What is Maisons de Mode?
Endowed with a rich history in textiles and benefiting from its enviable geographic location, France’s Lille Metropolitan area in 2007 launched a huge project aimed at the development of new fashion designer labels.
The cities of Lille and Roubaix are united around one goal: to support the development of textile creativity by offering services and locales dedicated to emerging fashion brands so that these labels contribute to the resurgence of the textile industry in the north of France. From this mutual desire, Maisons de Mode was born. This incubator-accelerator supports 30 designer brands (apparel and accessories) each year through 24 boutiques-studios located in the cities of Lille and Roubaix, and six workshops dedicated to green shoots (young designers) in the Jardin de Mode in Lille. Every year, a €25,000 prize is awarded to the most promising designer of the year of those 30 brands who are selected to the project.
What is the purpose of this accelerator?
- To make France’s Lille Metropolitan area a point of reference for designer brands and labels at different stages of development (from green shoots wishing to produce their first collections, to designers who have produced a few seasons of collections and who have some points of sale but who want to develop their brands further)
- To increase the economic potential and further the heritage of the region and its businesses
- To invigorate the ecosystem of fashion technology
What will selected brands get out of it?
Recruited through a selection process by a committee of industry professionals, Maison de Mode’s apparel and accessory designers benefit from a wide array of assistance tailored to their specific needs for them to develop and strengthen their businesses for the long term:
- Access to boutiques – studios at preferential rents and living accommodations
- Access to mini-studios (for the ‘green shoots’) in the Jardin de Mode (Lille Sud)
- Access to pop-up shops for 2-3 months
- Design office – assistance in patternmaking and prototypes (training by patternmakers included)
- Research in finding financing
- Coaching in business, techniques, sourcing, production, marketing, exporting, e-commerce
- Business and promotional partnerships
- Access to and placement in industry and professional networks
- Communications and media relations
- Online communications – social media
- Financial assistance for participation in trade fairs in France and abroad
Maisons de Mode also organises numerous events for the public at large, allowing selected labels and brands from all over Europe to come and sell their collections.
What mistakes should be avoided when filling in the application?
I think that a lot of designers don’t realise how important is the commercial point of view. Some of them don’t know what could be their sales points or imagine (with no research) that their collection could be introduced in Colette Paris, for instance. Also, designers often think that if they launch their website, everything will be easy, in reality, e-commerce is very difficult and complicated. You have to be seen by customers (B2C or B2B), and it will cost a lot to be identified by people. And finally, money is the key to developing a brand. So, designers have to try to understand how to manage a business-plan themselves not asking for a friend to do it for them without their involvement. We don’t ask for a perfect one, but if we ask designers how they created any part of the business plan, they have to know how to justify it.
Will international designers, if selected have to be in France, if so, when and for how long?
Designers have to join us if France for two mains reasons:
- They have to locate their business in Lille or Roubaix
- Supporting a designer without any face-to-face contact is quite hard, and Skype is not a good solution. If they want to work with our prototype studio, they have to exchange information with the pattern makers, etc. If they want to look for investment with our financial officer, it’ll be easier to do it together. Lille and Roubaix are 1-hour drive from Paris and 45 minutes from Brussels, so the location is quite good to develop their network. Our contracts are two years long, but you can go on for two more years if you want.
What are the costs involved, and are they mandatory or optional?
Designers have to pay for being a part of Maisons de Mode association (500 euros for a year). if they are selected to have a boutique:
- 0% of the rent for first 6 month
- 25% of the rent from 7th to 12nd month
- 50% of the rent from 13th to 18th month
- 80% of the rent from 19th to 24th mo
- After 2 years, it will be 100% of the rent.
When you have to pay 100% of the rent, it’s about 400 euros per month for a boutique (which is still affordable), it doesn’t include electricity and water.
What is the percentage of international brands?
It depends, in 2016, we received applications from Mexico, South America. In 2015, we received some applications from the UK.
We select designers who have talent and who are ready for a big change. It’s not easy to relocate, so we want designers to be ready for it … and for success.
Some of the success stories
Each year, Maisons de Mode selects 30 designer brands and labels, who together have more than 500 points of sale around the world. Some of the previous years’ participants are:
Le Colonel Moutarde, which made its debut at the Marché des Modes – a Maisons de Mode event. The label’s masterwork is the bow tie, crafted and sewn in Lille. True entrepreneurs, the label’s founders Rémi Duboquet and Clémence Yon head a 14-person team between the Le Colonel Moutarde boutiques in Lille, London and Paris.
Thanks to its efficient-commerce, the label creates and ships bow ties daily to the four corners of the world, bringing joy to fans – from grooms to dandies to inveterate collectors.
Winning media acclaim in France and abroad, jewellery by Justine Clenquet is worn by stars, from Lady Gaga to Kylie Jenner. Renowned by international buyers such as Opening Ceremony since her first appearances at Parisian fashion trade fairs, Justine Clenquet is available through several prestigious points of sale in Germany, Italy, the UK, the US (25 boutiques), Canada, Japan (more than 20 boutiques), China, Australia and more…
Her collections are also available through more than ten e-shops throughout the world.
Follow the instructions on your DIY April Email for the application process and deadline.
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