When the desire to consume locally leads to a renewal of textiles made in France

By Juliette Garnier

Posted on 02 June 2021 at 01:31, updated yesterday at 19:34

Liliane Simon came “See if we recruit”. Without having an appointment, this 55-year-old woman presented herself, Wednesday, May 19, to the premises of the Marcoux Lafay knitwear factory to submit her CV. She already knows all the twists and turns of this concrete building built in Sainte-Agathe-la-Bouteresse (Loire), in the plain of Forez. She worked there “Nearly ten years”, until 2004, as a cutter and knitter.

Colette Chazelle, workshop manager since 2014 at the Marcoux Lafay establishment, in Sainte-Agathe-la-Bouteresse (Loire), recruits seamstresses and knitters.  She calls on Pôle Emploi to find candidates and offer them a week of immersion in this workshop which employs thirteen people.

Since August 2020, the one who had reconverted in the preparation of orders, before being made redundant, is registered with Pôle emploi. She has every chance to find her former colleagues and to point again every day, at 7:30 a.m., for a contract of 39 hours per week, behind a sewing machine or an electric scissor, under the neon light, in the noise of knitting looms and “Best of Scoop radio hits” that a radio-cassette sputters.

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Karine, co-manager of the company with her partner Arnaud de Belabre, smiles. Those who spontaneously present themselves to the premises of the workshops to be hired “Are often very good candidates, very motivated”, she judges. However, since December 2020, under the leadership of these two new owners, the manufacturer of medical sweaters and knee pads is recruiting again. The Marcoux workshop, which employs a dozen people, could increase its workforce to “Twenty-five people”, we loveme Renouil-Tiberghien.

“Nothing will be the same”

In Roanne (Loire), the Jean Ruiz factory, another establishment that the two entrepreneurs own, is also recruiting a dozen people, to bring its workforce to twenty-five in the medium term. For months, Florence Lassagne, the head of the clothing workshop, has been looking for seamstresses and « remailleuses » to ensure the finish of the sweaters, manufactured in thirty to forty minutes on automatic looms, for Aigle, Système U or Leclerc.

She is not the only one in the Roanne region. In Charlieu, Eric Boël, CEO of Tissages de Charlieu (LTC), a specialist in jacquard and the making of canvas bags, is also hiring. The establishment employs 80 people, against thirty-five in 1997, when it was taken over by the entrepreneur. “In three years, we will be 150”, predicted this one.

Karine Renouil-Tiberghien took over the Manufacture de Layette et Tricots in 2016, in Pau, with her partner Arnaud de Belabre, then the Jean Ruiz workshop in Roanne (Loire) in 2018, and the Marcoux Lafay establishments in Sainte-Agathe-la -Bouteresse (Loire) in 2020.

All these manufacturers in the Roanne region say they are benefiting from the renewed interest of consumers for items made in France, and from the desire of distributors to sell more tricolor products.

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