On 7 November 2018, Promostyl was present at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance for the Forum de la Mode, an annual event for the fashion and textile industry for the third consecutive time in partnership with the Ministry of Culture.

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The opening of the Forum

Introducing the Forum de la Mode at Bercy, Guillaume de Seynes, chair of the strategic committee for the fashion and luxury sector and Executive Vice-president Manufacturing Division & Equity Investments at Hermès, highlighted the great potential of this sector, which represents a real asset for France.

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“I have a message of great optimism and confidence about the potential and the reality of our sector. We are experiencing periods of strong growth, especially for luxury, and this is an incredible asset for our country in global competition,” he stated.

In fact, his words were backed up by extremely positive figures from the fashion sector. For example, it is worth remembering that fashion in France represents 154 billion euros in turnover and over 616,000 jobs in the sector.

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From the human to creativity through digital

Four round tables followed one another over the course of the day, tackling various themes all touching on strategic issues at stake for the fashion sector.

The first discussion focused on the human aspect and the search for a more responsible fashion. Eva Kruse, CEO and President of Global Fashion Agenda, highlighted the major potential of more environmentally friendly fashion among the planet’s consumers.

Barbara Coignet, the founder of 1.618, also stated that today “we are facing a population of demanding consumers, who are expressing a real aspiration for a more ethical and human approach. Production transparency and product traceability are therefore a must to combine economic concerns and these new values.”

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The digital revolution at the heart of distribution was the second theme addressed. Clarisse Reille, Executive Director of DEFI, gave a reminder that consumption behaviour is becoming increasingly digitalised, even though brick-and-mortar stores remain crucial in the fashion sector. By way of example, speaker Ulric Jerome, CEO of Matchesfashion.com, has been able to take advantage of the emergence of e-commerce while keeping these brick-and-mortar stores.

This combination of distribution channels allowed the company to increase its growth by 44% in 2017. Jean-Bernard Della Chiesa, Head of Innovation at the Etam Group, also stated that “this digital revolution has two aspects: at the same time, we are experiencing a strong digitalisation of distribution, but paradoxically we have never had so much contact with customers”. In the fashion sector, technological contributions are therefore enriching the human aspect and combining the two is an opportunity.

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Through the third round table, we were also able to discover historic know-how and fashion professions. “Nowadays it is complicated to find people trained in technical fashion professions and who want to work,” stated Jean-Christophe Dutel, Managing Director of Dutel SAS. In fact, the major problem raised during this discussion was the lack of professional training in the fashion sector. In order to remedy this lack of supply, training has been placed at the top of the priorities list.

A brand new school will soon be opened, aiming to achieve an international reach by bringing together the IFM and the Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture. This school will therefore make it possible to improve and transform training with higher levels and broader courses leading to qualifications. A sure way of encouraging young French students to enter the world of fashion.

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Finally, the day closed with a discussion adopting the theme of this third forum: France, a land of global creativity. Christelle Kocher, the founder of the Koché brand, shared her experience of what creativity as such means for her in France: “I take a 360° view of creativity. I’m involved at once in design, digital and communication.”

The importance of social media’s expansion was also mentioned to justify this return to creativity. However, nowadays creativity is expressed and deployed in a variety of ways, as the founders of H(earring) explained. They have decided to remove the hang-ups and medical jargon surrounding hearing aids, turning them into real fashion accessories.

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This third Forum de la Mode concluded with the deep conviction that France is a creative field with a rich ecosystem of designers that it is important to promote and thus ensure the global reach of France, a country with excellent know-how.

Crédit Photos : Cyrus Cornut