Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Blancq-Olibet, beret manufacturer since 1819, has been struggling for survival for a long time and even had to hire assistance from Spanish competitor Boinas Elósegui for part of their production process over the last years.  On 12 February it was announced that Cargo Promodis, the mother company of competitor Laulhère, bought Blancq-Olibet in a bid to guarantee the manufacturing of 100% French made berets and the continuation of Blancq-Olibet’s iconic labels, such as Fandango, Bakarra, NIEBLA, PéBéO and Berrueta.
What does this mean? I am very sorry to see the second last independent, and oldest, French maison d'bérets go. In other times, I would say that a healthy competition between manufacturers would only be beneficial for the quality and diversity of berets, but in the light of the present economic circumstances, the general decline of wearing headgear and the fact that we are talking about the last two manufacturers of the 40+ of several decades ago, I can only say I am happy to see that there is a future for the Blancq-Olibet labels.
The positive side is that Laulhère is extremely dedicated to the French beret and works in overdrive to bring the beret back in various ways: commissioning designers who work with the largest maisons of French haute couture, a presence at all important fashion shows and expo’s world-wide, refurbishment of its machine park  and an uncompromising quality control. Laulhère’s efforts were recognized last year by two prestigious awards: “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” or “EPV” and “OrigineFrance Garantie”, a status held by only 350 companies.
While the traditional labels of Blancq-Olibet do continue under Laulhere, there will be slight changes in the design and lettering. All berets stocked at South Pacific Berets under the Blancq-Olibet label at present are still the original Blancq-Olibet labels.
Meanwhile, I am awaiting a shipment of loden-green Berrueta berets; the very last berets made by Blancq-Olibet! They should come available within the next 2 weeks, but are listed on the web site already for pre-orders. This is likely your last chance to ever own one of these classic berets. 


  1. From ABC News (Feb. 19, 2014

    "The French beret, once as common in France as baseball caps in America, is in trouble.

    French production of the iconic wool hats — as synonymous with France as escargot — is in serious decline. France in the 1980s produced several million berets a year, but last year it produced just 160,000.

    Recent decades have seen the number of French beret-making factories shrink from 30 to two: Laulhere and Blancq-Olibet. Now Laulhere's acquisition of Blancq-Olibet has cut that number to one."

    Sad, and this is why i hurried to buy my older son a blancq-olibet child's beret before they vanish into thin air!

  2. It's tough even today to get your hands on an original Blancq-Olibet beret! Fortunately, i bought my son a Blancq-Olibet from South Pacific Berets before they disappeared.

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