Charles Levai and Kevin Tekinel

Charles Levai and Kevin Tekinel on the Possibilities Found in "Maybe"

Show Notes


Charles Levai and Kevin Tekinel, creative directors and cofounders of the Paris-based creative agency Maybe, chat with Christopher Michael about their inspiring journey to success. Before launching their sought-after agency, they honed their skills separately in various creative fields. Their complementary expertise in graphic design, fashion imagery, and film and video editing allowed them to work collaboratively on brilliant concepts and projects, building a prestigious clientele roster, which includes top fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, Hermès, Coperni and The Row. In this episode, the duo highlights the importance of technology in the fashion industry and the exciting new ways it's been incorporated—such as the impressive Coperni spray dress—especially during the pandemic. With the demand to produce more content higher than ever, they weigh in on the role of Instagram and various social media platforms in today's content creation, underscoring the significant shift toward video content to engage audiences better. To Charles and Kevin, their thriving creative path comprises essential building blocks: collaboration, positivity, and a willingness to explore possibilities. What is contemporary now? Creating something relevant and in context with the present moment.

Episode Highlights
  • On the name Maybe: Maybe was born out of the duo's love for fashion and the creative fields and cemented by a long-lasting friendship. "Maybe," a reply often uttered by both, represents their boundless optimism and the belief that nothing is impossible or a definitive "no."
  • On their differing backgrounds: Charles, a master of graphic design, has a deep passion for fashion and imagery, while Kevin honed his skills in film before transitioning to the fashion world. Together they make a dynamic duo, working collaboratively on all aspects of their projects. Charles and Kevin find that being a team of two helps facilitate the creative process, and they value each other's input even when they don't initially agree.
  • On constraints sparking creativity: Maybe achieved quick success after its founding, defying the odds despite the pandemic—though challenging, spurred innovation in the fashion industry and creative problem-solving. The founders credit this success to their tireless efforts and a dash of good fortune. Repurposing existing images and creating new works without photo shoots became necessary, leading to groundbreaking new techniques in fashion photography and graphic design.
  • On technology: While technology has not advanced significantly in the fashion industry over the past decade, it definitely plays a crucial role in some of Maybe's projects.
  • On their approach: When working with a fashion house, Maybe likes to play with its codes and look at the world through its eyes, creating something unique and special. The duo prefers to do as much of the work—rather than working with large teams—to stay true to their artistic vision and creative independence.
  • On art versus commerce: While they balance their projects' commercial and artistic aspects harmoniously and profitably, they acknowledge that everything they do has a commercial start and end—with some projects being more commercial or image-driven than others.
  • On change: The fashion industry can be slow to embrace change, but brands have become more open to working with a newer generation. The agency believes its success is due to being at the right place at the right time, a newer generation of designers, and Paris reclaiming its rightful place as the epicenter of fashion and acting as a hub for creative people.
  • Advice for new creatives: Charles Levai recommends cultivating a sense of curiosity and finding inspiration in everything to contextualize things in a new framework. Collaboration is key; trust the people you work with and listen to your team's ideas. Kevin Tekinel suggests building an interest in different artistic fields to better communicate and collaborate with people in the industry. Assisting or working for someone else before starting a business is crucial in learning the process and adapting it to your way of doing things, paving the way for future success.
  • What's Contemporary Now: Being contemporary doesn't necessarily mean creating something new, but rather something relevant and in context with the present moment. It's about recontextualizing and mixing things to create something new, relevant, and appreciated.
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