THE WWW'S — A CHAT WITH VANESSA FROM FAM THE LABEL
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 Vanessa Beniers, the designer behind the sustainable clothing brand FAM The Label and a true go-getter. Before she created FAM, Vanessa was racing through life, working a busy job with little creative satisfaction and had to deal with several setbacks in life. One day she decided to turn things around which ultimately guided her back to her childhood passion: her love for fine and timeless clothes. From that point on she promised herself to never put another dream in a box. A true inspiration for each and every one of us. Let's find out more!
Hi Vanessa! Could you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background and education?
Hi! My name is Vanessa, I am 41 years old and I live in Ghent. I have always worked a lot and persevered in my jobs. Throughout my career, I worked as a stewardess, a travel guide and had many other professions. Yet, time and again, I missed the satisfaction that you should get from your work. The choice to follow my heart and to immerse myself in the fashion industry came from the need to have a positive impact on our planet and to make a difference.
Nine years ago, I went through a difficult period. Besides the death of my mother and being ill myself, I got fired. This made me think a lot about my conventional life and I decided to follow my heart and pursue my childhood dream of becoming a sewer. A few years later, I graduated as a fashion designer and in 2017, FAM The Label was born.
Where did the need to build a fashion label came from?
I find value in working with people with whom you feel a unique bond and trust like your own FAMily. I have this connection with my crew in Portugal, but also with the many Fam-bassadors: real women who wear a FAM piece and therefore help build a healthy and sustainable fashion landscape.
FAM The Label stands for both women and family. What values do you want to convey with this dual brand name?
FAM stands for both strong femininity and family. Every woman is a FAM (femme): the capital letters are fierce and strong, but the soft pronunciation refers to the sensitive, fragile side. FAM shows both aspects at the same time.
FAM is a label for strong and authentic women. With FAM, I want to show that even if your life is going completely wrong and you don't think it will work out, you still have to keep going for your dreams. Take my cleaning lady as an example. At 49 years old she moved to Belgium to find work and now she has a wonderful position in my fashion company in her home country. FAM also stands for family. Everything is produced in a small family business with only 5 stitchers.
Both the selection of fabrics and the production process are based on sustainability. Can you tell us more about this?
It is very important to me that all fabrics are sourced and produced in Porto, Portugal. This way we keep the transport at a minimal level. The entire production process is managed by five seamstresses and we release only two collections a year. The collections are sold in pre-order to the shops to avoid extra production. So I only make what the shops order and I limit myself to 35-40 pieces per season. That is very little, compared to some other brands that produce 400 pieces per season.
My fabrics as well are as sustainable as possible. In the beginning I used deadstock fabrics, now I use 90% Tencel, Lyocell and recycled jeans or jeans made from organic cotton. I start by drawing my designs and subsequently, according to the fabrics that are available, I decide which fabrics I can use to match the idea I have in mind. By the way, the prints are completely unique and painted by hand by Katrien Soeffer.
We print these in an ecological manner as well. As for transport, we choose to deliver by truck instead of the popular yet polluting plane transportation. Being sustainable also means taking things slow sometimes.
How do you hope your brand will grow in the coming years? What do you still want to achieve with FAM?
We recently launched our own webshop. This was certainly a fun and challenging addition. Furthermore, my brand is currently distributed in The Netherlands and Switzerland. I hope to further develop a sustainable relationship in a positive and slow approach in other countries that will carry out the FAM story.
Sustainable business is not always easy. Do you have a tip for future sustainable entrepreneurs?
Sustainability can be around the corner. Don’t aim to be 100% eco-friendly, that simply won’t be realistic. Instead, take small steps at a time and you will reach your green goals. Every little step towards a more sustainable future, makes a difference. 😊
Any new launches or exciting news we can be expecting?
We are soon launching a small “essential” collection, that will feature all the oldtime favorites, such as the Kate trousers. This collection will be around all year long.
Furthermore, a collaboration is coming up with three powerwomen Evi Hanssen, Hilde De Baerdemaeker and Jutta Borms who host a podcast series about meditiation, called ‘nog.9.minuten’. They are about to release a book which will feature several FAM outfits. I’m very excited for this, so stay tuned!
Thank you Vanessa, for the inspirational talk! We wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!
Intrigued and want to know more? Check out FAM The Label and get inspired.
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