The Another

    In Paris, the first solidarity and circular textile factory – Liberation



    The Berlier factory was inaugurated on Thursday May 24 by Mayor Anne Hidalgo. 1,200 square meters dedicated to circular fashion divided between six companies and associations. Wandering.

    All in beige linen, Clea Polar, co-founder of Coco & Rico, tries to speak louder than the hubbub of sewing machines. “We love our new decor, it feels like an industrial penthouse,” launches the young entrepreneur. She retraces the history of her workshop specializing in eco-design, which offers brands and companies textiles made in France. 100% eco-friendly lyrics that clash ironically with what’s going on behind the window: the hundreds of vehicles driving onto the ring road. The 30-year-old proudly grabs a hanger from which hangs orange pants that smell of the seventies: the uniform of the staff of the Beaumier Le Val Thorens hotel.

    Material library

    Coco & Rico was chosen to settle in the Berlier factory, on the second floor of the Berlier industrial hotel, a huge glass block planted in the 13th arrondissement. Triple objective of the place: to recycle textile waste (20,000 tons per year in Paris), to create employment in integration and to relocate productive and artisanal activities. In November 2021, the city of Paris allocated 2.5 million euros to support the investment of the Régie immobilière de la ville de Paris at the origin of the project. With this boost, the social landlord was able to offer suitable rents and launch a call for applications. Six companies or associations committed to sustainable textile production have been selected to share the 1,150 m² available and set up their production workshop or showroom there. Mayor Anne Hidalgo visited them on Thursday May 25 for the inauguration of the premises.

    In the next room to the Coco & Rico workshop, another partner: the Plateau Fertile designed by Fashion Green Hub, an association of fashion and textile business leaders. The result: a third place of several hundred square meters, which provides creators with a meeting room, a photo studio, a materials library or sewing machines. In this roommate, the Homonoia brand, for example, which makes accessories from the ends of rolls of fabric.

    “Soft Revolution”

    The third “plateau” available is Hawa Sangare who occupies it. She set up there the integration project of her association HAWA for women, which employs precarious women, refugees or victims of violence, trained in sewing from scraps of clothing. One of them squints as she embroiders a swimsuit for the brand Ysé. “There is a transmission of know-how. And recently, we have been trained in lingerie», rolls out Hawa Sangare. Two other professional integration associations occupy the factory: Espero and Trevo.

    Last stage of the walk and last workshop. The indigo blue eyelashes, Agathe Nguyen arranges the flowers on a light fabric that she will roll before infusing it with steam. The pigments of the petals will serve as patterns. Trainee at Whole, a textile factory specializing in vegetable dyeing, she tells the “ancestral power” of these plants that she picks in the garden dedicated to dyeing imagined by her boss, Aurélia Wolff, “just a few minutes walk away”. In her inauguration speech, the Mayor of Paris congratulated a “gentle revolution”. It remains to be seen whether this initiative will be sufficient to counter the sprawling power of fast fashion in the capital. At the beginning of May, in the Marais, the giant Shein’s pop-up store was a hit. David versus Goliath?

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