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Centre Commercial: Ethical Fashion by the Canal St Martin

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

Hot on the heals of the ethical department store, Merci, comes a chic newcomer: the much vaunted Centre Commercial at 2 rue de Marseille in Paris’ 10th arrondissement.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

As a conscientious citizen of the world, I’m happy to join the chorus singing this new concept store the praise it deserves. The idea is simple: ecological and ethical fashion that supports small-scale artisan industry in countries all over the world.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

Sébastien Kopp, the co-founder of the innovative eco-sneaker brand, Veja, is responsible for this latest foray into stylish, well-made, ecological fashion − and the carefully culled results presented in this light and airy emporium, are surprisingly chic.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

The sober exposed walls with flaky paint and fun neon lighting scrunched into squiggly colors is all well and good, but what really drew my attention was the Scandinavian furniture − particularly the large vintage Swedish mirror in the dressing room − and the selection of vintage furnishings carefully curated along to one side.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial 8

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

An impressive, eponymous magazine also caught my attention. Issue number 1 of the magazine featured thought provoking articles and was prominently displayed throughout the store, among the range of cleverly designed notepads and scented candles.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial 12

In terms of the fashion, the stand-out pieces were the Veja bags for guys; a black pair of metal studded Church’s brogues for the ladies − a lot like the ones seen on the Prada catwalk a few seasons back; and a beautiful pair of moss green suede Derbies by English shoemakers Sanders. Incidentally, Prada actually owns Church’s, so I wondered how being owned by a big multinational squares up with the eco-artisan side of things. No matter, Church’s are still (at least they claim to be), made in Northampton in England.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

At a time when the European project is on the rocks, Centre Commercial has bucked the trend by proving that pan-Europeanism can work, at least fashionably: one of my star finds was a navy chunky-knit sweater by Antwerp-based label Howlin’ by Morrison which were made (to my surprise and delight) in Ireland.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

Another nice discovery was the brand, Blue de Paname, which proudly sports the label “Made in France” − you can even watch a neat video on Blue de Paname’s website of one of their designers making a pair of jeans from scratch in the atelier in Paris.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

After watching this video at home I began to scrutinize the label on my pair of A.P.C. jeans, discovering that they are made in Macau – an independent administrative region of China. I mention this because the cult French brand also has a store directly across the street from Centre Commercial.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

Lets hope they take note – conscientious endeavors, which support local industry at home and abroad, should be applauded. Centre Commercial is well situated at least: Rue de Marseille is one of the more interesting streets to walk down in Paris’ Saint Martin quarter. The boutiques and even the mouth-watering boulangerie, Du Pain et des Idées, breath new life into old concepts and make this one area visitors and Parisians alike don’t want to miss out on.

HiP Paris Blog, Didier Gauducheau, Centre Commercial

Related links:

  • If you think you’ll like Centre Commercial, be sure not to miss their childrens’ store, Centre Commercial’s Kids
  • Paris Top Ten lists the best streets when it comes to shopping in Paris
  • If you’re in the mood for a bargain we suggest planning a trip to La Vallée Village a little bit outside of Paris where you can find designer clothing for discounted prices

Written by Thomas Butler for the HiP Paris Blog. All photos by Didier Gauducheau. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

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Written by Thomas Butler

Thomas ButlerThomas was born in Ireland and has been living in Paris for three and a half years. He has a degree in History of Art from Goldsmiths College, London, and spent a year at the Sorbonne studying French Literature. He works for Localers.com, a Parisian boutique tour company, as a literary tour guide, editor of the blog and community manager. (Photo by Meg Gagnard)

Website: The Localers

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Posted in Parisian Living, Shopping | 3 Comments »

3 Responses to “Centre Commercial: Ethical Fashion by the Canal St Martin”

  • This is so exciting and so encouraging! Viva conscious consumerism so that we have happier people and a happier planet.

    I have just started an ethical fashion label, called Bodhisattva (www.ethicalfashion.co.za) producing locally made garments in Cape Town, South Africa.

    Would love to explore partnerships between Cape Town and Paris to support ethical fashion far and wide. Any ideas who I should be speaking to in Paris?

  • Vicki Archer says:

    Looks like a fab store, I’m sure it will be busy! Great to see ethical fashion is becoming more popular…xv

  • Love the look of this shop. So fantastic to see that it is all ethical brands too. Ethical fashion has definitely come a long long way from its hemp wearing hippy days. Also great to see so many ethical options for men.

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