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Ready-to-wear: the hard fight of "made in France"


Highlights: Only 3% of textile-clothing volumes sold in France are manufactured in France. "Made in France" has no future unless it capitalizes on the excellence of exceptional know-how, says the National Institute of Arts and Crafts. The ready-to-wear market that continues to decline, consumers are increasingly careful to spend. "Producing in France requires a strong and singular value," says Choain & Céline partner Emmanuel Ducat. The French textile industry wrote to Emmanuel Marcon on November 9 to receive concrete support in its relocation.

DECRYPTION - Despite successful initiatives, the sector is struggling to develop volumes.

This year, 1083 launched its first jeans 100% "made in France" by growing cotton in the Gers and Drôme. The Romans-sur-Isère-based manufacturer has sold 500 of them on pre-order. There will be more, but their number will depend on the quality of the next cotton harvest... Without going so far as to plant fields, dozens of brands, young and old, have bet on the "made in France": Saint-James, Petit Bateau, Le Slip français, 1083, Blanc Bonnet, Armor Lux, Aigle ... Their products, to be considered manufactured in France, are not entirely manufactured in the country, but "a significant part" is, according to customs.

According to the Union of Textile Industries, the sector employs 62,000 people, in 2200 companies, small manufacturers scattered throughout France.Actors who do not hesitate to go against the current, while the general trend for fifty years has been to relocate the manufacture of clothes in order to reduce costs as much as possible. "Those who make "made in France" are a bit of sweet crazy, determined to create local jobs, minimize their carbon impact and revive territories, summarizes Guillaume Gibault, president of the French Slip, which expects 20 million euros in turnover this year. We need to revive know-how, training, innovation, recruitment..." Today, only 3% of textile-clothing volumes sold in France are manufactured in France. "The challenge is to increase this figure to 5% in the next few years," according to Guillaume Gibault.

"Laborious, long but challenging"

Beyond the ecological benefit, there is a complicated economic equation to solve. In a ready-to-wear market that continues to decline, consumers are increasingly careful to spend. Because of inflation, he buys less and smarter - especially second-hand. To the detriment of clothes made in France. Thus, according to a recent study by OpinionWay, 89% of French people would like to consume more products "made in France", all categories combined. But they don't. "These products carry values. But their price is the number one obstacle to their purchase," admits Gilles Lasbordes, managing director of the Première Vision fashion show. However, this price will not go down. "Costs will always remain higher in France than abroad," warns Luc Lesénécal, president of Tricots Saint James, and the National Institute of Arts and Crafts (Inma). "Made in France" has no future unless it capitalizes on the excellence of exceptional know-how, recognized by the State label Entreprise du patrimoine vivant (EPV)."

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Saint James produces almost all of its sweaters and sailor shirts in France. In the Manche region, in Saint-James, 300 people work in its workshops. Three years ago, the company decided to relocate the manufacture of its peacoats to France. Until then, woollen cloth was made in the Ardennes. But the assembly was mainly done in Turkey. The first autumn-winter collection of the first peacoats "made in France" Saint James has just been released. "We wanted our three iconic products (sweater, sailor shirt, peacoat) to be made in France," explains Luc Lesénécal. We called on three manufacturers, one of whom was from Normandy. It costs us 30% more." Thanks to an optimization of production costs (orders are placed a year in advance), prices on the shelves have "only" increased by 20%.

Thomas Huriez, the founder of 1083, took ten years to revive the production of jeans in France, from cotton to buttons. "It's laborious, time-consuming, but challenging," he says. Creating beautiful products locally for consumers we meet in our stores and workshops makes sense. Economically, this difficult challenge is possible thanks to short supply chains." In a market of 67 million jeans bought in France each year, 1083 sells 50,000. It's much more than initially imagined, but it's a drop in the bucket. "Producing in France requires a strong and singular added value," insists Céline Choain, partner at Kea & Partners. The good news is that we have assets: innovation, rare business expertise, and industrial tools to meet the needs of proximity, responsiveness and traceability."

Watch the video "Made in France": does it work or not? - Olivier Ducatillion explains

However, volumes are not taking off. The French textile industry therefore wrote to Emmanuel Marcon on 9 November to receive concrete support in its relocation to France. In addition to investment support, professionals and their representatives are asking for tax incentives such as reduced VAT or subsidies. And, why not, more public orders. Saint-James supplies sweaters to the army, air force and navy. They also want to put an end to the confusion created by product labelling. Today, we find brands with French connotations and blue, white, red labels on products that are absolutely not made in France.

"There are several paid labels, such as Origine France Garantie and France Terre Textile," says Martin Breuvart, president of the Lemahieu hosiery and Façon de faire, a collective of 180 textile manufacturers. The label "made in France" is free, but vague. We are asking the government to impose the same label on everyone, with a requirement for transparency on the manufacturing stages."

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2023-11-28

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