The new business models for northern fashion

“Fem ni”. Reference to department North 59. This is the name of these jeans made in Hauts-de-France, gathered in Neuville-en-Ferrain near Roubaix. In 100% recycled canvas, it is sold for 59.59 euros in Christmas stores. These jeans will be the first in a long series, as the site, called the Fashion Cube Denim Center, born from the cluster of brands in the Mulliez galaxy, will then supply the brands Pimkie, Bizbee, Rouge-Gorge and Grain de Malice.

Born in the mind of project manager Christian Kinner four years ago, it took some pretty crazy customers to try this new adventure made in France, where everything had to be re-learned. ”, Under the inauguration of the site in early April, stressed Jean-Christophe Garbino, CEO of Fashion Cube. The 3 million euro investment was supported by the European metropolis Lille (400,000 euros) and by the regional council of Hauts-de-France (400,000 euros).

Automation is very important here in order to reduce production costs. On site, the fabric passes through an Electra brand cutting line, it is collected in a room with about fifty SIP Italy or Brother sewing machines, washed and dried in Tonello machines (with ozone and laser, which require 40 times less water).

Duplicate nearby

If this economic model proves to be profitable, the Fashion Cube does not exclude “duplicate” local mini-factories, in other regions or even abroad. Above all, the business model for these jeans will not involve ” produce only what we will be able to sell, without discount and without residues at the end of the collection, to restore all its value to a product made in France and citizen “, Emphasized Christian Kinner, former CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) manager at Pimkie and head of the Fashion Cube project. It is therefore a small revolution in the fashion world, which uses fabrics with a high CO2 footprint, buys products in very large quantities more than a year in advance, and where discounts are part of the landscape.

These jeans made in the Nordics also want to give recycled materials an honor for generating a lower CO2 footprint. If the Turkish fabric of this first model contains a canvas with 81% recycled cotton, 17% recycled polyester and 2% recycled elastane, the goal is clearly to go into the circular economy. ” Ultimately, we want customers to buy jeans and bring them back to us once they have been used so that the material can be recycled to make other products. “, Continues the CEO of Fashion Cube.

Produce only what is sold

To Roubaix, Atelier Agile also begins its textile revolution. It was set up a little less than a year ago and brings together four textile players: two manufacturers, with the northern tights Lemahieu and Les Tissages de Charlieu, based in the Loire, two northern distributors with the Blancheporte Id Group (Okaïdi, Obaïdi, Jacadi, etc.) as well as the Roubaix Association of Textile Professional Fashion Green Hub.

The goal, this time, is to produce only what was sold the previous week to rebuild the online outlets and stores as accurately as possible. The model aims to better meet demand and better keep up with trends … Except that this just-in-time manufacture requires a complete rethinking of the way clothes are produced.

The investment is significant because the new machines alone represent an investment of 630,000 euros (out of 850,000 in total) with printer, dryer, finishing, automatic cutting, 50 sewing machines (sticks, sergers, buttonholes, specific …). Atelier Agile was financially supported by the Regional Council through a grant of 600,000 euros granted under the PIA (Program of Investments for the Future). It was also supported by the European metropolis Lille (MEL), Roubaix City Hall, ADEME (Organic Transformation Agency) and Le Défi (a support organization for the fashion industry).

Atelier Agile is only dedicated to producing textile collections locally, in small series. Here, too, the concept could be used elsewhere in order to produce as close as possible to places of consumption. ” Our goal is not to replace the current supply methods, because we have neither the means nor all the competencies today to move all production warns Guillaume Aélion, director of operations. ” In the 90s, the French carried 95% made in France. Today it is almost 3%, while 1% of production represents 4,000 jobs. In the next ten years, it is certainly possible that the sector could move 20 to 25% to France, which would represent 80,000 jobs. “. Where L’Atelier agile aims to train 25 to 30 people and achieve around 3 million euros in turnover.

Complete paradigm shift

What you need to understand is that the paradigm shift is more important than you might think: the question is not only to manufacture in France, but to know how to imagine the new business model. », Guillaume Aélion continues. ” Today, unsold items are greatly reduced in order to be able to buy the next stock back with ever larger quantities to negotiate ever more prices … Which generates even more unsold items! To develop the food in France, you need a new model, without stock and at no extra cost, while developing recycling and up-cycling, for a product that is sold at the right price. “.

Within Agile Værkstedet, production is digitized: A design office designs in 3D / 2D, after which the product goes to print, automatic cutting and assembly. “In addition to our gym, we have referred to organic materials made in France, which are essential to succeed in producing in seven days and to be able to be virtuous in consumption”. With this in mind, the aggregation of orders makes it possible to limit scrap, by placing several products of different sizes in the same fabric surface.

Whether at Fashion Cube or L’Atelier Agile, the planned production will in any case represent only a tiny part of the sales of brands. For L’Atelier Agile, the 230,000 t-shirts that could be produced are nothing compared to the 13 million t-shirts sold per year for the Okaidi brand alone. At Fashion Cube, since 2024, it should be able to publish 2,000 jeans a day or 410,000 jeans a year. This represents only 6% of the amount of jeans sold each year at Jules, Pimkie, Bizbee, Rouge-Gorge and Grain de Malice. “ What we have set up with the Fashion Cube in Neuville-en-Ferrain is only the beginning of the story of this reindustrialization “.