History

ARPIN FAMILY

It all began in 1817 with the union of two men from the same family… When Savoy was yet to be part of France, Alexis and Jean-Baptiste Arpin decided to open their workshop in Séez Saint-Bernand, on the banks of the Versoyen River.

From the beginning, the did not hesitate to equip themselves with pedal-operated mechanical loom, at the forefront of progress at the time.

Since then, little has changed at the venerable Savoyard Company.

The gestures of the masters of wool have virtually remained the same and it is now Jacques Arpin, the 8th generation of the name, who perpetuates the family tradition.

HERITAGE

Wool, weave, Drap de Bonneval, the Alps, warmth, softness…

With just a few words, you can immediately feel Arpin’s soul and spirit. Soft, gentle words to comfort and caress, whether you’re in town or up in the mountains. They express the unique spirit of the Arpin mill, where we take the time to do things right and stay true to our own beliefs.

The superb Arpin products are still being crafted here today. These are a symbol of unique style, essential for anyone who “lives” and loves the mountains, both at home and away.

Our wool is sourced from the four valleys around us (Tarentaise, Beaufortain, Maurienne and Val d’Aoste). The various steps in the spinning and weaving process, unchanged over almost two centuries (between 17 and 24 steps, depending on the fabric), are completed on machines which are listed as National Heritage items.

Located on the banks of the Versoyen river which provides the water we need to generate electricity and wash our wool, our mill has always sought to respect and protect our environment. It is only natural – it is the source of so much wealth.

TRADITION

Weaving in the Haute-Tarentaise is a tradition from the 17th century. Arpin Family stands out in this work with Jean-Baptiste Arpin who invested in this activity in the beginning of the 19th century.

The Drap de Bonneval, first production of the Arpin Filature, owes its name to the « Pope of Bonneval-sur-Arc » (Haute-Maurienne), famous high-mountain guide in the 1800's. Pierre Blanc (1881-1966), son of Blanc le Greffier, one of the first high-mountain guide, loved the quality of the Drap de Bonneval and promoted it in the valley and beyond.

Today, even if the weaving and the spinning have been modernized, the production continues like in the old days at the rhythm of the seasons. The wool is bought to local farmers after the autumn shearing.

1817

The Mill is founded by Alexis and Jean-Baptiste

1821

Foundation of the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix, whose outfits are made from Drap de Séez.

1830

The first knickers are produced from Drap de Bonneval fabric. These clothes served generations of mountaineers, soldiers and adventurers.

1858

The Mill produced tents made from Drap de Bonneval to house and protect the future King of Sardinia, Emmanuel II, at the Col du Petit-St-Bernard.

1890

The Italian Expeditions to the Himalayas wore outfits made from Drap de Bonneval.

1903

The Mill installed its own turbine, allowing us to generate our own electricity. The Mill also provided power to Séez Saint-Bernard and Bourg-Saint-Maurice. Here, the factory became the first electrically powered place in the Haute-Tarentaise.

1917

100 years of ARPIN.

1930

Creation of the first Drap de Bonneval ski pants

1949

The clothes for the “French Polar Expeditions”, led by Paul- Émile Victor, are manufactured.

1990

The Paccard Company unveiled a commemorative engraved bell, a homage to the 7 generations who have run the Mill since it was founded in 1817.

1992

The Mill produced the outfits for the IOC at the Albertville Olympic Games, and throws for the guests they invited.

1994

14 machines have been listed as Historical Monuments and are protected as National Heritage items.

2003

A prestigious French fashion producer chose the Drap de Bonneval fabric for their collections.

2004

The Mill designs, develops and manufactures the uniforms for the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix in Drap de Bonneval.

2006

The first series of restoration work at the Mill is completed. It was designed to highlight our values of tradition and modernity. Arpin is awarded the “Living Heritage Company” label by the Ministry of Agriculture and Employment.

2007

The Living Heritage Company (EPV) label highlights the excellence of French products. It is awarded by the state to distinguish the finest French artisanal and industrial companies.

2010

The first “Maison Arpin” store is opened in the historic city centre of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

2011

Opening of a "Maison Arpin" in Lyon.

2015

Two “Maison Arpin” stores are opened in Megève and Val d’Isère.

2016

The Arpin Sport “Aventure” fashion collection. Arpin is a proud sponsor of the Aventure et Découverte festival in Val d’Isère.

2017

200 years of Arpin history.