Wednesday 10 July 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Wednesday. 10/7/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Back on track: Le Coq Sportif’s designs for the French national team

Image: Le Coq Sportif

Fashion / Claudia Jacob

France’s clothes manufacturers go for gold – starting with Le Coq Sportif’s Olympic kits

Though rightly celebrated for its fashion industry, France has long lagged behind when it comes to clothes manufacturing. But this Olympic year, the country is working to revive the sector – starting with the domestic manufacture of its official Olympic uniforms and equipment by Le Coq Sportif, one of the nation’s biggest sportswear brands. Until the 1980s, the town of Troyes, southeast of Paris, was the epicentre of Le Coq Sportif’s manufacturing. The shifting of production to Asia as globalisation took hold made the company a French icon that lacked a domestic base. But as the official partner of Paris 2024, Le Coq Sportif – which won the commission over Lacoste to create 1.8 million pieces for Team France’s 840 athletes – is getting back on the podium of French manufacturers.

Behind the company’s successful return to home turf is its reshoring of production to Romilly-sur-Seine near Troyes in 2010, following investment from Swiss-based company Airesis. With greater capacity, the factory can now produce prototypes in just 48 hours. The brand’s Olympic role will further bolster its position. “Once in a lifetime you get the opportunity to kit out your national team for the biggest sporting event in the world, while it also takes place in your own country,” says Le Coq Sportif’s brand director, Patrick Ouyi. It has been 52 years since the brand last provided French Olympic uniforms – for the 1972 Munich Games – so it’s good to see it back on track.

In the longer term, this shift will boost domestic clothing production. Post-Olympics, France will be the biggest European sportswear maker. It illustrates how hosting a historic event can spur a country to polish up its act, even one that is already as highly regarded as France. The Olympic collection will see the athletes through a defining moment – and 2024 will be remembered as the year when the sporty cockerel and the “Made in France” know-how that it represents were reborn on the world stage.

Claudia Jacob is a Monocle writer. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Playing chicken: A restaurant worker at a Jollibee outlet in Manila

Image: Getty Images

Business / The Philippines

Asian fast-food company Jollibee sets its sights on international growth through coffee

The Philippines’ largest fast-food chain, Jollibee, and its smiling bee mascot are synonymous with fried chicken in parts of Asia but the business is well on its way to becoming a global beverage giant too. This month, parent company Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) announced a $340m (€314m) agreement to buy South Korean chain Compose Coffee. The acquisition will enable JFC to enter a new market and augment the group’s existing retail portfolio, which already includes international chain The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Vietnam’s Highlands Coffee and Taiwan’s Milksha.

JFC has also been pouring money into San Francisco technology start-ups and venture capital funds that specialise in developing fresh food and beverage concepts. Nurturing its coffee and tea businesses is a key part of the company’s ambitious growth strategy, which aims to triple JFC’s value in the next five years and make it one of the world’s top-five restaurant groups. Annual sales and profitability hit record highs last year – a tasty set of financial results that go well with Jollibee’s moreish fried chicken.

Aviation / Italy

More than a year after his death, plans to rename Milan’s main airport after Berlusconi are causing a furore

The decision to rename Milan’s main airport Malpensa in honour of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has unsurprisingly caused a row in Italy. The media tycoon and politician, who was convicted of tax fraud and spent years mired in numerous legal disputes and sex scandals, is one of the country’s most controversial figures. The renaming was signed off by transport minister Matteo Salvini, who was one of Berlusconi’s political allies.

Critics argue that airport names should send a message of honesty, integrity and community service to the world, stressing that Berlusconi’s convictions undercut these values. A petition bearing more than 20,000 signatures has been launched by the left-wing Young Democrats of Lombardy, calling on the authorities to reconsider. Meanwhile, it remains unclear when the airport will be officially renamed. Berlusconi had a significant impact on his country’s history – but marking his legacy in such a way is a questionable idea at best.

Keep it moving: A container is unloaded at the international cargo terminal at a Tokyo port

Image: Getty Images

Logistics / Japan

Automatic for the people: Japan unveils plans for a driverless logistics highway

Japan’s rapidly ageing population poses many challenges but a looming logistics crisis might not be one that you expected. Concern is rising that the nation will face an acute shortage of delivery drivers alongside an increase in freight demand. The government has had to look for creative solutions – hence the announcement of the Autoflow-Road, a network of hi-tech conveyor belts that will be able to transport goods across more than 500km between Tokyo and Osaka.

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism recently unveiled its plans for the automated logistics highway, which will operate beneath the main road links connecting the country’s two largest cities. The projected construction costs for the underground tunnels is estimated to be as much as ¥80bn (€458m) for every 10km. If successful, it will be able to run around the clock and move as much cargo as 25,000 delivery trucks a day.

Beyond the Headlines

Tunnel of love: ‘Common Thread’ by So-Il, Belgium

Image: Filip Dujardin

The List / Pavilions

How temporary structures can allow architects’ imaginations to run free

There’s much to be said in praise of structures that are not meant to last. Temporary installations, such as pavilions, allow architects to be adventurous with form and experiment with new materials. These prototypes can push architectural conventions in new and delightful directions; they can also be things of beauty for those who stumble upon them. Here are three of our favourites this year.

‘Common Thread’ by So-Il, Belgium
Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu, the architectural duo behind So-Il practice, like to explore the boundaries between the inside and the outside. They have done so beautifully with “Common Thread”, an installation for the Bruges Triënnale, which runs until 1 September. The structure consists of a passage that connects a 19th-century monastery courtyard to the city streets beyond its walls. Inspired by Bruges’s lace-making traditions, the work uses an innovative 3D-woven fabric to create an intricate swirling tunnel that weaves together the city’s past and future.;

Le Festival des Cabanes, France
The annual event near the shores of Lake Annecy celebrates the humble hut, a structure that sits at the intersection of nature and culture. Each of the 13 winning designs is built from locally sourced timber. The aim is to foster a dialogue between architecture and the region’s various landscapes, from lakes and mountains to cultivated hills. The showcase opened on 1 July and will be closing on 15 November.

Seat of Design Power, Egypt
The Seat of Design Power pavilion was erected atop the Cairo Citadel for this year’s Cairo Design Week by Dar Arafa Architecture, in collaboration with surface-design specialists Gemma. Set out like an open-air iwan – vaulted, rectangular halls that are commonly found in Arabic architecture – the pavilion is defined by pillars made from layered Gemma tiles. The layering process pays tribute to the citadel’s role in Egyptian design, with outstanding works of architecture, such as mosques, built within its walls.;

For more design stories, ideas and insight from across the Mediterranean, pick up a copy of our special ‘Monocle Mediterraneo’ newspaper, which is outnow.

Image: Japan House London

Monocle Radio / Monocle on Design

Reimagining design museums

What is the role of design museums today? We look at projects exploring what these spaces could be, from architectural competitions to practices seeking to curate a nation’s design culture.


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