Why Isn’t the World’s Fashion Capital Producing More Emerging Fashion Businesses?

In today’s global fashion ecosystem, New York and London are veritable
hotbeds of emerging designers. Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler and Joseph
Altuzarra in New York and Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders and Christopher
Kane in London are just a few of the rising names who have been able to
translate their talents into budding international businesses.

But Paris, often dubbed “the fashion capital of the world,” has several
independent, emerging fashion businesses that are scarcely known outside of
their home country. Generations of young French men and women became globally
recognised names in fashion. Where are the big French names now?

There is certainly not a lack of talent or drive. Alexandre Vauthier, 40, who
worked with Thierry Mugler for almost two decades before launching his own
label, and Maxime Simoens, 27, who worked with Jean Paul Gaultier, Elie Saab,
Nicolas Ghesquière and John Galliano before launching his own brand in 2009,
are two of the young guns of French fashion.

Then there is Alexis Mabille, 33, who previously created jewellery at Dior,
and Alexandre Mattiussi, 30, who learned his craft at Dior Homme, Givenchy and
Marc Jacobs before launching his own menswear line, Ami, for Fall 2011.
Bouchra Jarrar has made a splash with her sharp tailoring and minimalist
designs.

And this season, Cédric Charlier, who worked alongside Alber Elbaz at Lanvin,
struck out with his first collection under his own name, backed by the Aeffe
Group, an Italian manufacturer and distributor that also works with Jean-Paul
Gaultier, Moschino, and Cacharel. When Charlier was sacked unexpectedly by
Cacharel one year ago after three seasons as its creative director, Aeffe’s
Massimo Ferretti approached him about entering into a licensing partnership.

Paris provides many young designers with unique access to talented local
artisans, craftsmen and factories, something that young companies in New York
and London often struggle to find in their local markets. But still, few of
these businesses have achieved the scale or profile of their counterparts in
London or New York.

So what are the issues?