Can Made in France clothing be sold at an affordable price?

Can Made in France clothing be sold at an affordable price?
Can Made in France clothing be sold at an affordable price?

If the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire claimed to want “ an industry which manufactures in France, which produces in France”, It is clear that reality suffers from a certain gap with these good intentions, particularly in the textile sector. A sector which is experiencing some difficulties: bankruptcies are increasing recently with the closure of more than 700 points of sale of independent chains in 2023 according to the French Fashion Institute (IFM). And the prospects are not necessarily reassuring, because 80% of French people say they want to reduce their clothing purchases.

However, the desire of consumers is there: 9 out of 10 French people want to consume more Made in France, as revealed a study, produced by OpinionWay for the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. However, 80% place price at the top of the most important criteria. But according to Fabienne Delahaye, the founder of the Made In France salon,the corollary of the current situation is that it is better to buy less but better with more durable products and identifiable after-sales service ». Is this really what will allow the Made in France textile sector, which currently represents only 3% of the market, to survive, or even grow?

Focus on quality and involve customers

Given the production costs in France, particularly labor costs, it is necessary to find a business model that allows a satisfactory level of profitability to be achieved to sustain the company. », advises Emmanuel Pradère, president of Experienced Capital. First lever: quality based on local know-how, which makes it possible to justify a higher than average price to acquire a more durable good. “ If you want to invest in a company that does Made in France, you must carry out audits of subcontractors to ensure that they have the capacity to produce quality goods on large volumes. » he continues.

“We still have to justify and explain this quality which is not always readable for products sometimes 1.5 to 2 times more expensive », underlines Marie Nguyen, co-founder of WeDressFair. This online sales site for eco-responsible clothing brings together more than 150 brands, 21% Made In France, many positioned in lingerie. Sunday runner and its sports clothing and accessories, made in France and eco-designed from recycled materials, has also relied very early on social networks with the aim of founding a community and setting up a co-creation system . “ It’s a win-win: customers are more involved and satisfied with a product that precisely meets their needs and this allows us, for our part, to limit the risk of industrial breakage. », Explains Maxime Marchal, co-founder of the brand.

Work on cost price

Another strategy: work on large volumes to allow for a lower cost price and therefore offer a more attractive price for the consumer without cutting into the margin. This is the approach that has just been adopted The French Brief, after having already reduced its prices on 50,000 products in 2023, via a pre-order system. “ With a turnover of 20 million euros and the status of the largest textile brand 100% Made in France, Le Slip Français today unveils its Revolutionary project : undertake an industrial production of 400,000 pieces to be able to divide our sales prices by 2 and thus make Made in France accessible to as many people as possible », Explained Guillaume Gibault, its president, at the launch of the operation. Two products are concerned: boxer shorts and briefs priced at 25 euros, compared to around 40 euros usually, whose design has been simplified, without “ no compromise on quality.”

We realize that in fact today there is no advantage in doing things well, that is to say in manufacturing locally, in doing things ethically. », nevertheless deplores Maxime Marchal. There is indeed the launch of the 50 million euro fund of Bpifrance Amorchage Industrie and or the bill adopted by the National Assembly to fight against fast fashion, including the establishment of a penalty to compensate for the environmental impact of these clothes, but players in the sector are campaigning for more action strong. For example “ why not a 5.5% VAT for Made in France brands like in food? », suggests Maxime Marchal, convinced “ that we need everyone. The more brands that manufacture in France, that relocate, the more we modernize our production system, the more we structure ourselves, the more we will achieve economies of scale. “.

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