The WWW’s — A Chat With Bridal Designer Eva Janssens

Have you heard of The WWW’s? Through this section on our website, you’ll be able to get to know our clients a little better, as we’ll dive deep into the WHO, WHAT and WHY of their brands. Intrigued? Then read on to discover more!

Meet Eva Janssens, the bridal designer behind the namesake brand. Eva Janssens is the sum of a hundred years of craftsmanship with Eva's expressive style, and her parents’ great eye for detail. Designer Eva joined the family business Janssens Fabrics & Tailoring in 2009. Today, she is at the helm of Eva Janssens Bridal design., @evajanssensbridal, #janssensgent

Hi Eva! Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background and education?

Hi! I am Eva Janssens. I'm 35 years old and surrounded with beauty. As a young adolescent, I always felt like to odd one out, but thankfully this changed as I got older and commenced studying fashion. At the academy, I felt at home. What makes me happy is that I've been given the chance to pursue my passion. I feel privileged as well to have been able to build upon what my parents had already created, and to have been able to do so until it felt right. I have reached that point and am very grateful that my ancestors rolled out a platform that allows me to make a living.

The Janssens family name is one that rings a bell, can you tell us more about your family's history of entrepreneurship?

Our story starts in 1919. My great grandfather, Remi Janssens, grew up in his father’s weaving shop and later started his own textile shop in Deinze. There was no such thing as ready-to-wear at that time, and so customers had their fabrics processed in the shop. After the second World War, Remi’s sons, Gaston and Roger, took over Stoffen Janssens. The business moved towards women’s fabrics and grew into a household name that brought forth trust and quality. In 1979, my father, Geert, took over the business from his father Gaston. He opened a second shop in Sint-Denijs-Westrem before moving to the Korenlei in Ghent. From that moment on, Geert and his wife (my mother) Chantal focused on exclusive and high-quality fabrics for their private clientele. And in 2009, I joined my parents in their endeavors!

What about how you got into the business and how it has transformed since you joined?

From an early age, I have been interested in beautiful materials and triggered by what my parents do. I accompanied them to international fairs and travels in search of fabrics. As I got older, I noticed that I started to miss the foundation that my parents and predecessors had laid out. Former employers often focussed solely on creativity or numbers, while my family had always put the fabrics first. In 2009, my parents sold fabrics to clients who would either sew their own clothing or head over to a seamstress to do so. When I joined my parents, things were not going well with the business. We also bumped heads quite a lot in the beginning, but after a while I moved on to my own thing. I looked for an atelier and they supported me in making my own collection. In the shop, I was given one display window to showcase my clothes. I can still remember when an international client entered the shop on the first day... looking for my designs! I gradually moved to bridal wear and started designing complete collections. The business transformed with me, as we switched to selling 50% fabrics and 50% custom pieces. This year, I took the big leap and we are now a full-on bridal store that hardly sells any fabrics.

What is it about bridal wear that attracts you?

The bliss and being part of someone’s big day. A wedding dress is one of the most special pieces that a person will ever wear. It contains so much emotional value and it’s incredibly rewarding for me to add my own features — artisanal, authentic, Belgian design — to the mix. I am a firm believer of marriage as well, of consciously forming a bond with another human being. So bonding with a person who picks my unique designs gives me wings.

Could you guide us through your design process? Where does your inspiration come from?

My brides are my muses. When I’m designing, I always start from the human body and the personality of the woman I’m designing an item for.

I tend to have a lot of ideas, so for me it’s no easy feat to create a collection. I’m constantly torn between being creative, thinking commercially and wanting to inspire. You see, I don’t want there to be too many pieces, but they have to be compatible with one another. I also don’t think of myself as the next upcoming designer. I like to stay with my two feet on the ground, creating pieces that move others.

Apart from dressing the bride, you also create tailored items. Can clients come to you for any garment/occasion? What does this entail?

We do get a lot of requests from members of the bridal party. When designing such a piece, we often start from the colour or the fabric, and our creativity flows from there. The client can suggest an idea, but of course I do enjoy shaping everything myself.

What does the future hold for your brand?

It's looking bright! *laughs* I want to continue on the momentum I'm on. I hope I can continue to honor the family name, and of course I want to keep the personal connection with my customers.

Female entrepreneurs are still a minority. What’s your ultimate advice for women who are considering starting their own business?

Do not think you can do it all by yourself. Women often have the tendency to want to or feel like they have to do everything by themselves, such as combining their private lives with a business and a social life. My advice: surround yourself with the right people and let them guide you, because then you will grow even more.

Thank you Eva, for the inspirational talk! We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
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