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What to take away from IFM’s Fashion Reboot 2023

By Florence Julienne


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Fashion Reboot 2023. Olivia Grégoire and Pierre-François Le Louët. Credits: F. Julienne

"If we want to send out market signals, we're going to have to work on taxes to help consumers move towards responsible fashion", Olivia Grégoire, the French minister responsible for small and medium-sized businesses, trade, craft industries and tourism, said at the Fashion Reboot 2023 organised by the Parisian fashion school Institut Français de la Mode (IFM).

Grégoire gave her speech on Thursday November 30, 2023 in Paris' 6th quarter, and encouraged the fashion professionals taking part in Fashion Reboot 2023, an annual event organised by the IFM, to "rethink the fashion industry".

The minister says she has a "visceral, carnal and sincere attachment to fashion", thanks to her upbringing. She remembers the time when, as a little girl, she would climb up on the table so that her grandmother, with a spool of pins on her wrist, could make her outfits. "Elegance is a form of politeness", she said.

"The clothing industry is suffering, and we need to launch a number of initiatives" - French minister Olivia Grégoire, IFM Fashion Reboot 2023

At the same time, she points to the fact that by 2021 "just over a million businesses will have been created", citing the success stories of Sézane, Sessùn, Jacquemus and Ami. "Last Saturday, at Le Bon Marché, you had to squeeze through to get to the Sézane stand," she says.

The fact remains that the key is to identify the driving forces behind the new brands that are doing well, to think about how to support and develop emerging labels, and to support the promotion and marketing of designers. To do this, the minister raised a number of issues that resonated with the audience at the IFM amphitheatre.

From a banking point of view, she draws on an Italian model, with an unpronounceable name, whereby loans granted to large structures can benefit the entire value chain, i.e. the smallest companies working in their wake.

"We're going to reach a stage where it's going to be tricky to explain that the taxes on irresponsible fashion are the same as those for conscious fashion. Today, the same taxes apply whether you buy from Emmaüs or Vinted."

Ultra fast fashion and internet sales: ways of curbing excesses

Finally, the minister spoke about ultra-fast fashion, which monopolised the morning's debate at Fashion Reboot 2023. She began by pointing out the irrationality of shoppers, who are capable of queuing up to buy from the Shein pop-up store on rue des Archives, and then going on to march against global warming that very afternoon. She went on to say that the European Union had called Shein and Temu to account for their value chain.

Finally- and Pierre Talamon, President of the Fédération nationale de l'habillement (FNH) must be pleased- Olivia Grégoire opened the door to pricing for the return of clothes bought on the internet: "We are currently looking into applying a tariff for returns. This would reduce the temptation to buy".

The minister for small and medium-sized businesses, trade, craft industries and tourism assured the audience that a public policy in favour of fashion was planned for 2024, and invited all those involved to get in touch with her ministry, the Ministry of Ecology, and that of Economy and Culture to move things forward.

Olivia Grégoire concluded her speech by quoting the philosopher Emil Cioran: "You are France, you are France's greatest cultural power. I know it's hard for some people, but never forget: "'Those who always land on their feet are deserters of the absolute'. You are not deserters of the absolute."

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.FR. Translation and edit from French into English by Veerle Versteeg.

Fashion Education
Institut Francais de la Mode