Phemke is an artisan inspired lifestyle brand which effortlessly captures the feel-good spirit of carefree holidays. They design and co-create resort wear collections with local artisans, which they then sell to resorts/hotels & fashion boutiques locally based. We create collections that are made from sustainable materials, which are inspired by the country’s culture to make sure traditional craftsmanship is preserved.
We interviewed founder, Femke Speelman, to get insights about the organic and natural fashion segment.
Organic and natural clothes have really kicked off in the recent years. What sort of trends do you foresee in this sector?
Measuring the environmental and social impact is crucial. Circular fashion, from cradle to cradle, recycling & upcycling, closed loop production (in which all waste is re-entering the production process) will become the norm at some stage.
Innovative, sustainable fabrics and materials (think of leather made from salmon skin, pineapple or apple; fabrics that change colour according to your mood, sports fabrics with massage effects etc.)
Are there any pertinent challenges you face?
More and more consumers are interested in clothes made from organic cotton or other sustainable fabrics. However, there’s only a small percentage that is actually buying sustainable fashion. Partly that’s because consumers don’t really know how they can buy more consciously. ‘What materials should I wear? How should I take care of the garments? Should I buy organic cotton or recycled polyester? Questions that more and more consumers have nowadays but they won’t find the answers to easily. So it’s up to the brands to educate our consumers and to make buying more consciously easier and more fun. We still have a long way to go but step by step we’re moving towards a greener fashion industry.
Where do you source your textiles from?
We source our linen from a family business in Belgium, where it’s also harvested, made into yarns and woven into fabrics. The Global Organic Textile Standard certified cotton we use for our dresses is designed in Portugal & India. In addition to organic cotton and linen we use sustainable fibers from Lenzing, such as Tencel and organic bamboo, which is known for its softness.
We are always striving to measure and reduce our foot-print, this is why we are now looking into ateliers and workshops closer to where our customers are based. This means we can create a more sustainable way of fast fashion. Shorter shelf lives, less stock and less waste with a faster turnaround for our partner retailers is our mission!
5) Any advice for a similar kind of business?
Start with the business canvas model and make sure you force yourself to choose what you are going to sell, to whom and how. Which solutions are you going to provide your target group and what problems do they solve? Define your target group, create a persona and dare to choose. Focus, do less, but better.
Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager