No more woolly jumpers knitted by grandma! Several fashion brands have joined forces with the Tricolor collective to offer 100% French wool collections and rebuild a national sector.
The goal is to increase the amount of wool produced and used in France from 4% to 24% by 2024
Today, 87% of textile industry products (clothing, leather and shoes) bought in France are imported. This has prompted a number of brands to embark on strategies to relocate their production back home, and focus on "made in France" in this sector too.
In amongst the numerous eco-responsible fashion initiatives, some companies are focusing on a natural product readily available in France: wool. Today, 80% of national wool production is exported, with French designers and consumers preferring higher quality wools, such as merino.
But France is well served. Seven million sheep are raised in France - representing 4,000 metric tons of fleeces annually.
Unfortunately, at the moment French sheep farming is mainly devoted to meat production - despite the fact that it has to be one of the oldest circular economy models around. Sheep farmers have long since learned to make use of all the by-products from their hard work (meat, leather, wool, etc.).
In addition, wool has a wealth of important ecological and technical properties. It is biodegradable, resistant, insulating, hydrophobic, fire resistant, thermoregulating, and even antibacterial.
Local and eco-friendly
The Tricolor collective was founded on the basis of these observations. Its goal is to revive the production and use of wool in France and at the same time promote local sources and eco-responsible practices.
All parts of the sector (washing, spinning, dyeing, manufacturers, designers, etc.) can still be found in France. The challenge is reconnecting them and rebuilding a sector worthy of the name.
Several areas of work have been identified: improving the quality of shearing, identifying the characteristics of the wool from different breeds of sheep, thinking about an economic model for the sector, relocating certain activities, developing new uses...
The 35 founding members include such well-known names as LVMH, 1083, Balzac, Saint-James and Le Slip Français, as well as breeders' groups, professional sheep federations, businesses involved in transforming the fleeces and manufacturers. Their shared goal is to increase the amount of wool produced and used in France from 4% to 24% by 2024.
CREDITS: Main picture © Getty Image