didn’t pursue it further. He continued drawing, though, and turned his personal Instagram into a fashion-focused account. That’s when his follower count went from 300 to over 1,000.

Streetwear clothing really encompasses Vigny-Pau’s personal style, especially brands like Comme des Garçons and Undercover. Even his biography on Instagram reads “I like clothes.”

Last spring, Vigny-Pau was motivated by friends and family to bring his designs to life. A friend asked him at a house party: “When are you going to do something in fashion?” Yet, it wasn’t until he teamed up with his current business partner, who wanted to remain anonymous, that Vigny-Pau’s idea started becoming reality.

His partner, who is in his first year of business school, has connections with manufacturers in Asia and takes care of the behind-the-scenes aspect of the business. For his part, Vigny-Pau takes care of the website and the brand’s social media platforms. Coincidentally, a week before he created the website, Vigny-Pau learned how to use HTML in a web programming class at Concordia, which helped him design the website he wanted.

A portrait of Daniel Vigny-Pau, the founder of the Montreal T-shirt brand Heure De Sieste. Photo by Sandra Hercegova.

“A lot of people nowadays have their own brands, but I wanted to do something different,” he said. “I’d like to think that these drawings are unique and not something people have seen before.” He described the T-shirts as minimalist, since the graphics are in black or white, yet bold due to the compelling design on them.

Vigny-Pau said someone once told him his designs look demonic. While he understands this description, what he sees are illustrations that are simply distorted and twisted. “I like to start with a face because they are so interesting, there is so much you can do with it,” he explained. The smaller features of the face are what he distorts—like drawing another face where an ear should be. He designs each illustration in one sitting in pencil. If he messes up, he said he finds a way to make it work because it’s not meant to look real. He never uses an eraser. “I let it come to me when I draw it,” Vigny-Pau said about his artistic process.

When Vigny-Pau was coming up with a name for the brand, he felt a French name would be best since it’s a Montreal brand. As he was scrolling through proverbs and French expressions, Heure de Sieste stood out to him. Vigny-Pau said he felt it was relevant, as most his drawings come from late-night sketching sessions right before bed. Sleep is also associated with nightmares, which is one of the vibes he goes for when designing the shirts. The logo is simple because his focus is less on the brand’s name and more on the graphics themselves.

Even though he’s a computer science student, Vigny-Pau always had an artistic side growing up. “I play piano, I did a lot of arts in high school,” he said. So creating and having this clothing line is a fun way to keep his artistic side active while in university. One of his drawings is even featured on the album cover of Out Here, a mixtape by his friend, Paul Ha.

The T-shirts for sale right now are available in a limited quantity, which Vigny-Pau said is a way to keep the clothing unique. He also intends to introduce more apparel to keep the line alive.

Heure de Sieste has a lot of plans for the future. Vigny-Pau said he hopes to release hoodies or perhaps even coach jackets with a print on the back. In the meantime, he has learned that it takes a lot of effort and time to turn a drawing into the custom-made T-shirts he sells to customers. Even once he has the first sample of the T-shirt ready, Vigny-Pau explained that the process isn’t over—there’s usually some tweaking before finalizing it, which he said takes patience.

Heure de Sieste’s winter collection will be released in December and will feature jumpers. “I want to finish my degree,” Vigny-Pau said. “ I like programming, but [the clothing line] is a fun thing to have on the side. I really want to see where it goes.”

Check out what Heure de Sieste has to offer by visiting http://www.heuredesieste.com.

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