Clothingmadeinusablog goes to France, sounds a lot like “Abbott and Costello Visit The Mummy” or “Gidget Goes Hawaiian”. The reason there have been no posts to this blog was because I had gone to France to do research and I am still getting over jet lag. I know it’s a hard life, but somebody has to do it. This entry will be about: France’s attitude about fashion; how the French people are different than Americans; and whether France makes clothes in its own country.
Paris – Fashion Capital of the World
So what is France’s attitude toward clothing and where is it made? First off, Paris is very fashion conscious. Paris believes that it is the center of the world when it comes to fashion and they are probably right, although New York City always thinks it is number one in all things. But, in comparison to New York City, in Paris, there are many more lavish fashion shows with many famous designers, usually, both French and Italian, who are ready to go to Paris at the drop of a chapeau, because Paris is so geographically close to them (and chic). And, let’s face it, the biggest names in fashion, have been and still are European. Another difference is the amount of media coverage of fashion news that it gets in its mainstream media sources. The French newspapers, television and general information magazines carry much more about fashion than its American counterparts. So, who is the fashion capital? Paris says: “C’est Moi.”
The people of France have some unique differences from other countries. They are proud to be French and they try hard to keep their culture from falling apart. But it is not easy. There is quite a bit of influence coming from neighboring countries as well as the United States. The English language is heard frequently everywhere: in music, in television and movies. 70% of the movies in France are from Hollywood and in English, which are either subtitled or dubbed, as are some TV shows from America, like “The Mentalist”, “Two and a Half Men” – known in France as “Mon Uncle, Charlie”, as well as some reality TV shows like “The Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of America”. Heaven knows what the French think of Americans after watching these shows. In fact, I wonder about Americans after any reality show I watch, which fortunately for me, this is rare event.
The French like being French and celebrate their Frenchness. Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite are the country’s motto which means Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood, which is a little better that “With Liberty and Justice for All.” The French like to enjoy life, rather than being a slave to their job or their pursuit of money – that is why they take two hours off for lunch each day, have some wine and cheese, and are closed on Sundays and often Monday as well. It is also, why there are still many small stores and small restaurants, unlike the Mega Businesses that predominate the United States. The French are more engaged in politics and yet there is not the polarization there is in the United States. (My personal thought is because there is not the Hate TV and Hate Radio in France that is so commonplace in the U.S.). In fact, a survey in France, asked the French people whether they were interested in the elections in the U.S. The survey result was 37% were interested, 52% weren’t interested. Funny, that is about the same as the American people interested in their own election.
Are The French Rude?
Are the French rude? That seems always to be a frequent question with visitors who have gone to France. I think for the most part, the French being rude is a myth. But realize, they are prideful people and would like to preserve their language. One may notice that in some conversations between French counterparts, sometimes certain English words or phrases come out, even when equivalent French words are available. Some French language proponents lament this phenomenon. Although, the French people do not expect foreign tourists to know French, they do appreciate the attempt some French. It is really quite easy. Always greet with “Bonjour, Monsieur” or “Bonjour, Madame” are usually sufficient. And in leaving: “Au Revoir, Monsieur” or “Au Revoir, Madame”. Also, “Est-ce vous parlez L’Anglais?” (Do you speak English?) is quite helpful. So, in short, no, the French are not rude. You may encounter an occasional rude French person, but then, you will, also, encounter an occasional rude waitress in your neighborhood American restaurant.
Clothing Manufacturing in France
The French like to buy French when it comes to purchasing certain things like French made cars to help support their country. But when it comes to clothing and where it is manufactured France is as clueless as most of us Americans. In fact, they are probably more clueless, because French clothing does not have to disclose where it is manufactured. Like almost all European nations, France has outsourced almost all of its clothing manufacturing. So, these famous French designers rarely have their clothing made in France. The top designers will have them made in Italy, the rest are elsewhere, mainly China. It appears that France does not recognize that manufacturing as a solid economic grower. France seems to be concentrating on the same 1980’s – 1990’s American movement that technology will save everything. France needs to diversify, they need to manufacture the technology that they are creating if they are going to get any economic benefit from it.
In the upcoming week, I will have a blog entry about shopping in France and especially Paris.
“The French complain of everything and always.” – Napoleon