Portrait: Vanessa Hambaryan, style incubator

Sandals, raffia and macrame: a big favorite on Instagram and Pinterest mood boards, the boho and hippie chic style surfs on the movement of floral and ethnic prints in a skillful mix of delicate textures.

The phenomenon hasn’t escaped the keen eye of Vanessa Hambaryan. The fashion enthusiast has been running the Folk Spirit Market in Lausanne since 2017 and loves nothing more than sharing her favorites and supporting Swiss brands in their branding with tailor-made campaigns. Five years after its first edition, in 2022 the annual event has no less than 40 brands, most of them from Switzerland. So folk spirit, are you there? Certainly. Fueled by Vanessa’s impressive efficiency, the festival, set up three strings in record time, quickly established itself as a springboard for new talent and the showcase of choice for more established designers.

Looking for local and independent brands

Contrary to urban legend, Swiss fashion is not limited to a glamorous utopia. The Lausannoise has taken on the task of proving this by making fun of ideas that have been preserved. “After the first issue, many asked us: When is the next one coming?” the 41-year-old entrepreneur recalls. Before Folk, I gained a lot of experience through the Edelweiss Showroom and the Swiss Fashion Point association as well as Le Vestiaire des Créateurs.»

“Bohemian attracted me both because of the clothes and because of the decoration. I saw the potential when I realized that no creator market had opted for this positioning.

Then begins researching the market and targeting brands, preferably locally and independently. The event, which is all about style and design, has gradually expanded after gaining momentum in 2020. Thanks to the contributions of local artists who lend me floral compositions and photo exhibitions, I have managed to create a special universe. On a personal level, it’s more than fashion, it’s style that fascinates her. “My style is a mix of styles with a common thread: prints, mix & match and always a little twist on big accessories, jewellery, bags, beautiful materials. I really like vintage and only wear a few brands. One day I’m very streetwear, the next very bohemian with dresses, movement.”

“I don’t have a set style, but since I’m interested in a lot of things, I’m pretty eclectic. And I love anything very bulky.”

Consume less and better

Realizing your dream of a stylish incubator comes at a price in reality. For Vanessa, this means a state of emergency that is perfectly balanced between creativity and quick solutions. When the young mother of a five-and-a-half-year-old boy doesn’t count her hours during the week, she makes sure her job doesn’t overflow on her weekend dedicated to family. She gives the same message to both her son and the fashion addict who is loyal to folk: consume less and better. Either instead of feeling guilty, let’s learn to take responsibility. “Even if people continue to buy fast fashion, I see a change in consumer habits. I became aware of my purchases.”

“People say you have to stop shopping at Zara, H&M and Mango, but I come from a generation that is fed up with Ikea and McDonald’s. We are not used to prices that are too low and do not correspond to reality. Besides, is it wrong to want something new? I am not sure. We must not neglect the concept of enjoyment.

While amplifying the voices of others and creating synergy is her specialty, she doesn’t rule out taking the creative step herself. Maybe one day. “I’m not a craftsman, I can’t sew. But I have ideas for capsule collections, it’s a matter of time and money. I need to find the right person so we share the same vision. I want to be sure that I don’t drive straight into the wall. When I’m ready, everything will be well thought out.” Fashion doesn’t pay to wait.

The one who inspired her: I found my style in my thirties and I don’t care what people think. I understand my mom better when she talks to me about timeless basics.

Folk spirit market, June 24th and 25th, 2022 at Espace Amaretto, Lausanne.

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