What's the value of Paris in fashion?

We had a pretty interesting debate this week. As Lilzeon was chasing some opinions about a British denim brand, we had a feedback from one of our friends (who happens to work in luxury) saying that this brand is like Province vs Paris.

It was obviously intended to tackle the obsolete image of this British brand with a sarcastic shortcut. To explain that basically, this brand is no longer “desirable”.

The thing is that opposing Paris and “countryside” is a bit random. Lyon, Marseille now have a pretty strong “touch”, overpassing Paris on some fields. Think about Simon Jacquemus for instance.

But still, what is at stake is this notion of desire. Of fantasy that Paris is supposedly owning worldwide. This “desiring” is more and more challenged; recently, this approach was challenged by a Parisian who’s highly followed at the moment, Caroline de Maigret, mentioning that being Parisian is to look always “fuckable. You already know what we think about it: we hate it.

Fashion is an ever-going competition. So let’s consider Paris as if we were football journalists.

For the defenders: Paris is highly photo-likeable. You just have to check Instagram hashtag to get it. You see people proud of living there, of being part of it. En être as we say in French. Paris, it’s only 2 million inhabitants vs 8 million in London. A concentration of hype, trendsetters, trend discoverers. And Paris launched many new brands: Pigalle, Kitsuné, Brooklyn “Parle Français”. REPRESENT. Thanks to the suburbs maybe? Lacoste had to digest for 10 years its new roots before organizing parties in a streetculture hub, Citadium, close to Les Grands Boulevards.

For the midfield players, Paris identity is shaking. Were we born Parisian? Or do we become Parisian. Then, are we so welcome in Paris? Not really. The city of lights is not famous for service nor bartenders. Not to mention underground passengers, sometimes perceived as crazy dogs full of whims. And when you see Châtelet Les Halles! Parisian hate the multicoloured youth, coming straight from suburbs. While all TV producers are arranging their casting and scouting there. Châtelet les Halles is the real centre of Paris. On its right, Le Marais, known for its gay-friendly places which also starts the Bobo-land. On its left, an emptiness from Concorde or Place Vendôme to Champs Elysées, hated by the “real” Parisian. And we won’t talk about North or South: for Parisian, the world is not up and down.

For the strikers – so to conquer the world – it’s a mess. To score would require that we know who we are. In an astonishing study led by Jean-Gilles Cahn, an economist for CCI Paris, the conclusions are very clear: Paris does not know how to handle its multiple facets:

“Today, Paris as a name does not constitute a brand (…) because it lacks a strategic management dimension”

 

Even worse: we’ve discovered that more than “10 000 brands or websites have “Paris” in their names or directly evoke Paris (monuments, neighbourhoods,famous streets…)”. A real dissolution of Paris essence in a bunch of vague brands.

pierre cardin

It’s strange, this so Parisian trend to be both very proud of being part of Paris and to be frustrated about it.

It would be time to reimagine Paris as a cultural hub for a worldwide youth.

Laurent

Co-founder of Hit Bag

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