The 2011 event of the Made in France by Fatex Parisian mini-show is demonstrating the vitality of French luxury goods but, despite its reputation’s great success, garment manufacturers still need to remain cautious about the future. Whilst fighting over the territory of quality, proximity and reactivity, French High Fashion, reunited at the end of March at the Bourse de Commerce was able to attract all the big French names from the luxury and top of the range Prêt à Porter sectors. Among the big firms in couture, Dior, Hermès, Courrèges, Chloé, Lanvin, Jean-Paul Gaultier Azzaro, Balmain Louis Vuitton, Sonia Rykiel and Thierry Mugler, as well as the young couturier Maxime Simoëns, have visited the show.
The show was full with its usual reliable visitor numbers, leading to an order volume that looks more satisfactory than last year. One year before the elections, garment manufacturers have also managed to get the ear of politicians for their problems and of the media on the future of the industry in a fragile sector and on the action to be taken to preserve this high added value niche and its cultural heritage of unique know-how. Eric Besson, the Minister of the Interior on an official visit, recalled the projects supported by the government and funded with a total of a million Euros to assist French garment manufacturers and to optimise their capacity to innovate.
A professional show and a professional convention to make sure that the sector’s concerns are heard loud and clear despite the good health of the luxury sector. But it is also by addressing the public with a double exhibition combining the students of the IFM (French Fashion Institute) and garment manufacturers and also established commercial designers of French textiles with R3iLab’s Tech and Design programme that Made in France has demonstrated all the interest shown in French manufacturing when it brings together creativity and technique, attracting numerous passers-by and tourists who are fans of know-how à la française.
With an increase of 3% in its visitor numbers, the show has attracted orders from the French luxury sector by highlighting the discovery of new exhibitors.
26% of these visitors have come to look for new garment manufacturers
12% to meet their manufacturers.
Accessories, like prêt à porter, satisfied visitors, with regret, however, concerning the shortfall in supply to the male market unfortunately corresponding to the almost total disappearance of the supply of French manufacturing in the suit sector.
So local manufacturing is rediscovering its mark of prestige with customers placing orders who today can see the advantages and flexibility that they can obtain with Made in France and the added value in terms of image and even ethics with French customers. Today Made in France evidently appears to the public as a way of saving local jobs in the region, in particular thanks to the communication work of the show and of the various business groups in the region. Ségolène Royal’s visit to the show highlighted 4 SCOPs (collaborative and participative companies) set up by the staff of their old liquidated companies and who are now creating skilled jobs.
Even if the event remains above all a superb platform for meetings, exchanges and establishing contacts in the profession, the order books seem to be filling up for this season as hoped and some are talking about an increase in their production of 5 to 10%.
The good health of the luxury sector might lead one to think that we were emerging from the crisis. However, caution is still required and there is no sign of euphoria since exhibitors are anticipating the effect of the Japanese earthquake on French exports. In fact, Japan is a major importer of luxury goods and Made in France design. A fall in exports to that country from the big French luxury firms will without doubt have an impact on garment manufacturers’ output. Exhibitors nevertheless appear to be aware that it is now more than ever necessary to develop the image of Made in France for export worldwide, even if the work done via this show makes people in France aware of the importance of safeguarding French style.
The new exhibitors of manufactured garments, accessories and embroidery, all of good quality, seemed to be entirely satisfied with their Parisian contacts at the show. So new names will supplement their ranks of established designer clients. It should be noted that the number of designers, top of the range brands and renowned stylists is up by 12%, confirming the ultra-professional attraction of the Paris Bourse de Commerce venue.
From our correspondent in Paris