The Lafont brand, inventor of the first carpenter’s pants and the famous overalls, is still the leader in the professional clothing market with an unrivalled reputation. Faithful to its values for more than a century and a half while being on the lookout for innovations.
In 1844, Louis Lafont, Adolphe’s grandfather, a peddler from the Pyrenees, decided to open a store in Lyon, whose potential in the fabric trade, boosted by the flourishing silk trade, had not escaped him. After marrying a Caladian woman, he put the peddler’s marmot in the 25 Grande Rue de la Guillotière in Lyon. His son took over the running of the store and added a tailor’s workshop to the fabric and ready-made clothing department.
Adolphe Lafont takes over the family store and aims high. Noting the success of the clothes made in the workshop, and probably also wanting to discourage any competition, he decided to register the name “Adolphe Lafont” in 1896 and create clearly recognizable labels. It is the first registered workwear brand in France.
The workers are satisfied with the clothes I sell them, if I put my name on them, they will remember me.
– Adolphe Lafont
He creates the first retail store of work clothes in Paris, rue Faubourg Saint-Martin. It was then that he began to make the first velvet pants, the idea for which had been given to him by his maternal grandfather. Not having a machine, he had to sew them by hand.
Hindered by the lack of space, he decided to go around the banks and bought a piece of land in 1904, in the Monplaisir district, to build a factory and thus replace the first workshop installed next to the store.
The factory becomes too small, to facilitate transport, he acquires a 5,000m² plot of land adjacent to the existing factory. The reputation of Lafont clothing was well established, but Adolphe Lafont was not content with that. A new subject attracts his attention. The fabrics purchased were of excellent quality and came from various regions. But in order to sell the best clothes to the workers at the right price, he has to internalize the dyeing and handling of the fabrics and weave the cotton yarns himself.
In 1911, he achieved his goal by acquiring a dyeing and finishing factory in Villeurbanne that he operated until 1925.
Despite the difficulty of setting up such a factory in the region, he did not stop there. In 1919, he acquired a 20,000m² plot of land in Villeurbanne and built a 6,000m² factory with a capacity of 400 looms.
It transforms what was a company in its own name into an SCA.
THE GENIUS IS THE EXTREME POINT OF THE PRACTICAL SENSE
JEAN COCTEAU – OPIUM
The overalls arrived in Paris and took their place in the fashion world.
Development of the brand in the United States. The workwear style is invited to the fashion parties of the mythical Club 54, in New York.
The comedian Coluche wears for the first time a Lafont striped overalls, which became from 1974 the official costume of the famous comedian.
The Lafont overalls make their appearance in “La Boum” by Claude Pinoteau, played by Sophie Marceau, in the role of Vic Beretton.
The André Group sells Adolphe Lafont to the Dutch company KLM Kleding
The Danish group Kansas Wenaas absorbs KLM Kleding
Kansas Wenaas becomes Kwintet
Launch of the Work Attitude range.
Work Attitude outfits are designed to protect professionals from all the aggressions linked to their work environment but also to the weather conditions.
Lafont was acquired in 2016 by the Cepovett family group based in Gleizé, a few blocks from the brand’s headquarters. As luck would have it, Cepovett, a European workwear major, has joined forces with a premium brand for which it has great ambitions.
When we took over the brand in 2016, we were keen to protect this know-how and to enhance the historical aura of Lafont, which enjoys a strong image among craftsmen and SMEs. Our goal is to strengthen the brand equity with a premium positioning, complementary to that of Cepovett Safety.
– Gaël Vanneuville & Nicolas Sandjian
Lafont is making a comeback in the hospitality market.
The brand becomes an exclusive partner with COET-MOF. Strongly involved in the world of craftsmanship since its origins, Lafont reaffirms the values that have made its success: a taste for work well done, high standards, the beauty of the gesture, transmission, and the excellence of French manual work.
A specialist in high-end work clothing, Lafont will become a global partner of the MICHELIN Guide in 2022. The company thus becomes the only one authorized to embroider the distinctions and vintages on the famous jackets given to the chefs of restaurants selected by the MICHELIN Guide.
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