It was in La Caserne, the new Parisian space for the Solidarity and Social Economy (ESS) that Guillaume Gibault, founder of Le Slip Français, organized with his team his first Master Class “Let us dream together the future of French manufacturing”.
The opportunity to detail its first mission report as the company adhered to this statute, born of the PACTE law of May 2019, 18 months ago. The opportunity was also to talk about the challenges of Made in France, the path taken and the new challenges of the local textile industry.
Being a company with a mission “commits and obliges”
And for good reason: being a company with a mission “requires” homework. One of its main goals is to “rethink the place of business in society”. This status allows companies to officially set social and environmental objectives, in addition to their economic objectives, and integrate them into their strategies… and into their activity report. In short, to combine responsibility and social mission. There are still very few SMEs with a mission in France, around 150. In textiles, in addition to Le Slip Français, one of the best known is Faguo.
The brand’s first report, which coincides with its tenth anniversary, reviews its commitments from oldest to most recent. It is recalled that Guillaume Gibault coordinated and later presided over the “Façon de Faire” network, which first set up a network of manufacturers in the territory to manufacture masks amid shortages before gathering the know-how of the participating manufacturers.
“It is a question, recalled Guillaume Gibault in the preamble, “in a post-sanitary crisis world context, of placing the company at the service of the common good and not only of Ebitda”. “Made in France was perceived as a utopia 10 years ago, today it is no longer the case. Import costs are rising, supplies are complicated, it has become “reasonable” and coherent to manufacture locally,” noted the founder of Le Slip Français.
A bespoke mission committee
The company set up its mission committee for the occasion: a team of 8 people representing all of its stakeholders: a client representing the Slip community, its shareholder, the 360 Capital fund, Brune Poirson, former Secretary of State for Ecology and Solidarity Transition and today “Accor’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Solène Naeye, CSR product manager at Slip or even committed textile entrepreneurs like Thomas Huriez, 1083 jeans and Martin Breuvart, president of Lemahieu. The corresponding objectives and indicators were defined in regular meetings with this committee.
One of the main pillars of the commitments made within the framework of the evolution of the statute was to continue to promote local manufacturing. Today, Le Slip has brought together a network of thirty partner workshops across France, innovating in the materials sectors, with the updating of the French linen and wool sectors, that is, 300 jobs. The company also opened its first factory in partnership last year, Manufatura de Pantoufles, investing in research and development, training and know-how. The objective, as Léa Marie, the production manager, explains, “to establish links by shifting production, developing local materials and ecological design. “We changed our methods, reevaluated our prices, practiced collective purchases to get around the obstacle of rising energy costs, etc. “.
Measurable and operational goals
In this context, the brand has established four main objectives: to trace the life cycle of its products, to offer a permanent wardrobe of quality clothes, to act for a more responsible supply, to develop fibers of the future, eco-designed and recyclable. In line with this approach, Le Slip has just launched its first linen boxer, of which France is the world’s leading producer. A “challenge” made possible by the recent relocation of the linen spinning mill, a know-how that France had lost for twenty years.
Another pillar of Le Slip Français’ commitments is to promote ethical and responsible fashion, seeking to minimize its impact, both socially and environmentally, through three operating levers: measurement of carbon emissions, optimization of inventory management, public awareness of costs of a textile product. The brand has recently obtained a very demanding certification, the Bcorp (Benefit Corporation), a label born in the United States in 2006 and which commits labeled brands to a path of transformation and progress, as the label is re-examined every three years. . The path is designed to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. Bcorp has a 360-degree CSR vision and sets the bar very high: you have to get 80 points out of 200 to enter the very closed circle of certified companies, self-evaluate yourself with the tools available and move on to be recertified, said Elizabeth Laville, founder of sustainable development consulting firm Utopies.
Last but not least, a new identity came to ratify his changes, less “school”, which was part of Le Slip’s DNA, with its peculiar campaigns, the baptismal names of his first humorous underwear (we remember the imperishable “Insinkable ” and more “panache” to reinvent French textiles. A new logo (goodbye to the headdress) was created to represent all this: the red and blue were kept, but a “sustainable” green was added to them.
The Slip still has many areas of improvement ahead, as Guillaume Gibault himself points out. Among the avenues, opening up to a more “sustainable” than purely financial shareholding, or even installing local mini-factories in the territory… The path to underwear is still full of surprises.