At ‘Made in France’

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Last week, I accompanied someone I currently work with to Made in France, “salon de la haute façon”, an annual trade show rassembling France’s best toll manufacturers. That was the first time I visited a trade show, and I discovered a special atmosphere… as well as the samples displaying the manufacturers’ best work.

There were some prestigous brands on the labels. Balmain, Kenzo, a lot of Balenciaga, a few English brands, Sonia Rykiel or Agnès B. We were interested in coats, but I realized that most of those brands sell them around €1000 or much, much more. It’s certainly not the first time this question pops up (more here if you’re fluent in French) but who, in France, can still afford to wear something made in France? I guess the same goes with most western countries…

I won’t answer to this question, but the manufacture’s representatives certainly did ; they wear their products pretty well, and they’re always happu to show you an incredibly interfaced jacket, a pair of shorts with the seams entirely bound in satin, or a cashmere jacket with seams so perfect that it doesn’t need a lining. After marvelling at those techniques, I felt like a pretty hopeless seamstress, but also realized that first, I was rather ashamed of my trench coat from the Gap, and then, that without being really conscious of it, it had been six months since I last bought something from H&M or Uniqlo, my favorite ready-to-wear stores. Ever since, I feel funny while thinking about a grandmother’s sensible words : “I can’t afford cheap things”… Damn.

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