#theinnovators | Meet Sebastien Francois of Induo
#theinnovators is a CFE photo series where we meet with the creative talent and alumni supported on the Fashion and Technology Emerging Futures Project. We visit them in the spaces where the magic happens.
For Sebastien Francois, his foray into fabric innovation came from a basic practical need to find shirts that were durable and would withstand the day to day wear that came with his busy, active life. Having graduated from HEC Paris and the MIT in the US, he built and sold his first company in e-commerce and decided to follow his passion for technical textile. No longer wanting to have to choose between the functional benefits of his sportswear and the elegance of dressing smart, he created innovative fabric company Induo, to offer simple, elegant and versatile fabrics that solve everyday problems.
How would you summarise your brand in three words?
INDUO® is the Gore-tex of dress shirts. Ok, it is not really three words so I would say: innovation, performance, elegance.
How did you come up with the concept of INDUO®?
Everything started with a personal need: I am a fast-paced person who – I can confess it publicly because of what we do – sweats easily, which is a terrible issue when you like to dress smart. I love mountaineering and I was always amazed by the performance of my sports clothing. I needed the same kind of performance in my everyday life but couldn’t find it anywhere. I joined the Centre for Fashion Intelligence in France and began talking with plenty of specialists about the feasibility of a fabric with sport-level performance and Saville Row tailored elegance. I concluded that with the proper team, it could be developed in half a year. And it took us two years and a half to have the first version!
Outside of your workspace where do you go to find inspiration?
Technically, my three main areas of inspiration are fabrics in the military, medics and obviously sports. My work is also deeply inspired by users and the issues they face every day. When you are working on very technical challenges, it is amazing to realize that all of that is eventually embedded in a piece of apparel, worn by someone who will never know how much human brain was needed for it!
What brings you the greatest satisfaction about what you do?
Wearing my own products is always a pleasure and hearing users telling me how it changed their life is a reward I don’t think I could have gotten in many jobs.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
I guess becoming the Gore-tex of everyday life will take a bit more than 5 years. But I hope we will be close to it!
Quick fire round
My favourite way to unwind is to be with my daughter, who is eight-month-old and amazes me every day.
I could never travel without a good book.
The last thing I googled was a research article on an obscure fabric wrinkle measurement system. But before that, it was a basic grammar rule I was unsure about, so don’t be impressed!
If my days had one extra hour I would maybe be able to do some sport! But truth is, I’m pretty sure work would fill it too.
I will always be excited to work in Fashtech because textile is such a huge part of our life. It is basically the first thing you touch when you are born but it was never really re-thought with our current technological abilities.
Sebastien Francois is CEO
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Photography credits – Emi Hyyppa