French-African Boutique Le Marché Noir Spices Up Rue Perrée

by flaunt


French-African Boutique Le Marché Noir Spices Up Rue Perrée

Amah Ayivi's new store offers a boldly all-embracing take on fashion and design.

The name alone conveys a sense of underground rebelliousness and exclusivity in which we all wish to take part. Upon entering the new and elusive French boutique, I expect to find a simplicity and elegance consistently delivered by this western European country. Le Marché Noir, or “The Black Market” does not disappoint. Located at 18 Rue Perrée in Paris, this vibrant boutique brings a refreshingly earthy feel to the classicism typically found in the windows of French streets. Curvilinear and other natural, geometric shapes combine with wooden materials, earth tones and plant decorations to create an atmosphere of a modern, airy jungle. Together with a checkered tile that screams French elegance, the boutique is a perfect marriage of the two nations. Nestled in the city’s 3rd arrondissement in close proximity to its historic Carreau du Temple, I suspect this will quickly become a local hotspot.

A native of Togo and the owner of the roughly 6,500 square-foot thrift store-cum-boutique, Amah Ayivi offers a colorful playfulness often lacking in a Parisian woman’s wardrobe. The handpicked pieces reflect a joy and respect for the planet which is notably present in African culture. France’s large population of French-Africans are underrepresented in the nation’s powerful fashion industry. According to a 2012 CNN article, “African flavor at the heart of Paris,” there are “tens of thousands” of African people living in the city’s over 2 million population.

A large profit margin is not the ultimate end goal of this spacious store, with Ayivi wanting instead to bring a unique and organic concept to the sometimes stiff fashion scene. Combining art, fashion, and well-being into one truly individual business, Le Marché Noir consists of a clothing store, tearoom, textile workshop, styling sector and art exhibition space. Elevating the traditional shopping experience, this fresh concept makes good use of all the senses, offering us the tastes, smells, sights and textures of Ayivi’s beloved continent.

Slowly browsing the carefully crafted selection of garments, it is clear that minimal separation exists between the men’s’ and women’s’ sections. Trenchcoats, long a staple of French fashion, present themselves as a star of the online selection. They come in a range of bold colors and styles for both men and women. The classic blazer and leather jacket traditionally found in French culture are also represented in Ayivi’s thrifted collection, pairing exquisitely with the bright African colors and patterns. Accessories are vintage in style and shape, with classic brown leather materials and period-specific patterns. While pricier items like silk scarves and vintage American and French designer pieces exist, 80 percent of the offerings are constructed by the hands of talented African locals.

After feeling inspired by the display of indigenous African art, you can purchase your individually sourced, eclectic Afro-French items. If your pieces ever become flawed and you become unsatisfied, you are in luck because the workshop section of this unique store provides repair services. While you wait for your finished items to be returned, you can quietly relax at the tearoom with your exotic tea or mocktail.

Written by Olivia Jakli