“J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris!” sang Josephine Baker in the 1930’s. It is also the way our heart, at ITTZ, is split in two: between both our hometowns, Berlin and Paris. That is probably why we enjoyed imagining a true immersion in the city of lights, for the European Managers of a very much renowned German brand of sports wear.
What makes Paris so special? Its beauty and fantastic pastries, for sure, but that’s not all. Despite its massive gentrification, in which the city has lost some of its DNA, some aspects of true Parisian lifestyle remain. One of the most essential of these is the spontaneous and informal way for people to meet in public places. Is it because of the historical intramural real-estate crisis, a simple question of privacy, or is it a traditional local way to mix socialising and working, as some socio-cultural studies tend to suggest? It is indeed a Parisian custom to set up business meetings in cafés and you’ll often meet famous movie directors or actors at the Wepler Brasserie in Place Clichy, or global business men at Le Fumoir, to name a very few.
Moreover, Paris is a village, it’s surface about eight times smaller than Berlin, and you’re always bound to cross a familiar face at rush hour, bump into a friend sitting at a café terrace, decide to stop by for a spontaneous after work “apéro” for a good chat on the way home, or even meet at lunch time to share window shopping or any other occasion for a walk. What Victor Hugo brilliantly wrote in the Misérables in 1862 is still a matter of fact, “wandering is human, strolling is Parisian”.
We focused on giving the brand’s European Managers instant access to the local ways: not only to observe Parisian trends for sportswear in the city from an outside point of view, but also to walk in Parisian’s shoes for a couple of days, to adopt their perspective, to be immersed in their cultural, social, emotional life and to finally meet the spirit of the brand in person. We worked hard to gather everything necessary for a proper dive into the city, and to help the participants optimize their contact with the brand’s life in the fashion capital. We made sure, among others, that all the locations of the dense program (city safari, label encounters, meeting with multiple local figures, specialists and talents lectures and presentations etc.) were located within walking distances, in the very heart of Paris.