Much like New York's Garment District, France's industry of specialized artisans is in trouble. And even the prime minister is getting involved, according to the Wall Street Journal. One major topic of discussion is expected to be rules on labeling, as in making sure it is known exactly where a garment is produced and if it has artisanal nature--which sounds very much like a high end version of the old "Made in the USA" campaign. Because outsourcing and the simple decline in orders for luxury goods is leaving many of the "petites mains" who helped build France's fashion influence out of work. This also leads to problems when trying to train a new generation.
Considering that the luxury market is expected to decrease about 10% this year, this is obviously a situation that needs to be addressed, just as the Americans must address what's happening here in the Garment District. Both are vital to both our industry and our city's economies. And we never, ever want to say while at Paris Fashion Week, "Where have all the artisans gone?" The core business issues are the same in both cities, so maybe some idea-sharing and brainstorming wouldn't hurt.