She stood at the helm of fashion brand Anna Scott for years, but turned her life around both privately and professionally. Three years ago fashion started calling her name again and she started her own fashion label Breizh, inspired by her love for the Breton stripe. She recently renamed the brand: Plein Publique. Time for a short get-together with founder Nicole Hoefsmit, who is anything but someone who just sits back and watches.

You recently renamed Breizh Plein Publique. Why?

Breizh, the Breton name for Brittany, lived up to its name. They were products with an authentic Breton character. Think of stripes, skipper sweaters, merino wool. But conceptually, the flag has not covered the load for a while. In search of innovation and inspiration, I increasingly came across products and ideas that did not fit the DNA, but were simply too fun and too irresistible to just ignore. In addition: let's face it, Breizh doesn't really roll of the tongue, right? But the last straw was a conversation I had recently at a party. I quote: “How cool, your own brand! What is it called? Breizh? Aaah, brides, so you do bridal wear. ” Then I was sure. The time is right for a name change! ‘

Understandable, but also exciting. Yet the Breton stripe is still central. What makes this design so special?

'My very first favorite item of clothing ever was a striped Breton sweater, a souvenir of a holiday in Brittany. I wore it absolutely everywhere. I have a soft spot for classics anyway. Items with class and style, reliable building blocks that will guide you effortlessly through any fleeting fashion season. The Breton stripe sweater also belongs in that list. So it was an intuitive choice, but one with healthy commercial potential. ‘

You are originally a designer, but you now run an entire company. Are you still involved in the creative part?

'That's right, I am a designer, so I approach the product with an eye for detail. Within the defined framework of the Breton stripe I try to introduce individuality and diversity, without affecting the characteristic character of the stripe. And don't underestimate the choice of materials! You can buy a 13-in-a-dozen stripe shirt made of unknown material on any street corner. But pure merino wool or a high-quality combed organic cotton just adds that little bit of extra luxury to the items. In addition: all designs undergo a meticulous sampling process. From dyeing the right shade to perfecting the neckline and the perfect fit. All in all, a long process, but it is bearing fruit. '

You've led a major fashion brand before. Why do you choose small-scale now?

Anna Scott was all about bringing new items, in an unbroken stream of strung seasons. A rhythm that was dictated by the market, but certainly also by the demanding retailers who wanted a new item in the store every month. I missed the look of timeless items in the collection, and the freedom of choice in the range offered by my own online shop. The Plein Publique collection is smaller and much more framed. That looks like opting for a small scale, but we are now being overtaken by reality at an incredible pace. ' Laughing: 'In a little while we will be bigger than Anna Scott ever was.

Original text: Tanne Gielen via LOFFICIEL