Caroline Sciamma Massenet is the founder of SKIIM Paris, a luxury leather and suede brand which has recently expanded into knits and sustainable fabrics. SKIIM takes inspiration from French cinema and movie icons with a hint of French attitude and playful personality. Their raison d’être is to empower the modern woman through bold, effortless and refined clothing with a conscience. Caroline wanted to launch a leather brand that felt new and modern yet entirely sustainable. It was important to her to champion slow fashion – pieces that last forever, so she created very timeless pieces in a variety of colour ways. The designer has also worked with Arizona Muse to oversee sustainable consultancy to make sure their choices and decisions positively affect and protect our planet.
SKIIM Paris puts a huge emphasis on craftsmanship and zero waste – how important is the idea of sustainability to you?
It’s important to me to try and leave the world a better place than when we arrived, for the sake of our children and future generations. We know it’s virtually impossible to be perfect, but we put responsible decisions at the forefront of everything we do.
We’re constantly revising our approach and processes to ensure we are as clean as we can be. This includes considering new innovation in technology and materials.
Before producing our pieces, each and every design is reviewed with sustainability in mind, before taking decisions around how best to produce it. We work with small producers and workshops around the world from Poland and Romania for fabrics to Mongolia for cashmere and Portugal for leather, where our pieces are meticulously crafted with quality and longevity in mind.
The key to buying more sustainably is to buy smarter. Making a conscious choice to invest in the very best quality you can afford and choosing timeless designs means that each piece in your wardrobe will be worn and treasured for a lifetime, and handed down through generations.
There is a stigma surrounding sustainable fashion – how do you navigate around this idea?
We see it as our responsibility to challenge the often negative narrative surrounding sustainability as well as the use of leather and suede, which is usually based on assumption rather than fact. At SKIIM our materials are as conscientious as they are luxurious.
We work closely with Leather Working Group and Sustainable Angle accredited suppliers to source the highest quality fabrics, leather and suede, responsibly reclaimed from the meat industry.
Leather is a natural by-product, so using these hides helps to reduce waste and avoids non-biodegradable resources such as polyurethane, PVC or polyester found in most vegan leather.
Which women have inspired your journey of mother, wife and entrepreneur?
I admire all kinds of women. First of all, I admire mothers. One of the hardest tasks is being able to educate your children while balancing your role as a wife, and on top of that, a job. Furthermore, I admire beautiful, charismatic women who maintain their opinion and speak up like Brigitte Bardot. She was strong, she spoke up and always defended her opinion in her early years, she had no fear and had various charities to protect animals from cruelty; and leaving your immense career to pursue and fight for such important matters, I found that remarkable. My inspiration ranges from Brigitte Bardot, Lauren Hutton, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Birkin who is the perfect example of “less is more”. I also admire Amanda Gorman, an American poet, who spoke up in front of millions of people, and managed to brilliantly explain the world and its difficulties at such a young age. Overall, I admire women who are natural, have a powerful character, and are able to share their ideas to elevate the world all the while respecting the planet we live on.
Please describe a day in the life of Caroline Sciamma Massenet
I wake up at 7:10 am every morning to have breakfast with my children before they go to school. I cherish any small special moment with them.
I’m not really a morning person, so my Vitamin C drink is necessary for everything that comes next.
I have a nice, healthy breakfast, then have a TRX training to stay in shape and let off some steam.
From the training I go straight to the shower, then put on some light makeup and my outfit of the day. I usually mix and match pieces from my brand with other brands that I love like Alexandre Vauthier, Altuzarra, Victoria Beckham, and others. I sometimes snap a few pictures to show how to style certain SKIIM pieces.
For my design meetings and such I usually go to the studio, to be able to choose my pieces, edit my sketches and select the right amount of new styles. After our discussion, my team goes on to create technical draws based on my sketches. When the hands on, creative side has been reviewed, I head back home to continue my phone calls and reply to my never-ending emails until the day is over.
In the evening, I like to have a glass of wine with my husband to talk about our day, have dinner and watch our favourite series. Given we were majorly based at home this year, movies and TV were the highlight of our evenings! I’m a workaholic with no time limits, so I really appreciate pressing pause and spending quality time with my family after a long day of work.
What are your favourite brands and please describe your typical day to day uniform?
First and foremost, my favourite brand is SKIIM Paris, as I created it to have my ideal wardrobe! However, I do have my other favourites like Altuzarra, I used to style his fashion shows with my best friend Melanie Huynh back in the day. Also, as previously mentioned, I love Alexandre Vauthier, and Victoria Beckham for her trousers and shirts and Isabel Marant as she manifests my French style with a twist. My day to day uniform is my Nico jumpsuit, love how versatile it is, as you can look casual, but add one accessory or a pair of heels and suddenly look sexy. I’ve always been a trousers girl, whether it’s a high waisted piece to refine my waist, or switch it up with a comfortable baggy trouser!