Nicolas Gomarir, the founder of LCS Groupe in Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales) and creator of the French Jersey, is enthusiastic. He has just signed a supplier contract with the Andorran national football team. Above all, he has completed twelve months of research and development to develop jerseys made from plastics recovered from the sea and recycled.
“Today, sports shirts are very technical. The new fiber developed with the weaving companies had to be able to meet very precise mechanical specifications. So rugby shirts must be able to stretch horizontally to put them on, but not vertically so that the opponent cannot grip on, ”he explains.
Floating plastics transformed into fabric
To supply itself with raw materials, LCS Groupe has signed a partnership with the Seaqual Foundation in Girona, which collects floating plastics collected by fishermen. This “waste” is transformed into small balls which become, in a second industrial stage, rolls of thread which are used for weaving in Girona (Spain) and at Malterre in Moreuil, in the Somme.
“It is from these rolls of fabric that we cut and assemble the different pieces to build a football, basketball, handball, rugby and even e-sport jersey. Because we make the jerseys ourselves, here in Perpignan and not in Poland or China, insists the entrepreneur. And we have integrated into our small structure both design activities, printing, color sublimation and embroidery. “
The bet of Made in France at all costs
A bet on ecology and “made in France” which has an additional cost, between 10 and 15% depending on the model. A secondary problem for LCS customers who can boast of wearing “virtuous” jerseys. Nicolas Gomarir, however, started from nothing six years ago, without the help of the banks which considered it totally impossible to be able to earn a living and pay his employees by manufacturing textiles in France. A real friend advanced him the money to buy his first machine. It was in 2014.
Today, LCS Groupe employs twenty people, to which must be added thirty employees in work-study training in a sewing and social integration company located in the Saint-Jacques district of Perpignan. Persistent and visionary, Nicolas Gomarir is now giving himself two years to switch his current production to fully recycled.
He even promises to recover used or outdated jerseys at the end of the season. But given the quality of its production and in particular its design, it seems unrealistic to imagine that French stamped jerseys one day return to be shredded by recycling machines in Girona.