“The political world isn’t moving: French savoir faire is in danger”

“The political world isn’t moving: French know-how is in danger”

French brands cheer “les métiers d’arts”. President Emmanuel Macron enjoys remembering how important luxury industry is for jobs, exports, and image. But according to the Comité Colbert, which represents 90 luxury brands located in France, the political world hasn’t taken any concrete steps: French savoir faire is in danger. “If we do nothing, 10 years from now we won’t have craftsmanship in France – says Bénédicte Epinay, president of Comité Colbert, to Les Echos -. And with no artisans, goldsmiths, shoemakers, designers, milliners, embroiderer and seamstresses, jewelers and glovemakers, French high fashion will not exist. Every year 10,000 jobs aren’t filled, and the situation will worsen in the coming years with the age-pyramid shifting.

Appeal to Macron

Comité Colbert has allegedly prepared a letter to Macron in which it asks the president to protect French know-how. How? By helping the industry resolve the talent acquisition problem. “There is such urgency that we are organizing a meeting with all artisanal segments – continues Epinay -. We plan on creating a roundtable with all those that have an interest in preserving this knowledge. Our brands, of course, along with training programs’ representatives and other stakeholder. Our goal for this meeting is that it will finalize the letter to send to the President”.

The forgotten jobs

How did the industry get to this point? If Paris has been able to make a statement among the fashion capitals it’s because of the multiple competencies of its laboratories, traditional, innovative, and creative ones. Artisanal jobs have gradually undervalued them and forgotten them. “They weren’t awarded the right value for a long time – states Alexandre Boquel, Director of Development of métiers d’Excellence by LVMH –. These professions have been neglected from the 19th century, that’s why there is great ignorance in these fields across young people, as they have no idea what a milliner or a setter does”.

Knowledge gap

At the basis of this lack of qualified personnel for the fashion segment is of course preparation and training courses. As we were told by Paraboot, there is a missing web of entities that can answer the market’s needs. According to Comité Colbert, CAPs (“Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle”) are filled with adults requalifying their skills, leaving no space for young people. These is a professional diploma for artisans and private schools, but they aren’t always satisfactory and the internal demand from brands is tied to internships. It’s not enough.

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