France's fashion and fashion-related businesses generate more sales than its aerospace and automobile industries, according to a study commissioned by the French Fashion Institute. The study, which was released this week, found that annual sales generated by fashion and fashion-related businesses, such as jewels, eyewear, watches and high-end cosmetics, that are based in France totaled 150 billion euros ($170 billion), compared with 102 billion for aerospace and 39 billion euros for cars. The study, which was conducted by independent economists and statisticians from France's national statistics institute, Insee, also made use of official customs data.
The French automobile industry largely consists of Citroën, DS Automobiles, Peugeot, and Renault. Bugatti, which boasts one of the most expensive models on the market, is also headquartered in France. As for aerospace, an industry led largely by Airbus, French suppliers face a "difficult" 12 months as they gear up for a sharp rise in production of short-haul aircraft at the same time as the output of older, bigger models declines, executives announced early this year.
"The fashion industry is very much under-estimated by public authorities," said Ralph Toledano, head of fashion brands Nina Ricci and Jean-Paul Gaultier and chairman of the French Federation of couture, ready-to-wear and fashion designers. "The French are not very conscious of the weight the country's lifestyle industries represent ... Abroad, I can assure you that people do not talk about Airbus but rather about Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent."
The French Federation of couture, ready-to-wear and fashion designers presented the study – which found that fashion-related businesses employed directly at least 580,000 people in France and more than 1 million people when taking into account ancillary jobs such as communications, modeling and marketing – together with France's ready-to-wear federation.
The study also highlighted the economic importance of Paris' six fashion weeks a year – two for ready-to-wear, two for menswear and two for couture – saying they generated altogether 10.3 billion euros in annual sales. Paris fashion weeks also bring in 1.2 billion euros in revenues from visitors staying at its hotels, eating at its restaurants, spending money on cabs and other services, as well as spending on fashion shows themselves.