More and more consumers want to consume differently. To value French know-how and craftsmen and to move away from brands that mass-produce on the other side of the world in degraded conditions. Indeed, a real collective awareness of the need to protect the planet seems to be taking root. This is why, today, there is a real craze for made in France. But what does this mean? Is it a simple fashion phenomenon or a profound change in consumption? Let's take a closer look at made in France fashion.
The made in France fashion : what is it ?
Although this concept is not yet regulated by law, made in France can be defined as a statement attesting that a product is manufactured in France. However, it is not a label and the European Commission does not require the origin of a product to be indicated, except when it is a food product. On the other hand, it does punish any brand that uses this term falsely.
In order to be considered as made in France, ready-to-wear clothing must meet certain criteria:
clothing made in France must have undergone its last substantial transformation in France;
one or more stages of its manufacture must be located in France and represent a significant part of its value. At least 45% of the materials used must come from France.
The cost of manufacturing in France must be at least 50% of the ex-factory price.
It is the customs code that will determine whether a product belongs to the made in France label. It is based on the performance of one of the production stages on French soil. As a general rule, it takes into account the manufacturing stage. Thus, the customs code considers a brand to be made in France if its products are assembled in France, even if the raw material and/or processing comes from abroad. For example, a men's T-shirt with a fabric woven, dyed and cut in Tunisia can be labelled as made in France, even if it has only been sewn on French territory.
Clothing made in France: a positive ecological and social impact
It is undeniable that "made in France" has ecological and social virtues. From an ecological point of view, the production process considerably limits energy expenditure, particularly due to transport. According to a study by the economic research firm specialising in energy (Enerdata), published in 2016, China's energy intensity is 64% higher than France's.
From an ethical point of view, the made in France label is a way to get away from brands that mass-produce in developing countries under deplorable working conditions. Indeed, a garment made in France ensures respect for human rights. It is also a way of reaffirming a certain economic patriotism, by promoting know-how that is sometimes on the verge of extinction and by creating jobs.
The limits of made-in-France clothing
Made in France, from raw materials to distribution, hardly exists. Why is this?
Very few raw materials are grown in France. For example, there is no cotton cultivation. In fact, 80% of the world's cotton is grown in 5 countries: China, India, Pakistan, Brazil and the United States. Thus, the only way to produce a cotton garment 100% made in France, would be to use recycled cotton to create a new completely French one.
France has seen a gradual de-industrialisation of the textile sector, leading to the disappearance of certain trades and skills. For example, today there are no longer any rivet factories for making jeans or shoes.
Moreover, the use of the made in France label tends to become a powerful marketing tool, if not a guarantee of ethics and quality. Indeed, French-washing exists, particularly with the use of marketing terms such as "designed in France", which in no way attest to French manufacturing. This is also the case when a garment is labelled "made in France" but the manufacturing process is not French. As the manufacturing process is the most expensive stage, as it requires a lot of labour, many French brands choose to subcontract this stage in a country where labour is cheap.
Fortunately, the law punishes any abuse. Indeed, the customs code punishes the import of foreign products labelled "made in France", in particular by requiring the removal of the mention. In addition, the Consumer Code defines any misleading origin as an offence punishable by two years' imprisonment and a fine of €37,500.
Finally, "made in France" does not necessarily mean 100% eco-responsible. Indeed, 60% of the clothing produced in the world is made from oil derivatives, which is a polluting and non-renewable resource. However, some brands made in France do not choose eco-responsible materials such as tencel, recycled materials or upcycled textiles. Some raw materials are largely produced in France. This is the case for hemp and linen.
How to recognize a made in France garment?
Pay attention to labels and tags
There are several ways to check that a garment is truly made in France. For example, some clues are clear:
The transparency of brands made in France : easy access to the places of manufacture, to the factories in which the brand is partnered or to the materials used, is very often a guarantee of veracity.
If a garment, such as a cotton jumper, is labelled 100% made in France, you will have to investigate further. As explained above, cotton is not grown in France.
Beware of French-washing, which translates into abusive mentions of made in France, such as "designed in France" or "imaginé à Paris".
Rely as much as possible on official labels, which certify that the product has been made in France (cutting, assembly and finishing) and that at least 50% of its unit price is made in France.
The following is a description of the most common statements on clothing labels:
Made in France : this is the most common wording used on clothing labels. However, as it is too permissive according to some fashion actors, labels have been created.
Designed in France: this does not mean that the product is made in France, but simply that it has been imagined and designed in France. The production was done abroad.
Assembled in France : these are products where the majority of the materials come from abroad.
Packaged in France : this is largely packaging manufactured in France for products manufactured abroad.
Processed in France : this is an indication that mainly concerns food products of foreign origin that arrive in their raw state and are then processed or elaborated in France.
In France, there are three labels based on specific specifications involving an independent certifying body. The label does not exempt the brand from complying with the rules of origin for affixing the made in France label to the product:
the living heritage company label ;
the guaranteed origin France label ;
the France terre textile label.
These labels of origin and quality are the best guarantees of fashion made in France.
Some brands made in France
More and more brands made in France are emerging. Among them, a pioneering brand set the pace years ago. Paul & Joe has been the embodiment of the high-end brand made in France since the beginning. Indeed, the designer has not given in to the fast fashion phenomenon, in order to remain true to its brand identity: producing excellent quality pieces, while promoting French know-how. The company manufactures 70% of its products in France, thanks to a large network of French partners and craftsmen. The collections are developed in the Parisian workshop, which is located in the Marais district.
Another emblematic brand of made in France: Maison Boinet. This women's leather goods brand manufactures all its products in France, in its workshop in Château Renault. In 2014, Maison Boinet obtained the EPV (Entreprise Patrimoine Vivant) label, guaranteeing a made in France origin.
In addition to the promise of manufacturing in France, the brand has always had a strong commitment to ecology. For example, Maison Boinet uses water-based glue for its leather, which does not contain solvents that are harmful to the environment. In this way, it promotes French know-how and the local economy, but is also committed to protecting the planet.
At ELLOZZE, we also have these concerns. We work in partnership with the best French workshops. Our credo: to work with pattern makers who have a perfect mastery of pattern making, to give priority to beautiful materials and careful finishing.
Our secret: to produce in small series with upcycled fabrics from the most beautiful Parisian and Italian luxury houses. We also offer capsules made of upcycled fabrics from luxury houses.