VIVE LA FRANCE: His wife, Brigitte Macron, has already given the industry a boost, and now Emmanuel Macron‘s government is keen to show its support of fashion as one the country’s most valuable industries.

Delivering a speech via video at the second edition of the Forum de la Mode, or Fashion Forum, in Paris on Friday, Françoise Nyssen, Minister of Culture, revealed the launch of a new fund to support young designers in their creation phase, with 300,000 euros to be invested in around 10 projects yearly. The call to candidatures will open by end of year, she said.

“This is a pivotal time for the industry as it undergoes a period of major transformation, with growing international competition and the digital revolution shaking up the system. France has lost none of its dynamism, but we need to be ever more present in accompanying it,” said Nyssen.

Adding his weight, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, who opened the forum in person, said that in view of his objectives regarding “the economic transformation of our country, the recovery of the nation’s finances, the return to healthy employment figures and, in the long-term, the recovery of our international trade deficit,” the fashion industry — “as the creator of 800,000 jobs and 150 billion euros in turnover, including 33 billion euros in turnover from exports” — plays a vital role.

Le Maire also lauded the international visibility France’s fashion industry attracts, with 376,000 visitors attending the latest fashion week, and spoke of the importance of the partnering of two of Paris’ fashion schools — l’Institut français de la mode and l’Ecole de la Chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne — to create “a school that will rival the major international schools like Central Saint Martins and La Cambre.”

“We need to get to the stage where all of the designers and fashion houses are fighting over the students who come out of this school,” he said.

Themes addressed in a series of roundtables hosted by journalist Karine Vergniol included Fashion Tech and Innovation and Fashion Values. Participants included Alexandre Mattiussi and journalist Loïc Prigent who talked about their creative synergy, and Lisa Gachet, founder of Make My Lemonade, who spoke about the experience of “transforming [her] community into a client base” with her business model, described as “the Netflix of couture.” Gachet each month releases a fashion look based on the popularity of votes made on her Instagram page, then releases the look’s pattern, available through subscription.

Contributing to a discussion around sustainability, Aalto founder Tuomas Merikoski spoke about his new line of puffer jackets made from post-consumer recycled duvets, while elsewhere Orianne Chenain, director of strategy at Fashion Tech Lab, revealed the company in March will launch a line of wardrobe basics geared at “problem saving.” “That means fully sustainable but also problem-solving,” she said citing socks geared at diabetics that via an app can read the level of sugar in their blood.

Julie Pellet, head of development in Southern Europe for Instagram, who participated in the talk on the digitalization of business models, said the company so far is not looking to become a selling platform but “is entering the tunnel” with a test called shopping geared at giving consumers access to more of a brand’s products and more information around a product “while staying in the Instagram universe.”

“The first step we have introduced is for a brand to be able to tag up to five products per image which link to a new page with information on the product,” she said.

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