Trusted partner: Denis & Fils

Denis & Fils is a player in the Lyon silk industry that is now essential in the world of French luxury. The Haute Couture houses are not mistaken, since Chanel discovered this treasure in the small town of Montchal, located in the Monts du Lyonnais.

Specialized in the creation and manufacture of fabrics composed of 85% natural silk, this family business for 3 generations celebrates the successful marriage between ancestral know-how and cutting-edge techniques. The fairer sex is spoiled: exclusive jacquards, ultra-fine silk muslin and refined accessories, everything is neat and mastered down to the smallest detail.

Jean-Paul and Bruno Denis tell the story of this small workshop that became big.

Drawing - Denis & Sons Drawing - © Denis & Fils - 2023

History of the House

Currently, Denis & Fils has two factories. One is for silk, wool and jacquard; the other in cotton as well as in velvet. The company now has around fifty looms. It controls the entire production chain: creation of exclusive patterns, warping and weaving, finishing, quality control and distribution. But it all started on three
looms in 1956.

Jean-Paul Denis defines himself above all as a Canute. His father bought a silk workshop in Lyon when he was 8 years old.

"We are born into textiles. I remember, already as a kid, I rode a tricycle in the middle of the trades. At 11-12 years old, I took up the trade and I knew how to weave. I took professional courses, but at 16 years old, I worked in the factory with my father. We had to learn to listen, it wasn't always easy!".

His son Bruno was born in 1976. He too was immersed in it from a very young age. He does his homework with his grandmother, on a corner of the desk, but the machines call him to the workshop. He in turn learned the trade with his family, in the company of his father and his uncle: first weaver, then textile reader.

Hand painting on silk Hand painted workshop on silk - © Denis & Fils - 2023

A new turn very Haute Couture

Today, it is he who runs the Denis & Fils company. But how did the small business in Montchal go from a traditional Lyon silk house to a Parisian Haute Couture house? It was played with a thread, or rather a few meters of ribbon. Bruno Denis still has fun.

"One day, I was received by Chanel, because they had a crazy project. They wanted to reproduce ribbons all in silk from a fabulous tailor from the house that they had found. We had to cut weave the ribbons, but we didn't have the right tools. And then I went for a weekend walk in Beaujolais and I met a charming lady. She had an old hand loom. She made us the fabric and we started like that. She didn't really believe in me: "what does the little kid want? In fact, we went from 7 meters to 21, then 140, then 2500! We had to ask ourselves the right questions to automate this hand weaving."

Mechanical loom Denis & Son
Mechanical craft - © Denis & Fils - 2023

Environment and innovation

This beautiful story as we like them perfectly defines the state of mind of Denis & Fils. Never rest on your laurels, even if they are silk. The quest for excellence is at the heart of all projects. Today, the various labels obtained by the house bear witness to this. Living Heritage Company and member of the France Terre Textile collective, it proudly defends the know-how of the Lyon silk industry. It is also committed to the environment by choosing GOTS, FSC and GRS fibers.

Finally, it engages in the new challenges of innovation. It has notably joined forces with Lightex Industrie Innovation to develop technical fabrics, such as lighting fabric made of optical fibers for medical and industrial applications.

But technology would be nothing without the 80 employees who work in Montchal, in an environment that Bruno Denis wants to be as beneficial as possible. Well-being at work is not a sweet dream, but a reality that materializes in an ambitious project. The company is building a new living space where staff can take a good lunch break, share a coffee in the sun and enjoy the fresh air.

"Being there next to the meadows and the cows was a hindrance at one time. Now it's an asset. No need for a gym, just go out with your sneakers. It's a serene and friendly setting, far from the city, which young people appreciate".

Range of colors - Denis et Fils
Range of colors - © Denis & Fils - 2023

The partnership with Philéone Tissus, a strong symbol of the values ​​upheld by the House

Transmission is the keystone of Denis & Fils. The company regularly welcomes work-study students from La Martinière Diderot high school or from ITECH Lyon. Bruno Denis attaches great importance to the young generation discovering the new challenges of the textile industry. The collaboration with Philéone is part of this logic.

"I have known Philibert and Virginie Varenne for many years now. I find them courageous: they fight to improve the image of textiles among the general public. In 1996, when I took over Denis & Fils, everyone treated me crazy. Now, it's different. The Philéone shop is proof of this. It offers individuals a good overview of the treasures that the Lyon silk industry is capable of manufacturing today. Textiles are modern, and it's is beautiful !".

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Discover the whole universe of Denis & Sons house

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Author of the article: Marie Formarier for Phileone France.