DENIM, BUSINESS, FASHION AND CO.

COCKPIT, THE ICONIC VINTAGE STORE

Vintage and workwear lovers, this is the summer event :
The Cockpit shop has opened its doors, in the city of Lyon, France.
The ground floor is quite « classic », but the sesame of every collector is on the first floor :
Absolutely amazing and unique vintage garments will help you to empty your purse.

The human encyclopedia of vintage, a.k.a. Noam Benchemoun, is to blame for this crush.
We met him.

How did you jump in the textile industry world ?

I wanted to be an agricultural engineer in the ONF (National Forest Services), nothing to deal with the textile industry.
Having seen the French forest domain destroyed by the storm of 1999 totally discouraged me.
My passion for History started a long time ago : when I was young I was already playing with medieval Lego, and very quickly I discovered a real passion for History.
The passion for textile comes from my Father: He opened the first wholesale military surplus in Lyon in the 70’s. A real purist, a bargain hunter, a discoverer of Legendary garments…. A real « Bounty Killer ».
I owe him everything: The art of the antique hunting, the power to estimate the potential in a garment or fabrics.
He freed me from his knowledge and from his network, although the vintage is fashionable, the art to hunt for antiques is feudal. The Graal quest is the only thing that makes us stand up at crazy hours !
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Where do this incredible knowledge about the vintage comes from ? How do you keep this passion alive ?

When I was young, my father brought me very often to his warehouse. I was smaller than the TRPP8 walkie-talkie of the French army !
Regarding my passion, I bring it alive in everyday life through reading, watching internet and talking with my various contacts.
But also through numerous journeys abroad (USA, Israel, Germany, Holland, Japan) which allow me to have a different point of view on my business.
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You have a personal collection acquired from father to son. It is incredible and not for sale. It contains inestimable historic military items. Do you plan to keep it secret for a long time? Or will you find a way to share your treasures with the people?

To answer with conviction, they are not « treasures », but the testimonies of the past, like cave rock paintings.
I am the guardian of no knowledge, but I like thinking that by taking care of these tracks of past, the flame which urged these nations to fight for the freedom will never burn out.
I admit it it is very utopian & manichean, but this is my point of view.
We had created a museum with my father, we showed it…
The customers were delighted but the problem it is that the local collectors came only to make purchase proposals or asking for an estimation of their own goods.
For some envious persons, the only way to quench their passion was robbery, and that’s what happened !
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What is the concept of Cockpit?

Working at « General Store » for several years, my professional clients (theater, cinema and stylists)
needed a place where the research of clothes and unusual objects would be gathered in one place.

With my partner, we have created « Brut clothing » ( www.brut-clothing.com ) 4 years ago,
Mixing passion, research and modern requirements.
The website, the Tumblr and the Facebook page allowed us to make a link with our national and international customers.
We had created a showroom allowing us to receive our customers, in particular wholesalers in vintage Japanese.
The next step was the shop !
The geographical zone of Lyon is interesting. The Auguste Compte street is the antique retailer place.
It’s allowing me to have an approach of my business with an eye of a historian.
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What was the last crazy item that you have mocked?

A grouping of an American soldier from the 1850 Indian wars :
The horse saddle Maclean stamped SEATTLE FABRICS with the saddle carpet (blue wool, leather, inside canvas), monogram brass thread of the soldier initials.
3 quarters with the US letters on wrists.
4 soldiers’ photos with a grouping of 4 civilians ( family or friends )
1 flag with the various battles.
1 jacket blue woolen sheet, blue sky pants with sinchbeck.
3 gourds with a stencil mark.
3 canvas cartridge belts with double ammunitions row.
1 leather money-bag engraved  « NJ »  (New Jersey) by the official military manufacturer.
1 flag of the American black division called BUFFALO. Very controversial nickname given to the afro-americans, because of the frizzy hair on the head of the buffalo.
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Why did you chose Lyon, in France, and not somewhere else?

Lyon is a city which I know very well, I was born there.
My father has worked for 45 years in this city, and I think that it this city will have a great future :
Beautiful urban development projects, an ideal central geographical position in Europe:  3 hours from the sea, 2 hours from the mountain, 2hours from Paris, 3hours from Milan ……
The old town is classified in the world heritage, it’s the second city visited in France.
Cockpit is in the street of the antique retailers of Lyon.
Finally Lyon is a city steeped in history (the Roman vestiges of Lugdunum, the Second World War and Jean Moulin, Lucie Aubrac and the resistants of Lyon)
All these gathered factors make that Lyon is my city of heart, where I wanted to invest.
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What are your targets for Cockpit?

Have a faithful french and international clientele.
Develop our sourcing in order to work more closely with design studios, theater wardrobe masters, cinema….
A Co-branding with a well-made brand.
Develop Brut-clothing.com at Cockpit.
Work with brands for the styling on fashion shows, seasonal catalogs.
Widen in the world of architecture, art and interior design, in order to mix all these different but so close universes !
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