While Britain grapples with its reactionary Brexit vote followed by the depreciation of GBP which led to an increase of 12% in 2016 compared to 2015 in Travel Shopping, there are signs that long-stagnant France is finally modernising, embracing innovation and competitiveness in the Fashion World, regaining its position on the global map as the Fashion Capital.
In recent years, France has made considerable improvements on important business reforms:
- In the retail sector, reforms to Sunday trading laws:
– initiated by Macron, the “international tourist zones” in Paris, within which businesses could strike deals with unions to open on Sundays.
- For Paris Fashion Week – which was one day shorter this season.
– While market reports suggest that some of the brands which had traditionally shown on the last day of Paris were unhappy with their slot, Pascal Morand, executive president of Federation Française de la Couture, said this change was an experiment.
“It’s interesting to see that there is not one type of model [for fashion week]. You have lots of different types of choices. The only problem we have is to coordinate with the houses… It doesn’t mean that it will be the same way in October. We are glad to make it happen, to rationalise it this time but we will see how things happen.” said Pascal Morand for BOF.
- Galeries Lafayette, one of the first to start Sunday trading in its Paris stores, reported a 10 percent increase in sales at its BHV Marais store => Sunday had become its second best sales day. “It was absolutely crucial for us to have the Sunday opening,” declaired a spokesperson for the company for BOF. “It was very important for us to remain competitive with other European cities, to be in the race.”
The shifts come at a crucial point pour La France, which is set to hold a presidential election in April. Following the UK’s Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump in the US, France could well see its early signs of awakening turn into real change. If Paris will regain its position as Fashion Capital, we will see in the nearest future. As for now, in my opinion, Milan keeps the hold of this position.