Inge Onsea – Essentiel Antwerp
Inge Onsea is the founder of Belgian brand Essentiel Antwerp. The brand has existed for twenty years and has grown into a global fashion brand with a strong identity.
Fabienne Chapot – Fabienne Chapot
Fabienne Chapot is the founder of her own namesake brand. She started twelve years ago with bags and accessories in bright colours and busy prints. When minimalism was booming, Chapot saw an opportunity for a maximalist brand, and has since then expanded to shoes and clothes.
Anna de Lanoy Meijer – Anna + Nina
Anna de Lanoy Meiijer is the co-founder of jewelry and home brand Anna + Nina. The brand is Amsterdam based and has three shops.
Inge Onsea: “Multitasking is a very important quality of us women. That’s what makes us strong within the industry.”
Fabienne Chapot: “We’re able to feel the energy in the room and adapt to that.”
Anna de Lanoy Meijer: “Women surrounding me were able to start slow, there’s no ego involved. They know that small steps are important and shouldn’t be overlooked.”
Opportunities within the brand
Anna de Lanoy Meijer: “We’re hoping to open a shop in Antwerp, and we’d love to expand more within Europe. Another goal of ours is to expand our online business.”
Inge Onsea: “After a couple of years, we started to grow really fast and we kind of lost our design DNA. Everything fell apart because there was too much. The big problem about booming business is that you want to please everyone. The most important thing I learnt about this is less is more. That’s why we went from 800-piece collections to 200 ones.”
What do you like about working in fashion?
Ana: “I’ve always thought of my brand as on the edge of fashion, we sort of pop in and peek around in the room. What I love about fashion is that you can really say something about yourself. I love the language that it speaks.”
How important is affordability?
Inge: “It’s important that young people can buy our brand. If you want a younger clientele you have to be affordable. Quality and price are the most important factors. We work with target prices, to keep our brand affordable.”
Pressure in the industry
Inge Onsea: “The client wants new things every day. We used to do two collections a year, now we’re at six collections. We do want go back to four collections. We need more time to step back a little bit, which is so important for the revision of your brand and for your creativity. I think the industry needs to slow down.”
Anna de Lanoy Meijer: “There’s so much waste because of the increasing tempo of the industry. We shouldn’t be buying new stuff every two weeks, and we all have a role in that.”
Fabienne Chapot: “But is it possible from a marketing point of view? I hear you and I hope we can all slow down when rivals keep producing? There’s really a feeling of I have to follow, I have to go fast in order to not go down as a brand. We’re not the ones setting the rules.”
Is it a plus that you’re a female in the industry?
Fabienne Chapot: “In the end it’s always about the content. You have to have a really good story in the end. That’s what it comes down to, so I don’t really feel it’s an advantage nor a disadvantage to be a woman in this industry.”