Hats off to Sarah Avettand
Often imitated but never equalled, on and off the slopes, Myne hats are immediately recognisable and always unique. Sarah Avettand knits and crochets them herself, using the skills passed on to her by her mother and grandmother when she was a child. Since then, this feisty young woman with a winning smile has done things her way, with her head in the stars and her feet firmly on the ground in Manigod, where she grew up. Today, she designs and sells her creations in a little boutique in the heart of the village.
Tell us about yourself …
I was born in Evian. My parents adopted me when I was three months old and took me with them to Manigod. As a child I loved sport – gym, karate, and of course, skiing. My first time on skis was at 18 months, at the age of six I joined a club. It was a real passion!
You achieved great things very quickly: winner of the Ecureuils d’Or, Junior French champion, Mont Blanc Espoirs…
I joined the French Espoirs team at the age of 14, with girls aged 18 to 22. It was difficult – the age difference, being part of a group, the relationship with the coaches. I felt out of my depth, I wasn’t ready for all the pressure. I ended up leaving competitive skiing.
And then what?
Until then, I hadn’t really worried about my future, I just wanted to ski. Suddenly I was a bit lost. I had to change my ideas. I was interested in interior design, so I studied applied arts and discovered fashion design. I paid for my studies by giving ski lessons.
Then you went back to competition, but in other areas.
Yes, I wanted more fun. I had taken up Skicross and Freestyle to get back on the slopes, but also to build links with skiwear brands. I was approached by the team at Roxy, who were looking for ambassadors to launch their skis. I travelled to Japan and Europe and took part in competitions … and then in 2009 I injured my knee, tearing the cruciate ligament. After two operations and a painful rehabilitation, I had to give it up for good.
It was an ordeal which turned into an opportunity in 2010…
I had been making hats for ages For me, for my friends, for friends of friends! So at the age of 22 I launched Myne – not an easy thing to do at that age. I was lucky to have great support from my family and from Philippe Gallay, the founder of TSL and a friend of my parents. He was a patron, an associate and a real mentor.
How did you get your brand Myne recognised?
Mostly by word of mouth, through shows and social networks. The champion Tessa Worley discovered my designs on the internet. I named the design she chose « Tessa » – it was a purple and plum hat with a ribbon. She wore it on several occasions after her victories, so it was great exposure for the brand.
Your hats have enjoyed increasing success – can you describe your designs ?
I design my hats as fashion accessories. They are all handmade in my studio in Manigod, with good quality materials that will stand the test of time. I work with handpicked French suppliers to make top of the range products which take many hours of work, using cashmere or silk and decorated with Swarovski crystals, lace and pearls, as well as simpler acrylic designs for all budgets. Every piece is unique.
Unique and often custom-made
The name Myne means “mine”. I wanted to produce unique pieces, never creating the same thing twice. Lots of customers come to see me at the shop or at shows with special orders. They tell me how they see their hat, the materials and finishes they would like… It’s great, because it’s really inspiring. I love improvising – it allows me to make hats I wouldn’t have thought of myself.
But it’s not just hats!
I also design jewellery, bracelets, headbands, sometimes scarves, hoods and even wraps. Designing, painting, making jewellery – creativity is part of my life.
Where can people meet you and buy your things?
At shows or in the shop, Myne in Manigod, which I share with another designer. But I’m not always in this area. My boyfriend and I have bought a house in Guadeloupe, on Marie Galante, where we spend six months of the year with our son.
Tips and favourites in the Aravis
The best places for Alpine skiing?
La Balme at La Clusaz is great for experienced skiers, and the slopes at Manigod are ideal for beginners.
The best view?
La Tournette seen from Manigod.
A great walk in the summer?
There are plenty: in Manigod I love to walk up Sulens or around La Chavonne. Both are easy to do with children.
The must-see place during a holiday in the Aravis?
Les Confins at La Clusaz, for its beauty and the panoramic view of the Aravis mountains.
Your favourite restaurant?
For an evening of fine dining at a reasonable price, aux Confins des Sens in Le Grand-Bornand.
Your favourite Savoyard dish?
The Berthoud (a cheese and potato dish) served at La Ferme, a traditional restaurant in La Clusaz with a great atmosphere. It’s a favourite with locals, so you know it’s good!
The shop Myne also offers creations by Sandra, who makes fairy tale-themed accessories for children.
Myne and Le Loup sort du bois: 114 Route de l’Aiguille, 74230 Manigod