Saturday, October 1, a similar scene is playing out everywhere in France: the definitive closure of the Camaïeu shops.
Hugs between vendors and customers, tears, guards of honor, chocolates, flowers and champagne are legion.
The crowd and the emotion came to win the 511 stores spread across France: a true declaration of collective love for the 2,600 or so employees, who will be abandoned to their fate the same evening.
Several videos relayed on TikTok - seen hundreds of thousands of times for some - show long queues at the checkout, crowds, favored by the attraction of the clothes on sale, but also the desire to "help" the sellers through a revenue pool dedicated to financing severance pay.
In three days, it raised 25 million
Internally, we are talking about figures never recorded over this period of time.
A consequence of the liquidation of Camaïeu, decided seventy-two hours earlier by the Commercial Court of Lille.
Long described as the flagship of French clothing, the northern brand, created thirty-eight years ago by four former executives of the Mulliez group, had made a special place for itself in the hearts of French women who had designated it as their "favorite clothing brand" in the 2010s, ahead of H&M, Zara and Comptoir des Cotonniers.
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Cruel irony of fate, it was on a day of Paris Fashion Week that the sign with the pink and flowery logo definitely lowered its curtain.
Yet often used as a banner for societal or geopolitical causes (the last mobilization dates from March 2022, in favor of Ukraine, with parades evoking the conflict and demonstrations of support for the country), the unmissable event for the industry of fashion has not echoed this subject.
No statement deploring a social drama and the disappearance of Camaïeu, a name that marked the landscape of clothing in France for nearly forty years.
The mid-range brand, which has gained its popularity by selling basic clothing at affordable prices (between 20 and 40 euros on average) while playing the proximity card,
is gone for good, in the indifference of his peers.
But not in that of his clients whose numerous testimonies in the press deplore the end of a "family".
Read alsoCamaïeu liquidated, 500 shops closed, 2,600 jobs cut
Strengthened by this close and loyal relationship built up with its customers, Camaïeu started out with a competitive advantage in the world of mass-market fashion.
However, the end clap was anticipated in recent months due to the financial difficulties that the brand had been going through for several years.
Already weakened by digital competition, the brand has not recovered from the Covid years.
Forced to close the doors of the shops during the pandemic, the management refused to pay its rents despite a call to order from the courts, which had the effect of aggravating an already substantial debt.
Which did not settle with the cyberattack suffered by its online sales site in June 2021.
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And the multiple changes of hands since 2016 have not made it possible to raise the bar.
More comfortable in the field, with physical stores (the fashion brand was the one with the largest number of stores in France) than in the online business strategy, the brand paled in comparison to the offers in permanent ultra fast fashion discounts.
His clothes had become too expensive for a young generation fed with constant renewal, at prices still very attractive.
Designed on the fringes of trends, without any real positioning, they also took the opposite direction to that of a sector claiming to make a more ethical or inclusive shift.
Added to this is a degraded brand image.
In particular in 2013, following the collapse of Rana Plaza, in Bangladesh, which killed 1,138 people: in the middle of the rubble of this textile factory, labels and Camaïeu pants were found.
Then, in January 2022, due to a campaign, on the e-commerce site, made of images of women with bruises on their faces.
The goal ?
Raise awareness on the issue of violence against women.
Result: a flood of criticism for the brand, accused of “washing feminism” and caricatural representations.
The end of Camaïeu probably says a lot about the changes in consumption patterns.
Brands no longer exist just to tell us how to dress, but to integrate environmental, societal and economic concerns into the design of their clothes.
Should we nevertheless ignore this social drama that is being played out in the clothing industry?
At a time when the sector is weighed down by in-store sales which have plummeted since 2020, an entire industry is indeed concerned.
Just like the human gaze that we cast on its actors.