Mais, Oui! Paris and the Rise of the Ethical Fashion Concept Store

When it comes to producing sustainable garbs, Paris’ most cutting-edge concept stores have set the bar high. From recycling offcuts from Italian fashion houses to championing fairly-traded brands, innovation and supply-chain transparency are the order of the day. Rosie has sourced four such stores that are well worth a visit in the city of love…

Mais, Oui! Paris and the Rise of the Ethical Fashion Concept Store

1. Merci

Where? 111 boulevard Beaumarchais in the third arrondissement

When? Open Monday – Saturday, 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Merci is both a nod to the classics and a champion of fresh ideas. Young designers’ creations are interspersed with those of veterans such as Yves Saint Laurent, and while perhaps not as holistic in its approach to ethical fashion as some of its competitors (for example Yves Saint Laurent’s record on animal welfare is questionable at best), profits are donated to organisations running educational projects and fighting child poverty in South-West Madagascar. The store has already created more than 70 permanent jobs rendering it a remarkable exercise in philanthropy both in France and further afield, allowing customers to not only browse at leisure in a sunny and spacious interior (a well-lit loft in one of the chicest districts in the City of Light plays host to this particular store) but also peruse their newly-acquired wares in one of three in-house cafes. Prefer a good book to some nice bouclé? Peruse over 10,000 second-hands books from across the globe in the Used Book Cafe downstairs, before unwinding in the leafy garden with a cup of cafe au lait or a white wine – now beat that for a French scene.

2. Centre Commercial

Where? 2 Rue de Marseille in the tenth arrondissement

When? Mon and Sun 2 – 7pm, Tues – Sat 11.30 – 8pm

The brainchild of the founders of eco-sneaker company Veja, paradoxically named Centre Commercial stocks labels made in Britain, Ireland, France and Denmark as well as used bicycles, vintage Swedish furniture and inimitable works of art that attest to its idiosyncratic nature. The decor is a shrine to minimalism; the scent of newly-fabricated merchandise belies its vintage provenance. A bolster to small-scale artisan industries across the globe, this store harvests the most hybridised of yields, sourcing materials from fairly-paid and fairly-treated workers and using them to create jeans, shoes and accessories in northern Europe. Not convinced? Check out the eponymous magazine on display in store, or watch a video explaining the production process of a pair of jeans on designer Blue de Paname’s website.

3. Dalia and Rose

Where? 9 Rue du Marché Saint Honoré in the first arrondissement

When? Monday midday – 7pm, Tues – Sat 11am – 7pm

Dalia and Rose concept store is aptly situated in the St Honoré area, and, hot on the heels of Merci, markets a very simple idea: upscale fashion made from coveted fabrics of the most durable quality which takes account of the store’s environmental and social impact. Boasting jewellery, plimsolls, prints, trench coats, flat caps and more, variety and sustainability reign equally supreme within the cloistered walls of Dalia and Rose. Clélia Moretton – founder and chef d’entreprise – has chosen a small selection of designers to channel the spirit of the store’s value base in their designs; a marriage of earthy and progressive sets the tone. While a little on the expensive side, the store is well worth a look if you’re in the area.

4. Dupleks

Where? 83 Quai de Valmy in the tenth arrondissement

When? Mon – Sat 11am – 7.30pm

Right in the heart of the trendy Canal Saint-Martin area, eco-friendly Dupleks spans two floors and stocks clothes, bags, accessories, underwear and shoes. From the much feted creations of Enamor – a UK company that produces ethically-traded under garbs and uses only eco-friendly fabrics in their manufacture – to sneaker company Veja (see also Centre Commercial) who are renowned for their commitment to workers’ rights and workers’ dignity, Duplek’s shelves boast the most sought-after brands in ethical fashion. Looking for something a little more chic? Look out for the designs of Anglo-Italian company From Somewhere: their concepts are realised in the form of striking patchwork ensembles of the highest quality, crafted entirely from the offcuts of Italian fashion houses.


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