Lacostes are traditionally associated with the French Riviera but, as the French government recently made clear, the brand is more than just a name for the clothing worn by the rich.
For decades, Lacostec has been making clothes for the working class and, since the mid-1990s, has also been popular among the middle class.
“We’ve had to adapt to a market that was different to the rest of the world,” says Françoise, a 32-year-old saleswoman.
“For a while, we were the only brand in the world.”
After the war, however, a new class of working-class women took over.
As the world turned to capitalism, women were able to buy clothes at lower prices and have more freedom of movement, especially during the cold winters.
“The French Rivieras had an economy that was very difficult,” explains Marie-Hélène, an Algerian student at Paris’s Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
“There was no opportunity for women to work.
We have to say, if we want to survive, we need to adapt.”
So the brand decided to take a more traditional approach to fashion.
“When we opened our doors, we wanted to be a business that had a sense of history and tradition,” Marie-Céline, the company’s vice-president of fashion and accessories, says.
“And that’s why we chose to go with traditional materials, because that was the way the French people have always worked.”
She describes her clothing as a mix of vintage, contemporary, and contemporary, “and this is our way of saying to women that they’re still here and still valuable”.
In addition to the traditional Lacostean fabrics, the brands products include linen, silk, cotton, and wool, which are woven in-house in Lyon and are manufactured by the company.
It’s a far cry from the modern world where, in France, women are required to wear clothes made in sweatshops and in other sweatshops.
The brand also uses traditional fabrics, such as silk, in its shoes, while the French designers have also created an eco-friendly line of clothing.
In fact, Marie-Gilles Lacosté, the French founder, used to make the clothes at a sweatshop in his native France.
“I knew the working conditions,” she says.
But she soon realised that her brand was not the only one with this tradition.
The idea that women could be self-sufficient in the labour market and still enjoy the luxuries of the modern consumer was a striking one.
“Women today are very much a part of the global economy,” she explains.
“That’s why women are not doing well.”
Lacostees’ popularity has been growing in recent years and, despite the brand’s modest sales, the business is growing.
The company says that the brand has been sold to a number of big companies, including Adidas, GAP, and Uniqlo.
It is now also looking to diversify into women’s fashion.
This spring, Lacotique released a line of women’s shoes and a range of clothing that celebrates the different styles and colours that come with the brand.
In addition, Lacos will be launching a new collection in 2019.
With the popularity of Lacostegues, the question has been raised whether Lacostemers will be able to maintain its traditional image as an independent brand.
“It is difficult for a brand to become independent in a market with so many choices,” Marie Lacosteur says.
As a result, the majority of Lacos’ profits go to the French state.
“But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy being part of a brand,” she adds.