1 out of 2 French people would prefer a product from France. The label "made in France" is increasingly highlighted in marketing communications. But behind these terms, however simple, hides a panoply of interpretations that do not reflect reality. Where is the truth when we talk about fashion made in France ?
We realized that it was difficult for many to find their way around and to really know what they are buying by choosing a French product . And the world of fashion is no exception!
Before being a company, we were consumers like everyone else and we had these same hesitations. Interpreting these terms correctly is not easy. That's why we found it important to take some basics to help you sharpen your eye.
Our goal is neither to endorse made in France nor to condemn fashion items from other countries, but to share with you the information we have at our level. This way you will have the necessary elements to make informed choices .
Made in France: legislation that is too permissive, vague and subject to interpretation
The “Made in France” label
If for food products, it is mandatory to show their origin, the origin marking is optional for all other types of products, such as clothing, jewelry and other fashion accessories.
If a company decides to make it appear, for it to be legal, the product mentioning “French manufacture” must respect the rules established by the DGDDI (general directorate of customs and indirect rights). He must :
- display a customs coding different from those of its non-French raw materials and components;
- respect a maximum value threshold for its raw materials and non-French components in relation to its price;
- have undergone certain transformation operations in France using non-French raw materials and components.
Sorry, that's not very easy to read. Legal terms are rarely...
But the vagueness that reigns around these criteria leads to various interpretations and abuses of language are not uncommon.
A label displaying "made in France" can encompass many things and is therefore not to be taken at face value . Thus, trousers made in France from Chinese textiles are considered to be of French origin. It is therefore essential to look further if you want to know the whole course of a product.
There is another control, carried out by the DGCCRF (general directorate for competition, consumption and the repression of fraud) on French territory at the marketing stage. It is to punish violations.
However, inspections are rare and there are still gray areas in these rules, leaving companies some leeway. Thus, it is common to find a “made in France” label on a product that has only undergone its last substantial transformation in France.
The “Made in France” label
Private organizations have created labels validating French manufacturing. To be assigned one, it is necessary to respect very precise specifications that are much stricter than the rules of the DGDDI. A second verification by another independent institution guarantees double neutrality.
These labels include, among others:
- The EPV (Living Heritage Company) which is a guarantee of ancient craftsmanship and industrial know-how and excellence.
- France Terre Textile which guarantees that at least 75% of the manufacturing is carried out in France.
There are also certificates: the Geographical Indication, for example, certifies a quality linked to the geographical origin, as is the case with Limoges porcelain.
French-washing versus good intentions in fashion
Do you know what the difference is between an item made in France, designed in France, assembled in France and packaged in France? We will decipher these subtleties with you a little further, but first of all, realizing that these labels do not mean the same thing is already a giant step.
Given the ease of drowning in all these words and misunderstanding them, some brands sometimes use and abuse them in their communications to make people believe in a false reality. But fortunately, there are others who strive for more transparency.
Being a jewelry and clothing brand ourselves, we are saddened to see that the use of ambiguous marketing terms leads to confusion and loses those who are fond of responsible fashion.
Obviously, we are aware that it is not easy for a company to display on a simple label the origin of a scarf or a T-shirt when several countries are involved in the production chain.
It also happens that for the same brand, some items are made in France and others are not. A general communication around a French manufacture can then lead to confusion.
But as a professional, whatever the difficulty in implementing it, it is our duty to work on our transparency to inform our customers as well as possible.
The truth about fashion made in France: distinguishing the real from the fake
At a time when the purchase of products labeled "made in France" is increasingly favored by the French, it seemed important to us to give you some tips on how to distinguish the real from the fake.
Indeed, in the minds, "made in France" rhymes with quality, local know-how, respect for workers' rights, eco-responsibility, increase in French employment... Thus, for some, it will be a guarantee of quality, for others an ecological gesture or even a militant act of economic patriotism. In view of the challenge it represents in the eyes of the French, this name must therefore be well identified if we want to be sure of what we are consuming.
To avoid relying solely on fine words, here's how to find your way...
Know how to decipher labels
Decoding the terms used is not that complicated. As we have seen, there is a difference between a product stamped “conditioned in France” and “made in France”.
Here is a short translation guide to better understand what the various labels mean that you can find on clothing and other fashion items:
- Designed in: place where the product was thought out, imagined, designed. When this mention appears, there is a good chance that the goods are made in another country.
- Made in (made in): the famous label that we have already talked about and whose wording is too vague. It should be understood that a more or less important part of the product was made in the country indicated (not necessarily all of it).
- Assembled in: place where the different components were put together to make the final part.
- Packaged in: place where the product was packaged.
To take our example, at aglaïa & co, all design is done in France. Some products are 100% made in France, others in part. (You will find all the details on our product sheets very soon.) For assembly, we only work with French workshops . As for packaging, it is also done in France, in our offices in Marseille.
A company should have nothing to hide
An important indicator to consider is brand transparency . Yes, gray areas are generally not a good omen!
A sign that shares its “good” points, as well as its less good points, is likely to be an honest brand to trust. Indeed, we believe that no one is perfect, but that it is possible to do your best and improve every day. This also applies to the entrepreneurial world. Thus, transparent communication offers a fairer view of reality.
We want to be even more transparent with you
We realized that our communication could be further improved. Transparency is a strong value that has driven the entire team since the beginnings of aglaïa & co. We started with the sourcing of our stones , but we wish, today more than ever, to extend it more widely.
You will therefore see our product sheets evolve to give you more details as to the origin of each material and the transformations of our creations.
Some are 100% made in France (from the design to the finished product, including the raw materials), others in part. This is the case, for example, of certain jewels whose stones do not exist in France.
We also want to share with you more photos and videos of our French partners. It's something that we would have liked to have implemented last year, but with the arrival of COVID, our plans have been turned upside down. Never mind, this year, we will make it possible, even if the situation is far from obvious (restriction requires).
This year, we are therefore committed to being even more transparent with you. So, don't hesitate to tell us what you would like to see and ask us your questions. It is with pleasure that we will answer them in complete transparency.
For more interactive discussions and a behind-the-scenes look at our company, find us on Instagram !