French Fashion Union becomes fully fledged association to support emerging designers
The French Fashion Union (FFU) was first set up in 2016 on Facebook as a collaborative, mutual support network of young fashion professionals, and has now formally been incorporated as an association, enabling it to offer a growing number of services to its members.
In three years, FFU attracted over 6,700 members to its Facebook group, of whom 70% participate actively. The newly formed association is run by nine volunteers, and has 250 members so far. Membership gives access to free workshops organised in partnership with the Fédération française du prêt-à-porter féminin (FFPAPF, the French women's ready-to-wear federation), to conferences and meetings organised by FFU, and networking initiatives between labels looking to open pop-up stores. FFU also intends to negotiate exclusive benefit packages with garment ateliers, model-makers and other suppliers.
“We are chiefly targeting emerging companies, as 80% of our members generate less than €100,000 in revenue,” said Morgan Bancel, co-founder of FFU and of the Esther Bancel label. “It’s a tough target to identify, being so fragmented. Before us, no one had managed to develop a service package that could address our needs, in other words how to make quick progress with scant resources. To realise this, we are relying on collaboration, solidarity and digital tools as our main assets,” he added.
Membership costs €15 per annum. The new-look FFU will be launched on March 25 with a gala evening in Paris at the Foundry (18-24 Quai de la Marne), with a round-table debate on the future of emerging fashion labels. Panellists include the president of FFPAPF, Pierre-François Le Louët; the CEO of the Who's Next trade show, Frédéric Maus; the general manager of the Au-delà du Cuir incubator, Sophie Viot Coster; Ali Rakib, president of ForWeavers; Céline Lopes, head of the Castelbajac Paris label; and Cécile Soulier, in charge of marketing at fashion industry trade show Première Vision.
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