Investment in raw materials is an integral part of maintaining one’s edge in high fashion, as Chanel has proven by investing in various specialists like tanneries, a lace maker and a glove maker in France. The fashion house has now also invested in four French silk specialists, in the general Lyon area, WWD reports.

”We need this expertise to ensure the future of our collections,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel fashion, told WWD. “Step by step, we are investing more and more in the upstream process to be sure we have what we need to manufacture collections. And silk is very important. It’s the pillar of what we are doing.”

Chanel has taken a majority stake in three of the companies, spinning mills Moulinages de Riotor and Textiles Henri Lacroix, and dying and finishing specialist Hugo Tag Ennoblisement. It has also taken a minority stake in Denis & Fils, a weaver of plain and Jacquard fabrics for fashion, lingerie and home furnishings.

All four companies are small specialists, employing between 15 and 49 people. Chanel will be investing in high-tech machinery and the addition of personnel, which these firms have not been able to do for themselves, Pavlovsky said. “For each of these companies, we have an investment plan, which is part of our acquisition cost.” In this way, Chanel is ensuring the survival of specialists such as these.

This is not a completely altruistic act, though. For Chanel, as for other ready-to-wear houses, the key is to have access to these materials to ensure expedient delivery. “In the ready-to-wear process, between the show and the delivery dates, one of the most crucial steps is having the capacity to immediately launch production of the fabrics,” Pavslovsky pointed out.

Chanel will keep current management in place at the firms, which will also continue to cater to other customers, and supply materials to brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.

 

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