NEW YORK —Caudry, France — fashion capital? Hardly. Although when it comes to fine lace, it’s what Paris is to haute couture. A sleepy town back in the mid-19th century, it now boasts the leading producers of Leavers lace worldwide. It was Solstiss that put Caudry on the map.

Branded in 1974, the lace manufacturer is actually an amalgam of four former competitors. They came together after fashion’s Courrèges moment in the mid-Sixties, when the demand for lace was at an all-time low. The mill owners decided that, united, they stood a better chance and joined forces to form one company. Although the factories never merged, their marketing, sales and distribution efforts were unified. "It was a way to evolve at the time," says Francois Damide, the president of Solstiss Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Solstiss and Bucol, a silk mill in Lyon. "If they hadn’t done it, they would have never survived, because there were too many lace mills and not much demand for the product at the time."

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