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Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-24

France’s classic sailor T-shirt saw a 65% jump in sales this week after it was modelled by French minister Arnaud Montebourg on the cover of a magazine. A top business chief described the Socialist as ‘very sexy’ in the shoot.

Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg helped boost the sales of France’s classic striped sailor top this week after modelling it on the front of a weekend magazine.

Montebourg sported the T-shirt – along with a Moulinex food blender and a Michel Herbelin watch – to plug his new ‘Made in France’ campaign, aimed at promoting French-made fare.

The striped Breton sailor top, as evocative of France as the beret and worn by the likes of Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot and Pablo Picasso, is considered a staple in French wardrobes.

The head of Armor-Lux, a company manufacturing the traditional blue-and-white "mariniere," said he is laughing all the way to the bank.

Attractive buying

Jean-Guy Le Floc'h told AFP on Wednesday that sales jumped 65% week-on-week after the Montebourg photo appeared in Le Parisien Magazine. His company sold 400 pieces for about 20,000 euros ($26,000).

"It's very positive for us," he said, adding that the mariniere had "become basic clothing in France although not quite to the level of jeans".

Montebourg, a strong critic of the way France has opened its markets to globalisation and free trade, is pushing a campaign for consumers to buy local goods and encourage supermarkets to create sections of floor space solely for "Made in France" products.

While he was widely mocked for the kitsch photo shoot, he also attracted some interest from admirers, namely Laurence Parisot, the CEO of French business federation Medef, who described the minister as ‘very sexy’ on the cover.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-10-23