Textile sector finds silver lining in COVID-19 crisis

The shortage of masks and personal protection equipment France experienced at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak may well turn out to have a silver lining as the country faces a prolonged economic crisis: Its ailing textile industry is finding a second wind.

With borders closed, the French textile industry rallied to fulfil needs. The Savoir-Faire Ensemble (a play on the French words for know-how and working together) group grew from a dozen to some 1,500 companies, from fabric mills to garment manufacturers, pooling their knowledge and resources to create a whole PPE production chain from scratch.

In the historic garment region of Roubaix, northern France, Carol Girod and Christophe Lépine, a brand strategist and a veteran of “Made in France” production who previously founded workwear brand Bleu de Paname, cofounded Résilience, a sustainable and inclusive textile coalition that produced reusable masks through a network of partner workshops.

Made in France only makes sense with socially responsible projects like this, in places where the skills already exist,” Calvino said. “But I wouldn’t deprive a project of exceptional craftsmanship just because it means there’s a border crossing. The keys are transparency, benevolence.”


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