Economy

Made In Marseille, Knit In North Africa: Textile Industry Unites Mediterranean

Alongside the changes emerging from the Arab spring, the fashion world in France’s southeast corner is shifting its focus away from Asia to its Mediterranean neighbors in North Africa, and establishing a textile industry network that is close at hand.

La Canebière by FaceMePLS
La Canebière by FaceMePLS
Paul Molga

MARSEILLE - Shorter production cycles, more efficient quality control...and yes, the beauty of a shared Mediterranean culture. Since the Arab spring, Marseille's textile industry has been rediscovering the virtues of proximity. Created in the French city's design studios, fashion is now being assembled just across the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

"Creativity in fashion design is benefiting greatly from these exchanges," says Maryline Bellieud-Vigouroux, an advisor to the president of the House of Mediterranean Fashion Professions (MMMM), which she created 18 years ago. At the forefront of this revival is the "Made in Marseille" marque. About 70 new brands were born from this fiery collaboration, including Fuego, Eva Kayan, Les Petites Bombes, Sessun, La Companie des Petits, Le Marseillais, and Tcheka.

In total, the textile and clothing industry represents 16% of the industrial activity in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. It is home to 11,000 companies giving rise to 26,800 jobs, according to figures released by the Marseille Chamber of Commerce. The Department of the Bouches-du-Rhone is the industry's leader with 4.3 billion euros in sales and a total of 34% of the region's textile companies creating up to 40% of the jobs, of which 6,600 are based in Marseille alone.

A bridge between two shores

By building a bridge between the two sides of the Mediterranean, Bellieud-Vigouroux wants to "keep fashion's sacred fire alive." For the second straight year, she's hosting an original initiative: a contest among Mediterranean countries, where eight designers are selected to attend training in Marseille under the supervision of important figures from the world of high fashion, prêt-a-porter and the textile industry. Last year, 70 personalities, including representatives from Chanel, Maje, Sandro and Gerard Darel, offered their expertise to teach these up-and-coming designers how to create and develop their brands.

"It's a boost to help young designers develop their businesses without falling into the most pernicious traps of this industry," says high-end designer Jocelyne Imbert who oversees the training program. In order to finish the program, young designers will have to present in November an original creation inspired by Moroccan, Spanish, Lebanese, Turkish, Portuguese, Tunisian, Israeli and French cultures. The MMMM is also fighting to make the Mediterranean textile industry something more than just a subcontractor.

Following Marseille's lead, a new school – The Casa Moda Academy – recently opened in Casablanca to promote fashion's avant-garde. "We work fast and well which allows us to compete with China," says Said Benabdeljalil of the Moroccan textile and clothing industry association. The industry employs 250,000 people in Morocco, making it the country's second biggest economic force.

Read original article in French here

Photo - FaceMePLS

Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!
China

Peng Shuai, A Reckoning China's Communist Party Can't Afford To Face

The mysterious disappearance – and brief reappearance – of the Chinese tennis star after her #metoo accusation against a party leader shows Beijing is prepared to do whatever is necessary to quash any challenge from its absolute rule.

Fears are growing about the safety and whereabouts of Peng Shuai

Yan Bennett and John Garrick

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai's apparent disappearance may have ended with a smattering of public events, which were carefully curated by state-run media and circulated in online clips. But many questions remain about the three weeks in which she was missing, and concerns linger over her well-being.

Peng, a former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion, had been out of the public eye since Nov. 2. 2021 when she penned a since-deleted social media post accusing former Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of sexual misconduct.

In the U.S. and Europe, such moments of courage from high-profile women have built momentum to out perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault and give a voice to those wronged. But in the political context of today's People's Republic of China (PRC) – a country that tightly controls political narratives within and outside its borders – something else happened. Peng was seemingly silenced; her #MeToo allegation was censored almost as soon as it was made.

Keep reading... Show less
Support Worldcrunch
We are grateful for reader support to continue our unique mission of delivering in English the best international journalism, regardless of language or geography. Click here to contribute whatever you can. Merci!
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ