The very important reason this cult dress brand is so successful
These days, the word ‘cult’ gets bandied about very easily, however it takes more than a few Instagram likes to warrant the title. For FAITHFULL THE BRAND, it’s taken a few years to gain the title, and for good reason.
Years before ethical fashion became a buzzword, friends and founders Sarah-Jane Abrahams and Helle Them-Enger wanted to create timeless dresses that were made sustainably and were affordable. And so in 2012, the brand was born in Bali.
Of course, social media does play an important part in the brand’s success too. You’ll have seen it all over Instagram, with its cult followers from Monikh to Lucy Williams sharing their #FAITHFULLTRAVELS. Meanwhile, people have been flocking to their UK pop-up in Selfridges, which is open until 31st August.
Here, the founders explains their own journey.
Can you tell us what the starting point was for the brand?
In 2012 whist living in Bali, Indonesia, FAITHFULL THE BRAND was born. We saw the need for a new fashion label that would fit with our diverse lifestyles and well-worn suitcases whilst staying attainable and affordable. We wanted to create a range of pieces that we and our customers can wear off-duty, on travels and feel both beautiful and comfortable at the same time.
Why is it so important to you that all the clothes are made in Indonesia and that you are able to support local communities there?
Indonesia is where we met and the idea of FAITHFULL THE BRAND came about so it was a natural place to produce our garments and enable us to build the company to where it’s currently at. It is important to us that we know how our products are made, who is making them and keeping a personal connection with each and every one of our employees to ensure they are well taken care of. By being based in Indonesia and working so closely with all of our employees we are able to encourage the work of local artisans and communities that have supported us from the beginning and are now a part of our DNA. We encourage the look and feel of handmade products.
Have you seen a real uplift over the past few months in the brand as people become more interested in ethical fashion?
Yes definitely, our community are more aware and conscious of where the products they buy in store and online come from and it only feels natural that they look to FAITHFULL THE BRAND as this isn’t a trend for us – it has been our brand ethos since the beginning. We pride ourselves to be honest and care, focus on people and the communities that produce our garments and demonstrate respect to both our audience, employees and community.
Do you think sustainability has a lot to do with the uplift and rising popularity in mid-priced labels?
Sustainability is now a household word and consumers are more conscious of this in their day to day life. Because of this, we think it’s definitely a big part of the uplift in popularity for mid-priced labels and less about buying single use products. People want to feel good about what they are wearing and where it comes from, and are willing to pay that little bit of extra for that.
Who is the Faithfull woman?
Our muse is an easy-going woman with an effortless style and a desire to see the world. She resonates off-duty style wherever she may be and for any occasion.
How important has social media and the power of influencers been for your label?
We wouldn’t be where we are without social media and our supportive and loyal muses. As a self-funded company we initially could not afford to spend on marketing and traditional advertising so social media was our only channel to reach new customers. Social media is a connecting platform from us directly to our customer allowing us to visually and verbally tell our story – to which we value so highly. Being given the tools like hashtags and tagging now allows us to connect even further and welcome not only our muses but our customers to showcase themselves in FAITHFULL THE BRAND by our unique hashtags #FAITHFULLTHEBRAND #FAITHFULLTRAVELS and #FAITHFULLGIRLS .
How does it feel when the likes of Irina Shayk wears your clothes?
It feels incredible, we get so excited and it is SO surreal when we see these woman (who could wear any brand in the world) wear our pieces. What also hits home for us is seeing women all over the world wearing us, making it truly their own and representing so effortlessly.
Can you pinpoint a moment where you realised that you had achieved what you had set out to do?
There has been so many moments of realising we have achieved goals and we have no doubt there are many more to come however those that will stick with us forever are:
· Our first ‘office move’ where we were originally based in a shared bedroom working on one computer between the two of us. Upgrading to a small house where we had room to hire staff and of course – invest in more computers and equipment was a huge milestone for us.
· Launching onto one of our first affluence wholesale accounts at online retailer Net-a-Porter was also a pinnacle moment for us as we are an attainable and affordable brand who didn’t originally think we would sit alongside luxury brands like we do so today. To compliment this, we recently launched into UK retailer Selfridges & Co which has been another huge milestone for us along with our customers. Our audience is now able to shop in a physical bricks and mortar mecca – FAITHFULL THE BRAND within a standalone Pop Up on their contemporary Level 3.
· With every plane ticket and country we visit, we continuously feel inspired and humble to see women on the streets wearing FAITHFULL THE BRAND. That truly is a real moment right there.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting running your business? And what is the biggest lesson you have learnt?
One of the biggest challenges has been to learn to let go and let our very talented and amazing team excel and own the tasks at hand. Having started with literally – just the two of us, this can be hard sometimes as when you go from doing absolutely everything in the business from quality checking the garments, packing the boxes, shipping them etc to then hiring people to do this for you – it takes some getting used to.
The juggle between work/personal life balance and being able to switch off is forever a challenge for us. We are so passionate about our brand, our company, all of our staff and of course – our customer that we constantly stay connected. Not because we have to but because we want to.
We have made little and big mistakes along the way. With every mistake we make we take this as a learning and view as a positive, this is what builds our strength and helps us grow and improve.
What’s next for the brand? Where do you hope to see it in 5 years’ time?
We hope to become the go-to brand in every woman’s suitcase. Not just a brand but a lifestyle, one that we hope our FAITHFULL THE BRAND girl will piece together for her daily look, travels across the globe and those special occasions.
As we grow our #FAITHFULLTRAVELS online concept, our website will become the go-to place to seek out your next destination with our vast range of travel guides while being inspired on what to wear along the way. To compliment the digital goal, we also hope to introduce to our customer a flagship and pop up stores around the world to create a space where you can come and experience the full ethos.
We will continue to work with and grow the local communities and artisans around us. We will continue to adhere to handmade production with complete care and love. As we prosper, we will always continue to give back and stay thoughtful.
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Author: Penny Goldstone