What the lockdown has meant for French fashion brands

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  • Last month, we asked Italian brands to share their lockdown experience, and the impact it has had on their business. Now, four French fashion brands reveal the impact of the crisis on theirs, and what they’ve done to change things for the better.

    Marion Rabate, founder of Ernest Leoty

    Lockdown means me and my partner have to work from home. My boyfriend has children so they currently aren’t at school at the moment. My external family is all over the world, between France, where the lockdown is very strict, and New York, where the rules are not that strict – but the risk of getting something much higher.

    Looking at France and Italy, this is something we had anticipated and as a team we had started working from home before confinement was mandatory. It means we had to make sure everyone was able to work from home, team wise some people went across the UK and France to their parents and families. Business wise, we are lucky that as an online business, we are still delivering. People spend more time at home, they need comfy clothes and do more home workouts.

    We have started a program of workout sessions on our Instagram live – people love it and I am sure it is something we will continue even after the lockdown. In terms of my tips for lockdown, they are: make sure you go through your normal routine (alarm, shower, etc), put some make-up on (to make you feel better), structure your home space so that it is comfortable to work in (I bought a new office chair), and do some online workouts like the Ernest Leoty Live ones! And make sure you have Zoom drinks with your friends!

    Anne Laure Mais, founder of Musier Paris

    We can still ship the orders but our production is stopped. Workshops are near Paris and they stopped everything so the launch of the summer collection will be postponed. The most important was the protection of our employees so we had only few people at the warehouse to ship orders and all the sanitary procedures have been respected.

    Personally, I have a garden and I realise how lucky I am for that. I can’t complain, I like to be at home and it’s a way to be more creative! With social media we feel less alone, we help each other to stay mentally alive, we get motivation from everyone. And for business it is so important as well, it allows us to talk with our customers and keep the contact.

    Laury Thilleman, founder of Parisienne et Alors

    The lockdown meant a lot of creativity for the brand and enabled us to imagine the next collection. Picture it even more comfy than the previous ones, aimed at a larger audience of women. This lockdown is a source of inspiration and an opportunity to be more creative as well.  Of course we have adapted the way we operate and our strategy due to the situation. We’ve develop special operations to help all of our everyday heroes on the front line. We support La Fondation de France by donating 10€ for each Sweat MONTAIGNE sold.

    Personally, I am coping with the lockdown in a positive way, even though the economy could be impacted in a major way. But we are all together in this boat and this is why it’s so important to be united. In this extraordinary situation, a surge of solidarity was born. Of course social media helps and contributes to the development of the brand. I was active and I am now proactive with the lockdown, at once with the good deeds, at the same time spread good vibes to people with yoga, meditation, cooking… I’m trying to guide my followers with their way to think, to move, to eat and to consume. The lockdown gives me the time to share and exchange with them. It’s an excellent opportunity to show all of our commitment to our loved audience.

    Pauline Ducruet, founder of ALTER

    We just showed the Fall Winter Collection in February in Paris a few weeks before countries got locked down. So business wise it kind of stopped the production process and sales. But I am focusing on the elaboration and the creation of the new collection. Which means a lot of sketching. We adapted the business to be more present virtually, for our community on social media. We are trying to fulfil the orders as much as we can it just takes a bit more time to arrive.

    It was weird at first because I am always on the go between cities, and to be stuck in one place was hard to apprehend. But now I find it quite nice to be able to slow down and enjoy some calm and peace. People are being so creative and innovative with all this time that we have. I love to see how this physical distance got people together and supportive of one another. I shows that the empathy and the love was always there we just needed to find it again.

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