Cover Feature

Avec Les Filles

Photo courtesy of Avec Les Filles

Started as a Rule Breaker. It’s Paying Off.

When Avec Les Filles, pronounced ah-veck-leh-fee, meaning “with the girls” in French, burst onto the fashion scene in 2017, it flouted the traditional rules of the outerwear floor. What had once been a category rooted in practicality suddenly caught that IT factor. The brand’s statement coats and jackets quickly caught the eye of celebrity stylists and mega influencers. Avec Les Filles has been on a meteoric rise ever since.

From the beginning, Avec Les Filles’ main purpose was to offer up something different from the commercial pieces out there already. The brand’s aesthetic, rooted in a feminine sensibility, is based on three style pillars—retro, street and runway. “We are at this unique intersection of accessibility, aspirational design and a nostalgic nod to the past. No other brand is fusing these influences,” said co-creative director Bradley Mounce. In describing their process, he and his co-creative director, Sofia Wahlberg, explained how they will look to a previous decade or trend for a silhouette, a recent runway show for inspiration in modernizing it, and then turn to the street for how to style it. The result is a collection of effortless, elevated essentials with a “must have” emotional fashion feel. Avec Les Filles makes you excited to get dressed in the morning. “There was a hole in the market for people who enjoy the art of dressing but have limited funds to do so. We’re here to provide that inspiration and encourage self-expression through your own personal style,” added Wahlberg.

Knowing they had a winning design formula that was resonating at retail—the brand is a top seller at Nordstrom, Macy’s and Anthropologie—Avec Les Filles began addressing more wardrobe needs. Dresses and sportswear soon launched with retailers and customers continuing to demand more. This fall, Avec Les Filles will be putting out footwear, under a licensing agreement with Kaanas Shoes. Wahlberg stated, “We thought shoes were such a great next category for us to explore because they’re kind of like a coat, they are the finishing touch to your outfit that can make or break the vibe.” Mounce added, “When choosing specific styles, we gave them [Kaanas] the same style prompts we give our own design team. What’s the must-have factor? How are we breaking the rules? How are we giving them fashion in a new perspective?”

The brand is not slowing down. Jamie Litvack, president of Bagatelle International which owns Avec Les Filles, knows that you have to stay ahead of the curve, admitting that he has been eyeing licensing agreements for everything from sunglasses to bags and perfumes. “We are turning Avec Les Filles into a world-class lifestyle brand,” he said.

For some brands, rapid growth means sacrificing quality. But not for Avec Les Filles. Everything is looked at thoroughly and thoughtfully. When it comes to selecting their network of manufacturing, design and sourcing Litvack stated, “You have to be detail-oriented with extremely high standards. We first began working in real leather and when you work with that kind of material you have to set the bar incredibly high.” Avec Les Filles continues to maintain those exacting standards, only working with the best of the best. Mounce stated, “We’re very selective with our fabric. We want the pieces to mimic the feel of luxury tailoring. And when those fabrics don’t exist, we make our own like our Faux-Ever Leather, a proprietary premium leather alternative that looks and feels like the real thing.”

Avec Les Filles’ core customer is young career women inspired by travel, art, fashion and culture. She’s not super girly and she’s not super tomboy, but she lives in this world playing with both elements. When those two worlds collide—that’s the Avec Les Filles girl. “She lives a full life and is driven in all aspects of her life. She is juggling her burgeoning career and bustling social life and doesn’t feel she has to pick between the two. The same goes for her fashion choices,” said Mounce. She wants the runway experience at an attainable price. She wants to experiment with trends without worrying about how to style them. She wants something that is of the moment that can also be put to good use beyond a season. “Our girl wants to have it all and why shouldn’t she? We believe in her and her ability to style a garment and not the other way around. We’re creating pieces to help her shine. She does the rest,” said Wahlberg.

When choosing who best to represent Avec Les Filles in its latest campaign, Hannah Godwin, an American television personality known for The Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise, model, YouTuber and app creator, was a perfect fit. Litvack said, “She is someone we have had a very long-standing, fruitful relationship with. Our core consumer knows her well and her style is aspirational yet also accessible.’’ After Godwin got married, she wanted to revamp her style which included becoming a little more sexy and fashion-forward, resonating with the Avec Les Filles ethos. Godwin’s willingness to try something new combined with Mounce’s and Wahlberg’s creative vision was magnetizing. In the campaign she’s styled in the brand’s signature outerwear—tailored wool-blend coats, strong-shoulder trenches, and faux-fur jackets—paired with an unexpected juxtaposition of glamorous dresses and edgy, distressed denim. “Our customers couldn’t get enough of it. Our retailers loved it. Everything she wore in the campaign sold out. We’ve always had a loyal celebrity and influencer following but suddenly talent agents started calling and major influencers DM’d us on Instagram, wanting to work with us. It was wild,” said Litvack.

With New York Fashion Week approaching, Litvack knew he had to seize the moment while the fashion world was watching. “Our initial plan for the campaign with Hannah was digital only but after the reaction we received, I knew we had to take it to the streets. We wrapped double-decker buses, streamed videos on digital trucks and took over print and digital billboards throughout the city,” said Litvack. When Godwin arrived in New York to see the campaign for the first time, it was a scene. Avec Les Filles invited two dozen influencers from Macy’s Style Crew to toast Han- nah at their recently renovated HQ. “Then everyone jumped on one of our branded double-decker buses for a city tour come street style shoot like no other. We toured our billboards with videographers and photographers in tow, capturing street-style pictures and videos of the crew along the way. People were stopping in the street staring at all the commotion,” added Litvack. Olivia Wei, director of Macy’s Style Crew, described the event as, “truly a dream,” adding, “Avec Les Filles is such a perfect brand fit for Macy’s Style Crew—our members are obsessed with showcasing trendy pieces and unique finds found at Macy’s on their social channels.” Not one to miss a beat, Litvack ensured everyone was dressed in fall ‘24 pieces. Avec Les Filles will use the content captured to market next season.

As Avec Les Filles continues to surpass retailers’ expectations and sales goals, finding endless ways to be creative and be a girl’s girl for their customers, Litvack is firmly focused on the future. For the 2024 year, on top of category expansion, continuing to grow their direct-to-consumer site (—which doubled year-on-year in 2023 under brother Adam Litvack, EVP, Marketing & E-commerce—and optimizing their current distribution channels, is the focus.

Retail is still essential to the brand’s success. Building a more intimate relationship with the customer and working even more hand in hand with their retail partners like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Anthropologie, Shopbop and others is a must. These retail partners “have been critical in helping to raise awareness of the brand and we’re excited to continue on this rocket ship with them,” said Litvack, who is also eyeing partnerships with retailers overseas. “I can’t disclose too much about the next five years, but I can tell you that we’re not following the usual playbook. Just watch this space.”

Avec Les Filles—a brand with the girls, for the girls.