The buzz of Brother sewing machines is erratic. The washing machine is not running yet. The washing machine is not connected. But there are already about twenty seamstresses at their posts in the FashionCube jeans factory that was inaugurated on Tuesday 5 April in Neuville-en-Ferrain (North). The structure, which oversees the Jules, Pimkie, Bizzbee, Grain de malice and RougeGorge Lingerie clothing brands, has invested three million euros in this FashionCube Denim Center with the support of local authorities.
The President, Erwan Punelle, recalls how: “it took a bit of madness, courage and determination” to get this factory off the ground, in one of France’s textile cradles that have damaged years of relocation. And above all to make these trousers, in a recycled cotton and polyester canvas, woven in Turkey, for a retail price of 40 to 60 euros in stores.
The first jeans made in Neuville-en-Ferrain will be delivered at the end of April to the Jules brand, which is competing with Celio for the number one position among men’s fashion sellers in France. Named “Cinq Neuf”, it will be sold at a price of 59.59 euros.
Will he meet his audience? The French jeans market is dominated by two players: American Levi’s, the leading five-pocket brand, and Kiabi, the leading jeans sales channel, which takes almost 9% of the volumes in France with rock bottom prices of around EUR 10. Thanks to production mainly in Asia, the “average price of jeans for men is 32.20 euros”adds Hélène Janicaud, head of studies at Kantar in the clothing market.
Despite the importance of low prices, Jules’ management believes that the French client is now willing to spend more to reduce its environmental footprint thanks to “French manufacturing and better quality”† Pimkie should follow at the end of the year.
The brands 1083 and Atelier Tuffery have paved the way for these jeans made in France, with models selling for more than 100 euros. According to Kantar, 16% of buyers have opted for a so-called “ethical” model, that is, made in organic cotton in 2019. “In two years, the number of consumers for these models has tripled”thinks m.me Janicaud.
Therefore, Jules’ bet would be less risky than it seems. Especially because the brand with 450 stores already sells models for 49 euros. Customers “Will be willing to pay 10 euros more for jeans made in France”estimates Erika Joffrin-Cadix, director of the offer within the brand. “It will take time. It is quite a pedagogical challenge to make people understand the importance of buying in France”, admits Jean-Christophe Garbino, director of FashionCube.
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