In just four years, Mélissa Nepton has become a symbol of success, with sales outlets across Canada, collaborations with big names in the business, and countless other projects about to be revealed. How did she get where she is ?
Mélissa Nepton’s first fashion memories come from early childhood, when she watched her mother sewing in the basement. Her twin sister, Natasha, figured prominently then, and continues to play a key role.
From their first sewing projects, through their studies and on to their first jobs, the sisters have always followed each other closely. They both chose fashion design because they shared the same interests, but there was a little more to the story than that, especially from Melissa’s perspective: “I think I would have followed my sister anywhere, from sheer insecurity,” she says. After three years at Cégep Marie-Victorin and two years at UQAM, the girls flew off to Paris, where Natasha did an internship at Promostyl and Mélissa worked at Sonia Rykiel. Not surprisingly, Paris was a turning point in their careers. “Europe not only broadened my horizons,” says Mélissa, “it helped me find my own style. And that same inspiration is with me today.”
Back in Quebec, both twins became involved with local companies – Natasha at Tristan and Mélissa at Marie-Claire (Natasha would join her there two years later). “Marie-Claire is one of the best places to learn the business, because they give you the opportunity to manage a product from A to Z, including negotiating with fabric suppliers.” That experience would pay off big time when Mélissa launched her own line.
And then came La Collection, Quebec’s answer to Project Runway. It was the kind of visibility you simply can’t buy. “Natasha thought a TV reality show was kind of kitschy, but I convinced her to do it. I had a feeling that being twins would help us stand out.” She knew what she was talking about.