History of A L'OUVRIER

Le pub pour le métro aérien de Paris Le métro aérien de Paris


The story of the brand starts in 1905, when Henri HONNET, a commercial clerk, founded his own workwear clothes shop from scratch in the north of Paris.

He opened his shop at 210 boulevard de la Villette, PARIS.

The location was wisely selected; on the one hand the shop was easily visible from the elevated railway put into operation two years ago; on the other hand the shop is in front of "Rue d'Aubervilliers" underground station (now called “Stalingrad”). In 1910 the station grew in importance with the junction of another underground line. Thus many Parisian passers-by and blue-collars came across the shop.

The direct visibility on the shops from the subway allows an easy and very effective advertising, the paintings and big signs bloom quickly. Henri HONNET immediately had a large sign made with a very simple but effective name for a workwear store: "A l'Ouvrier" ("To the worker" in French).


Henri HONNET understood early the importance of advertising to bypass the fierce competition between workwear dealers: he got printed many postcards picturing his shop and offered them to stationeries. Mail post was the only means for common people to communicate with one’s family.
This way many Parisians discovered the shop existence.

Location, name, advertising and top-notch merchandising turned the shop famous amid workers in a couple of year.

Boutique A l'Ouvrier en 1906
Employee de commerce

First-part of the XIXth century

Henri HONNET’s wife, Louise-Joséphine helped him for shopkeeping. As a seamstress, she took in charge the altering of clothes and some clothes revamping or customization.

Positioned from the start on quality clothing, the shop was retailing the big names of workwear: Vétra (1927), Danton (1935) ...

His daughter Suzanne-Henriette, married to Henri BLAIS, a young employee trained by her father, took over in 1928.

The shop is now well-renowned and has turned to be the hallmark for any professionals and craftsmen in Paris and its region. With the young generation shop remained run by the family during the next decades.

Famous patrons

A little bit of history: in 1860, in order to thank Napoleon the third for backing the creation (unification) of Italy, Savoy was hand-over to France. As Napoleon III was eager to gain loyalty amid his brand new subjects, he granted a privilege to Savoy inhabitants: they became the exclusive 110 warehousemen of auction house Drouot (from the name of Napoleon (Ist)’s general of artillery…).
They were called the red-collars, as their uniforms had… red collars with an embroidered number on it.

Henri HONNET became the official supplier of the famous “Savoyards de Drouot”. The brand still owns the book of measurements of each Savoyards over a century given each uniform was tailor-made. The only true Savoyard jacket is the A l'Ouvrier jacket.

En-tete A l'Ouvrier marque
80's and 90's

Les années 80 et 90

In 1964 Henri BLAIS's daughter also took over the family shop.

But in 80s times were changing: factories and workers were vanishing from Paris, lowering the potential turnover.

In the 1990’s due to an important urbanistic revamping of the neighbourhood, the building of 210 boulevard de la Villette was torn down: the shop had to move away.
The last heir sought to sell the shop but nobody was interested anymore in workwear retailing.

A new family

In 1992, just before the effective teardown of the building, a young entrepreneur, Patrick BEERENS, understands the historical importance of the shop for the French workwear.

He bought over the brand/shop and installs it at a new address. Since then A l'Ouvrier keeps manufacturing workwear for worldwide connoisseurs and providing historical institutions.

Une nouvelle famille
Concept store A L'O - 1905


After a few years in reduced operation following a new forced move, A l'Ouvrier reinvents itself through a new address in a new district of Paris.

A new address that also has its own history, the new generation of the physical store is inspired by its history and the authenticity of its suppliers to recreate an iconic and contemporary sales space.

Selling beautiful products, made to last, a real know-how of historical brands, Made in France, through a centennial history, initials easy to remember in all languages: this is what A l'Ouvrier offers to the new generation of informed consumers and connoisseurs of real products.