After launching in 2018 to lay the foundations for a French wool industry, the Tricolor collective is now a Law 1901 association. Bringing together brands (Balzac, Saint James, Le Slip Français …), breeders, manufacturers and institutional, the organization launched in 2021 a series of structuring projects. Ranging from the definition of quality criteria to an inventory of environmental impacts, through the constitution of an investment fund dedicated to the sector.
“We still don’t know much about these French wools, but it is important to know how to understand them in order to be able to transform them, and to determine the level of quality that we can expect from them,” explains Pascal Gautrand, General Delegate of Tricolor. “The sector structuring plan requires demonstrating that we bring real added value. Hence actions to analyze our wools to better understand our wool deposit”.
To date, only 4% of natural, eco-responsible and biodegradable raw materials are processed on French territory. No less than 80% of the materials would be exported “suin” (unwashed) for washing and processing elsewhere. The objective is therefore to offer breeders another outlet by locally processing, by 2024, some 24% of wool from sheep farms. Transactions which, via a licensing system which could be established at 3% of the amounts, would eventually make it possible to finance the actions carried out by Tricolor.
In the meantime, the association has started looking for subsidies. After raising a budget of 184,500 euros for the year 2021 from stakeholders, the structure is working to obtain a European grant via a wool project bringing together eastern France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. A call for a sector structuring project was also submitted in June, coordinated by FranceAgriMer (establishment of agricultural and seafood products), and falling within the framework of the France Relance plan. The 720,519 euros of subsidies that could result from it would then be oriented towards tangible as well as intangible investment.
Action to analyze wools, make prototypes, improve breeding practices, set up logistical tools specific to wools, promote eco-products and improve washing processes are all part of the desired projects. At the same time, the firm Deloitte and the decision-making IT engineering specialist Belharra will take part in an inventory of the social and environmental impacts of the French wool industries. This in order to derive measurement indicators and lay the foundations for a digital traceability tool.
Behind this quantitative and qualitative mapping of French deposits, work is currently being carried out to identify which uses and which blends can offer the best outlets for French wool. UITH Nord (Union of Textile-Clothing Industries) is working in particular on the development of a combed yarn 100% wool, but also on a biodegradable polyamide blend produced in France.
Among the many other works carried out simultaneously by the members of Tricolor is also with Tudigo, a crowdfunding platform, the constitution of a “citizen and committed” investment fund around Tricolor. An envelope of up to eight million euros will be used to support projects participating in the promotion of French wool. To this is added work on the image of the sector, through the development of a communication “toolbox”. While Tricolor, already present at Fashion Rendez-vous, will take part in Made in France Première Vision in September.
But the sector will also be clearly visible from December 15 to April 18, 2022 through an exhibition organized at the National Archives (Paris IIIe). Called “La Guerre des Moutons”, it will look back on the rise of merino wool in France and around the world since 1786. An exhibition which will therefore mark the end of a year rich in challenges for the various players in the field. Faculty.
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