RICA LEWIS is one of the leading French jeans brands in mass distribution for men and women.
Edith Keller, CEO OF Carlin Creative Trend Bureau: David Viallaron, you have been the General Manager of Rica Lewis for 3 years, can you tell us how is the jeans market in these troubled times?
David Valliaron, General Manager of Rica Lewis: Of course we have been through a huge decrease in sales during the first quarantine because the hypermarkets, even open, were selling not much non-alimentary goods. However the recovery were excellent especially thanks to the full summer products. The situation is even more traumatic for the second quarantine since everything is in a standstill for us in mass distribution.
E.K: However, for several years you have developed many innovations in particular at the level of the materials which re-enchant the denim:
D.V: Yes we have developed two intelligent materials, like the coolmax for an optimum comfort or the thermolight which makes it possible to regulate the temperature. Those products allow us to offer denim stretch innovations adapted to the consumer.
David Valliaron – Directeur Général – Rica Lewis
E.K: What about your CSR progress?
D.V: Since 2006, with the first fair trade cotton jeans, we are reinforcing our progress process. Eco-responsible products represent 40% of our production. We develop jeans in organic cotton, our washes are waterless, we also work with tencel cotton and recycled jeans.
E.K: Is there a high demand for these sustainable products in mass distribution?
D.V: Absolutely, for as much in supermarkets, we are facing a price issue with an offer sometimes pauperizing. It is clear that the consumer, who demands that brands are more and more committed, must also take responsibility and accept a price increase that is totally justified by the quality and the certifications. This winter, we launched a contest on our organic denims, Happy Green, the winners will be able to spend a weekend in an eco-lodge, and 100% of buyers of at least 2 products will be awarded green activities (gardening, leisure , diy). With this product, we are reaching a new, younger, committed clientele, ready to consume differently.
Jeu Happy Green – Rica Lewis
E.K: You have just changed your e-commerce site to present the whole of your offer and in particular the brand Ober which advocates the respect of the morphologies, an inclusive brand before time. Do you have good results?
D.V: Yes, we have restructured all our sites in March 2020, and for us, industrialists, it is really interesting to touch the consumer directly, the customer feedbacks make us progress, especially on the good fit of our pants.
E.K: I learned that you were launching a Workwear line Jean tells us the genesis of this diversification.
D.V: Historically, we used to supply gaiters to dockers and the army, we realized that there was very little suitable clothing for construction professionals and DIY enthusiasts, our products are very functional and always a good style. We have a very good reception in France and in Italy in particular.
E.K: In addition to this diversification, you have just announced your new partnership with a young designer from Nice, Mathilde Jacob, who is launching her brand Fierteporter?
D.V: Yes, we like to launch vignettes in honor of artists like Ben, Keith Haring, but also with designers like Stella Cadente. Today we accompany Mathilde because her work corresponds to our jean workwear DNA and she is a future talent.
E.K: What is your objective at 3 years ?
D.V: To become a platform of brands specialized in the universe of the jeans, on various distribution channels. To succeed in producing 85% of eco-designed products at accessible prices.
E.K: What do you think of local production?
D.V: Of course we would like to produce locally but today it seems utopian to us. Today, on 60 millions of jeans sold, less than 100 000 are produced in France, and is related only to a minority of consumers, not so much present in the mass market, and the PVC being at least 69 euros.
E.K: I see that you always have the same passion and the same energy to develop your jeans universe, it’s good in this thorny period to exchange with an interlocutor like you always with optimism and constructive project. Tank you!