From generation to generation…
Over 100 years ago, in 1908, in the Bearnese village of Gestas, Jean-Baptiste Gouze, son of a hand weaver, sets up a workshop for mechanical weaving –one of the first in the region. The originality and exceptional quality of his fabrics establishes his reputation among cloth merchants. From 1920, the department stores of Paris market the famous "Basque Country Linen" fabric (certified controlled designation of origin), created by Jean-Baptiste, the quality of which is rewarded with a medal at the famous decorative arts exposition in Paris in 1925. Ahead of the significant influx of orders, together with his son Félix he decides to build a factory in Bayonne in 1930, in the popular Saint-Esprit district, providing a place for qualified labour, and then to transfer his operations from there.
On the death of Jean-Baptiste in 1934, Félix Gouze, his son, trained at the School of Weaving in Roubaix, takes over the business. Under him, "Basque Country woven fabric" is sold to the four corners of the earth (Madagascar, equatorial Africa, Italy, Algeria…).
In 1960, Maïté, daughter of Félix, trained at the School of Textile Industries in Lyon as well as in her father's workshop, injects a shot of modernity into the family business with her high creativity in colours, her original patterns and her famous jacquards. She develops mail order trading which meets with notable success. Unfortunately, with the national textile industry crisis, the factory closes in 1977. A fresh start is required: Maïté branches out into mail order trading. The collections of the Oyala catalogue meet with notable success. In 1991, the OYALA boutique opens in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Rue Gambetta.
In 2002, the brand Tissage de Luz is created and Jérôme Fanfare, great grandson of Jean-Baptiste, continues the business by developing new products and new markets and by carrying on the values and expertise of his forebears.
"Our tablecloths are woven to last 100 years." Jean-Baptiste Gouze
From covering to deckchair
"Basque Country Linen" was to draw its origins from the covering for oxen called "saïal" in Basque. In the fields, just like in town on fair days, the animals wore this large rectangular striped linen cloth which protected them from the sun and pests.*
Over time, this wonderful fabric was used for household linen: tablecloths for the middle-class, sheets for dignitaries, cloths for housewives, bathroom towels for the house proud… Then, from the 19th century, Basque linen becomes fashionable thanks to the empress Eugenie, who makes Biarritz her holiday destination and a coveted seaside resort. Fine ladies buy everything in the fabric boutiques.
During the Second World War there is a shortage of raw materials, and requirements are focussed on clothing. Félix Gouze then adapts his products for the clothing industry.
Today, Basque linen has won wide acclaim and takes centre stage in interior fashion.
For five generations, our family has introduced Basque linen fashion by paying special attention to the design stage.
Each fabric style is unique, the result of research work and stylistic creation reflecting current trends.
While pursuing new directions, Tissage de Luz remains solidly anchored in the Basque identity. Green pastures and mountains, stone works, sunsets by the sea… so many poetic and natural worlds in subtle colours which serve as sources of inspiration to us.
The creativity and unaltered quality of the woven fabric, made in France in accordance with standards maintained for a century, have been the key to success for Tissage de Luz. It is this same spirit which guides the expert hands in the clothing workshop of Espelette as they cut, assemble, sew and take care of the finishing touches of the decorative items and accessories. This commitment to quality is recognized by the recent label, "Origine France Garantie" (French Origin Guaranteed).
A continually reinvented pattern
Historically, our family has envisioned and designed its fabric styles so as to have them inscribed in the fashion of the day. Stylisation, i.e. the designing of styles, is thus a key stage in the creation process.
During the research stage, the designer draws and defines the palette of colours for each range, their combinations, as well as the width and rhythm of stripes. If the traditional stripes have been retained, their rhythm and composition are less symmetrical, regular and conventional than those of linens in former times. Like a music score, they vary in width and keep the beat.
As for the colours, they have been widely diversified. Bright modern colours have been added to the traditional red, indigo and green, making up a palette of over 50 shades today.
Traditionally in flax, Basque linen is now woven in cotton thread. To guarantee a robust and durable product, the threads are carefully selected for their quality. Raw and white to start with, they are dyed in baths especially designed for Tissage de Luz. Each colour is unique and specific to each style.
The fabrics of Tissage de Luz all are produced in France on weaving looms and dobby mechanisms in accordance with Basque linen quality standards. The technique consists of regular right-angled interlacing of two sets of threads: vertical threads (warp threads) and horizontal threads (weft threads).
The way in which the threads intersect is what defines the weave. This determines the type (fabric, satin, twill…) and quality of each fabric.