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ÀCHEVAL illustration 1
05/01/2021 - Margaux Warin

“Gauchos” is the main inspiration and at the core of ÀCHEVAL, the clothing brand founded by Sofia Achaval de Montaigu and Lucila Sperber. After meeting through their individual jobs, the founders became close friends and decided to work together by launching their own brand in 2018. Inspired by their Argentinian roots and South America’s rich spirit and culture, the clothes echo the equestrian lifestyle while remaining modern and feminine.

Since the creation of ÀCHEVAL, Sofia and Lucila have been thoughtful about production methods and work consistently with local artisans to create luxurious pieces. After the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to go further in their approach and created the “KEEP MOVING” Manifesto: “ÀCHEVAL KEEP MOVING concept reflects our way of thinking and operating, based on the present, respecting the past and contributing to a better future”. The concept is to recycle ÀCHEVAL’s stock in three different ways: by donating to communities, by recycling for future collections, and by reselling garments as vintage in order to positively affect the production chain.

During the lockdown, we met Lucila and Sofia through Zoom to know more about the brand and their commitments, as their program is paving a new way to work with buyers and retailers in the fashion industry. 

Describe your Spring/Summer 2021 collection in 3 words :
Season-less, timeless, we inspire ourselves from our roots.
Also, the princess Diana, from the colour palette to her sailor style.
We always had the equestrian style as an inspiration, but this season we added the sailor concept and colours to the collection.

What is your favourite look from the collection?
One of our favourite looks is the Sailor Dress and Sailor Blouse. We love the ''white vintage colour’’, the black and white colour block, the pure cotton satin that we love.

Biggest source inspiration?
The Atlantic Ocean, the Gaucho universe. And, of course, the sailor.

How did you meet and decided to work together?
Sofia: Lucila was the brand manager for Rochas men in Argentina, before I was working as a fashion stylist, for V magazine. We met in Argentina during a fashion shooting for Rochas Men, and we started to brainstorm different ideas on how to create a brand together, we both had the same vision, we wanted to create a brand that was inspired by the Gauchos from the Pampas to the world.
Lucila: We had this connection between Argentina, Uruguay, and Paris. We both worked a lot in Paris. We noticed the way people were looking at our style and ideas. So we started to dream and develop this project.
We have this rare connection, we don’t use many words to understand each other, and the work luggage that we have, made this perfect match. We complement each other, it's very fun and nice. 

Why “Acheval” as a brand name ? 

Sofia’s husband, Thibault de Montaigu is a very renowned writer and we brainstormed with him. Also, Sofia's surname is an antique Argentine surname, Achaval. It is a merge between Sofia's surname and the joke of being on the horse, with the French accent, ÀCHEVAL.

What is it about the initial project, Keep moving and manifest?
The Keep moving manifest was born during Covid-19, to be more precise, during the first confinement. We wanted to do something different, we couldn’t stay the same way we were before, the idea of keep moving, the dreamy and magic behind ÀCHEVAL, so we had this idea.
We partner with Hilandería Warmi in the north of ArgentinA. It is a social enterprise Certified B Company that focuses its energies on validating an innovative model of territorial development that harmonizes a diversity of actors that, from the respectful cultural encounter and the use of management tools from the modern world, positive impact on the socio-economic development of the Argentine Puna in a sustainable way. 
We focus on the production of different scarves and ponchos, promoting the community, and also this area that always concerned us, sustainability and fair work conditions.
We also care about the retailer. We created this fidelity program, if they give some of their stock back, we can recycle or resell in different distribution options. 
The point is to work with sustainable work conditions, promote health for the people in need and reduce the stock.

What are the places that inspire you the most?
It is a mix of both of us, our friends… It is mainly, of course, Argentina, the Pampa region. Certain parts in Europe that we love such as Italy and France, the USA, Asia, where we grew a lot. 
Also, the contrast between cultures and countries, Buenos Aires and Paris, Uruguay and Milano. How the style is not the same, but the different inspiration from each of those cities, can merge and create a unique look.

Which artists inspire you the most?
Our new collection is inspired by Argentinian artists. Emilio Pettoruti really inspired us. Also, Picasso, Jorge Luis Borges, Jean Cocteau, and Louise Bourgeois. 

If you could live in an era where and why?
Sofia: In the seventies, I love its fashion, the style and also It is a big source of inspiration, and the free movement, the bohemian lifestyle.
Lucila: I would love to be alive and happy in the future and see the world being okay