MISSION POSSIBLE: Comeback kid La Redoute figures among the latest partners of trend forecaster Li Edelkoort’s campaign to shake up the fashion system. The movement grew out of a 4,400-word antifashion manifesto penned by Edelkoort in 2015 – detailing “Ten Reasons Why the Fashion System Is Obsolete” and meant to help define a game plan for the next decade.

Edelkoort at a press conference held at the Espace Paul Ricard in Paris on Wednesday presented the third edition of a yearly meet-up around the antifashion theme, cofounded by Stéphanie Calvino.

Set to run June 1 to June 3, the event will feature roundtables and workshops, with participants including Demna Gvasalia of Vetements, Ilaria Venturini Fendi, founder of Carmina Campus, and Géraldine Vallejo, sustainability program director at Kering.

Present at the conference, Philippe Berlan, deputy general manager of La Redoute, explained how the firm — despite the twists and turns in its story — has managed to remain based in its historic headquarters in Roubaix in northern France.

The leading French clothing and home furnishing catalogue, which started out as a wool mill 180 years ago, was part of Kering’s portfolio until 2014 and has just been sold to Galeries Lafayette Group.

“We witnessed the demise of France’s textile industry, and with it its artisans. Clothing is also about the trace of the human hand that made it, and fashion has forgotten that,” said Berlan. “What this movement represents resonates with our convictions that go beyond fashion. Facing the kinds of challenges that we did over the past few years took faith, and the desire to defend and reinvent fashion.”

In support of Edelkoort’s project, La Redoute on March 24 in Roubaix will host a day of exchanges around issues facing the industry and key themes, such as encouraging female entrepreneurship, how to communicate with millennials and innovation.

The group will also participate in a mentoring program to run during the meet-up in Marseille in June, geared at kids from the city’s roughest neighborhoods.

Also present at the event was a representative of Éthique sur l’étiquette (Ethics on the Label, in English), a coalition of NGOs, trade unions and consumer groups billed as the French branch of the international Clean Clothes Campaign movement, and upcycling pioneer Andrea Crews, who on June 2 in Marseille will host a fashion show featuring a cast of locals.

 

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