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Published by marketing, 2019-12-19 07:33:25

100 Years Van de Velde



“Thank you 100 times
over for your passion.”

BUSINESS: the Van de Velde family looks back_____2-3
Marleen Vaesen
CEO of Van de Velde 100 YEARS OF LINGERIE DESIGN________________4

Two generations, one business_______________________11
Our special Van de Velde
celebration year has VAN DE VELDE
o cially kicked o . And, as Decoded__________________________________________12
far as we’re concerned, this
will be a year to remember!

We've been striving for a common goal for a century
now: to make women shine and feel great in the very
best lingerie. The pioneering role played by the Van de
Velde family has been crucial to this goal. Over three
enterprising generations, they’ve developed a highly
successful, publicly-traded family business. Together
with them and all of the employees, customers, and
stakeholders, we’re proud of the path we’ve taken and
of the dynamic and modern fashion company that Van
de Velde is today.
Let this unique newspaper transport you through
100 years of Van de Velde history and join us for a
look ahead. We present fascinating interviews, warm
memories, intriguing photos, and, foremost, a lot of
We’d like to express our appreciation and gratitude to
the Van de Velde and Laureys families, the employees,
customers, and the stakeholders for their passion,
commitment, and enthusiasm, day in and day out.

Heads confidently high, we look forward to the next
100 years!


A special overview ________________________________ 6-7


behind Marie Jo, PrimaDonna, & Andres Sarda_____9


of the family business

In December 1919, the Van de Velde studio opened its doors in Schellebelle. One hundred years later, the studio
has grown into an international lingerie empire with leading brands Marie Jo, PrimaDonna, and Andres Sarda.
Two things have proven crucial: the craftsmanship and the family business. William Van de Velde, Herman Van
de Velde, Karel Van de Velde, Greet Van de Velde, and Lucas Laureys take a look back.


Herman Van de Velde: “If I had to state the strength William Van de Velde: “I did realize that we had to The market was in full swing in the 1970s.
of our family business in a single sentence, I’d say it’s innovate. We needed to adapt to the changing market by Karel and Herman Van de Velde—William's sons—
‘the combination of functionality and creativity.’ My designing new items: demand was high for girdles, tights, and cousin Lucas Laureys joined the family business.
grandparents were a highly complementary team. and more modern bras. So I worked on the technicality
Margaretha, my grandmother, was a skilled craftswoman: of the products, and I learned a lot from my mother and Lucas Laureys: “We could tell that supplying unbranded
She oversaw the stitching workshop and made sure the my wife. Livine grew up in the city with a sense of fashion products to clients would be a story that got cut short.
corsets were of exceptional quality. My grandfather, and was very skilful at figuring out the what the modern We needed our own brand. My cousin Karel joined the
Achiel, was the entrepreneur and a born salesman.” woman wanted.” business in 1976. Karel and I had shared a vision for the
future of the business. What’s more, Karel was also a
The corset factory soon became successful. After “The strength of our family superb designer. His goal was to create fashion, but in a
WWII, their son William joined the business, along business is the combination of di erent way.”
with their son-in-law Raoul Laureys. functionality and creativity.”
Karel Van de Velde: “When I began working at the
Herman Van de Velde: “My grandmother passed on her photo: William Van de Velde business as a young man, we still mainly produced corsets,
craftsmanship to my father. He was actually a lawyer and corselets, girdles, and tights, in which we were the market
had no immediate desire to work in the business. He did, leader of Benelux at the time. We also produced bras
however, immerse himself in the profession and grew to with an outstanding functional cut and embroidered
be a true craftsman. Together with my mother, Livine, upper cups. Even so, my father saw that the market was
he made it a point of honor to produce comfortable evolving, and he understood it was time to innovate again.
women's lingerie of the highest quality.” He played a vital role in this transformation. In fact, he
even developed the very first bra for Marie Jo, before that
brand was even in existence: a model with embroidery,
embroidered only along the edge and on the transparent
fabric. He also gave me full freedom to experiment

Herman Van de Velde: “During the transition to the
third generation, something significant happened: The
craftsmanship that lay within our DNA became linked to
creativity and fashion. This gave rise to a winning formula."


The introduction of its own lingerie brands marked 100 YEARS OF BUILDING A BELGIAN FAMILY BUSINESS
the start of a new era for Van de Velde, including
important milestones like the launch of Marie Jo
and the acquisition of PrimaDonna.

Karel Van de Velde: “1981 saw the launch of our first
Marie Jo design. It was a huge success, especially
with the matching briefs, and, naturally, owing also to
the innovative photography sessions with model Iris
Vandekerckhove (Wendy van Wanten, ed.), the model
of the moment. A second significant moment occurred
ten years later, when we acquired PrimaDonna. We
introduced the unique combination of craftsmanship
and fashion to the larger cup segment. It was a highly
innovative step. Those milestones not only influenced my
life, but also those of the entire business. I'm really proud
of that.”

photo: Van de Velde family

photo: Lucas Laureys The Van de Velde business is unique in many course, I consulted with Dad, Lucas, and Herman—but
respects. The family bond is strongly intertwined that was very informal. We had a great deal of trust in one
Lucas Laureys: “For the first time, we had a real with success, and the emotional connection is strong. another. We didn't need long sentences. For example,
marketing strategy, with a clear brand identity. what made Marie Jo so successful so quickly? Because
I've always taken great care in that field: You always have Herman Van de Velde: “I’m not a man of aesthetics, I swiftly decided to introduce larger sizes. Dad wasn't
to revitalize your strategy and identity, and always reach of fashion ... I am inspired and energized by people. My really in favor of that. He said, ‘Karel, you're not going
high enough. I believe, as a brand, you have to both stay greatest pride is that we were able to recruit a team of to be able to make a D cup with fabric like that.’ In the
true to yourself and maintain your message. You must people who are very loyal and bonded to the business. In end, he tried it and succeeded! The representatives told
never forget the emotional aspect of a brand. With Marie that respect, I formed a very complementary team with me in January that they wanted D cups, and they were
Jo, the message has always been ‘I feel good’. It’s lingerie Lucas and Karel. We respected each other's roles.” delivered by that November. Things moved that quickly.
that you buy just for yourself.” I also heard from our suppliers that the competition was
Karel Van de Velde: “There was great motivation and wondering how we were able to move so fast.”
Craftsmanship is still central to Van de Velde. a very strong will to collaborate. All of us were moving
in the same direction. Of course, there were—and are—a Greet Van de Velde: “It was actually a collaboration
Herman Van de Velde: “The design is still the engine of range of skills among the di erent people in the family, among a small group of people. There was little
the business. The designers create collections every six and we were able to bring them together. That makes a hierarchy; the decision-making lines were short. If
months. Should that process fail, then we have a major business incredibly strong. For important decisions, of there was an issue, I would go see Karel, Herman, or
problem. That’s the challenge for the business. Lucas, and it was resolved within the hour. That was
I also want to ensure continuity in the future by great! We got along very well — and still do. I also had
attracting talented people who are able to link creativity no problem with the fact that my brothers and Lucas
with craftsmanship and who have the know-how of the were the management, because they listened. If you
market.” had a comment, they would respond, ‘Okay, we'll make
changes.’ ”

“The design is still the engine Lucas Laureys: “We knew what the others were doing
of the business.” and had the same goal in mind: We wanted the company
to grow and saw the possibilities. It also helped that we
were all highly motivated and very determined.”

Herman Van de Velde: “Three things are essential in
a family business. First, that you make agreements and
are able to compromise. My father always emphasized
that to me. Second, you should be modest and let others
shine. This requires a bit of modesty from every family
member. In addition, the family culture is important. In
good families, it’s nice to spend time together. I want our
employees to feel good in our business, to feel connected.
You can only forge that kind of company culture by
setting a good example yourself. That has to come from

MARIE JO photo: Herman and Karel Van de Velde photo: Greet and Livine Van de Velde 100 YEARS 3


“I was 18 at the time and not
yet working in the business, but
I was the right age to wear the
collection. That’s why Marie Jo
holds special meaning for me.”

D1L0EI0NSYIGGENEARRSI E One of the design milestones at Van de Velde was the
1981 launch of the Marie Jo brand. “I was 18 at the time
and not yet working in the business, but I was the right
age to wear the collection. That’s why Marie Jo holds
special meaning for me,” explains Liesbeth.


The launch of Marie Jo L'Aventure in the 1990s was also
a milestone in innovation. “Marie Jo L'Aventure took
shape, inspired by the minimalism in fashion at the time.
The link between lingerie and clothing was very close.
Marie Jo L'Aventure, for example, has matured into a
brand centered around dessus-dessous: lingerie inspired
by outerwear looks. You can see this, for example, in bras
that have been fully finished in print. That was innovative
in lingerie design.”

HEAD OF DESIGN, Photo: PrimaDonna The preformed, padded cup, which was originally created
for swimwear, also really gained momentum. Previously,
Liesbeth Van de Velde, AN EYE FOR FIT AND DESIGN the standard was an underwired bra with a seam. Then,
looks back on 100 years of revolutions and suddenly, there was a fifteen-year period in which bras
evolutions in lingerie design. She’s proud of the path “But we did make a di erence because we combined with padded cups dictated the lingerie trends. Lingerie
the family business has blazed in this field. should be smooth, not show under your clothing, and be
impeccable fit—which was embedded in our DNA—with in a neutral shade.
Today, when we think of lingerie, we instinctively think of visually stunning design, and were pioneers. My father
the classic set of a bra and a pair of briefs. However, 100 and oldest brother were a complementary team. My TRENDSETTING DESIGNS IN LARGER CUP
years ago, Van de Velde did not yet have bras. “Bras were father constantly insisted on the importance of the SIZES
only added at a later stage,” says Liesbeth Van de Velde. perfect fit, while my brother had an eye for the visual and
creative aspects. Creativity came naturally to him.” In 1990, Van de Velde took over PrimaDonna, the
lingerie brand for larger sizes. PrimaDonna is close
to Liesbeth Van de Velde's heart. “I began working at
Van de Velde when we had just acquired PrimaDonna.


The post-WWII invention of Lycra thread was
instrumental to the emergence of lingerie design as we
know it today. Thanks to this elastic fiber, comfortable
lingerie could be produced from stretchy fabrics. As
Liesbeth explains, “previously you had to tighten and
close corselets with drawstrings. Thanks to the Lycra
thread, this was no longer necessary. At first, the thread
was only incorporated into heavy, solid materials, but
over time, it could be used for fine and elastic lace,
embroidery, and tulle.”

“Van de Velde immediately opted for elasticity in the
design—although that wasn't technically the easiest
option—because it’s advantageous for comfort. We didn't
want to make uncomfortable ‘suits of armor’.”


“The first true brands emerged during the 1960s,”
explains Liesbeth Van de Velde. "Before then, lingerie
was mostly functional, with largely stereotypical designs.
Although lovely materials were used, the colors were just
boilerplate black, nude, and white. For the first 50 years
of its existence, Van de Velde was primarily a functional
business that made quality lingerie for others. Only then
did we switch to our own brands, with more fashionable
and stylish creations.”

Photo: Liesbeth Van de Velde


It was very classic lingerie; the collection even had VAN DE VELDE ICONS in a festive makeover
corselets with a zipper. We immediately added more
trendy designs to the line. It’s one of the more significant VAN DE VELDE CELEBRATES ITS 100TH
evolutions in lingerie design over the last thirty years: BIRTHDAY
that you’re no longer ‘punished’ with boring lingerie just
because you wear a large cup size.” with festive editions of Marie Jo's Avero,
“Women with a larger bust also want the small- PrimaDonna’s Deauville, and A la Folie from
size range,” she emphasizes. “Pre-shaped cups, PrimaDonna Twist. These popular, iconic lingerie
bralettes,... why shouldn’t these be possible in larger series have been in the collection for years and
sizes? In analogy with Marie Jo L'Aventure, we captured the hearts of many women with their
launched PrimaDonna Twist in 2010 as a sub-brand at amazing fit and beautiful looks.
PrimaDonna. For example, some women who discovered
PrimaDonna due to their larger cup size preferred a A NOD TO CORSETRY
smooth bra with a print. PrimaDonna Twist is a response
to that demand.” “The Deauville fit has something magical to it. The
lingerie series has been in the collection for fifteen
FUTURE-PROOF LINGERIE years. It remains a timeless design,” explains Carole
Lambert, Brand Design Manager of PrimaDonna.
How will lingerie design evolve in the future? We don't “The fit is like your favorite pajamas: really
know; we can only speculate. After thirty years in comfortable.”
lingerie, however, Liesbeth Van de Velde knows enough
to make some cautious predictions. “The dessous-dessus “The color palette of the limited edition is a nod
trend has been around in the background for twenty to the history of corsetry,” says Carole Lambert.
years, with lingerie becoming more visible and the line “We combined timeless black with the typical
between outerwear and lingerie ever more blurred. The pastel colors of the past; a nod to how Van de Velde
trend has only really broken through recently. With started out as a corset studio.”
visible back details, bra closures that you can see on a A la Folie, the first style icon of PrimaDonna Twist,
low-cut back... The distinction between a bikini and a now has embroidery in timeless black and a vintage
bra is fading. You certainly see that with the younger nude shade. With the attractive retro look and
consumers.” excellent fit, it’s the favorite of a lot of women.

“I firmly believe that women will always appreciate “The Deauville fit has photo: limited edition of PrimaDonna's Deauville, shot at
beautiful lingerie; not because they want to be sexy for something magical to it. This the Schellebelle studio
a partner, but for themselves. Beautiful, perfectly-fitting lingerie series has been in the
lingerie makes you feel fantastic. It boosts your self- collection for fifteen years:
confidence. And I don't think women will ever want to it remains a timeless design.”
give up the comfort of an excellent fit. Bras will continue
to exist as a way to appreciate your own body.” THE POPULAR DAISY BRA

“I firmly believe that women Marie Jo is also celebrating the 100th anniversary of
will always appreciate beautiful its parent company with a limited edition. And which
series could be more suitable for this than the wildly
lingerie.” popular Avero? This Daisy bra was brought onto the
market twenty-three years ago and has since been
released in more than forty-five colors.

“The secret behind the success of the Avero is that
it’s a T-shirt bra or invisible bra with that little bit
extra,” says Lieve Vermeire, Brand Design Manager
at Marie Jo. “The playful checked fabric, originally
used in swimwear, and the floral embroidery on the
straps were an immediate hit. Avero is highly practical
lingerie with an innovative look.”

With the festive limited edition, Avero will impress
customers with a fashionable oversized flower motif
in black and bronze. The floral embroidery on the
straps almost gives the appearance of a necklace due
to its bronze shimmer. A gem of a lingerie series, with
a glamorous corset in the starring role! 100% party-
ready and totally on-trend.

“The secret behind the success
of the Avero is that it’s

a T-shirt bra or invisible bra
with that little bit extra.”

Photo: Andres Sarda photo: limited edition of Marie Jo's Avero, shot at the
Schellebelle studio


1920s & 1930s
In the roaring twenties, the Charleston becomes the
dance style of the moment. The corset gets in the way
of those swinging moves. Enter the step-in chemises,
tights, and bras.

Achiel & Margaretha Van de Velde open a corsetry 1940s & 1950s
studio in the Belgian village of Schellebelle. Margaretha
is a corsetière who exudes craftswomanship. Achiel is THE LIBERATION
an entrepreneur and a born salesman. The production is OF THE FEMALE BODY
traditional, and the corsets, unbranded products with an
excellent fit, are made to order. It’s post-WW II, and there’s been a sea
change in what women want.

Bras and girdles are gaining popularity.
New fibers like Lycra facilitate the design of

more comfortable products.

The son and son-in-law of Achiel and
Margaretha Van de Velde join the business:
William Van de Velde and Raoul Laureys.
Together with their wives, Livine Van der
Wee and Gaby Van de Velde, they expand the
product range and modernize production.
They simultaneously continue to insist
on quality, fit, and excellent customer
service: the strengths that have always been
embedded in Van de Velde's DNA.

1960s & 1970s 1980s

de Velde — William’s
Women are seeking emancipation and want greater sons, and Lucas Laureys
comfort. Van de Velde immediately focuses on producing — Raoul’s son — become
comfortable, functional, high-quality women's lingerie. the third generation
The first branded products are also being launched, such to take the helm of the
as Lily of France and the youthful Miss Osay. Thanks to family business.
this innovative adaptation to the changing market and
the unyielding focus on product quality and healthy client 1981
relations, Van de Velde is one of the few ready-to-wear
clothing companies still standing in the turbulent region Van de Velde’s own
of Flanders at that time. lingerie brand Marie Jo
immediately captures
the hearts of many
women with creative,
innovative designs with
an outstanding fit.


Van de Velde takes over the German lingerie brand PrimaDonna,
and combines its own knowledge and creativity with the
expertise of PrimaDonna. It unleashes an important evolution
in the lingerie world: the first fashionable lingerie collection for
larger cup sizes.




Van de Velde launches Marie Jo L'Aventure: sleek and minimalist luxury
designs of high quality, with impeccable fit.
The “pure lingerie” is an immediate success.

Van de Velde also becomes a
publicly-traded company in 1997.

2008 2010-2011 2007

Spanish luxury Van de Velde takes over various lingerie chains: With an extensive training program for retail partners,
lingerie brand the British "Rigby & Peller", "Intimacy" in the Lingerie Styling, Van de Velde ensures that customers
Andres Sarda USA, and "Lincherie" in the Netherlands. receive optimal assistance in the fitting room. This way,
strengthens the Van Globally, the business currently has 87 of its own they not only leave the store with lingerie in the right
de Velde group. multi-brand stores. size, but also with the best fit, color, and style for their
An important Van de Velde innovation is the 3D
scan mirror: a tool to further improve trying on 2014
items in the fitting room.
In 2014, women with a
fuller cup can finally hit
the beach, confident in
their PrimaDonna

More and more young women these days have a larger cup size.
The time is ripe for PrimaDonna Twist: youthful, trendy, and
colorful, along with the perfect fit.

2017 2018 2019

A good sports bra is an The Marie Jo Swim READY FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER
absolute must for women collection is created. The
with a bigger cup. fashionable looks and A new chapter arrives for Van de Velde:
PrimaDonna Sport is familiar fit of Marie Jo take Marleen Vaesen becomes the first female
enthusiastically embraced. on a new interpretation in a CEO, and the business blows out 100
trendy swimwear line. candles!



“100 years of success is not something

you achieve all by yourself.”


Van de Velde has always focused on women. Is
lingerie a tribute to women rather than a tool to
seduce men?

“That's right, we don't design lingerie to seduce men.
Instead, we’ve always prioritized the overall aspect for
women: lingerie should fit perfectly so that women feel
good. Lingerie is there for you to pamper yourself and to
make you happy, whatever size you are. We try to help
all women with all sizes. Because we have such a large
fashion collection, every woman is assured of finding the
lingerie that suits her in terms of fit, look, appearance,
and color.”

How does lingerie impact women?

“Lingerie has an important psychological e ect. I THANK YOU 100 TIMES “Yes. The foundations remain unchanged: we provide
experience that myself: the right lingerie generates a OVER! premium quality lingerie under thriving brands;
positive strength, and then you radiate that. I often even lingerie that meets women's expectations. Naturally,
decide on the color of my own lingerie depending on the Beginning in December, the 100th birthday will be these expectations have evolved over the years: from
meetings in my calendar. If I think I need a power boost, I celebrated for a whole year. Is it a moment to be sti corset work to the highly-fashionable lingerie of
choose red lingerie: a color that exudes power.” thankful and to honor family? today. The business has always followed and often even
anticipated trends, and will continue to do so.
“Lingerie has an important “It's an excellent moment to stop and thank the family:
psychological impact. I the true entrepreneurs. The founders Achiel and “There has been pressure on our turnover for a few years
Margaretha Van de Velde invested all their savings now, but the foundations of the business are robust.
experience that myself: the right in the corset factory. They took the leap of faith. The And if the foundations are strong, you can weather the
lingerie generates a positive next generation—with William, Livine, Raoul, and changes in the market. In the 1970s, feminists wanted to
strength, and then you radiate Gaby—laid the foundations of quality, customer loyalty, set their bras and corsets on fire and toss them over the
that. and service. The third generation continued to build hedge. We survived that. Women are now perhaps more
on this; consequently, these fundamental principles demanding, their shopping habits are changing, and their
You’re the first female CEO in the 100-year history are anchored, as it were, in the very DNA of the family experience of being a woman is di erent. We’ll always
of the business. Do you think that having a woman at business. Lingerie is so much more at Van de Velde than continue to respond to their needs, and, above all, we
the helm makes a di erence? just a piece of fabric; it has an entire philosophy attached want to keep having a positive impact on women's lives.”
to it.”
"Does it provide added value? Absolutely! Is it crucial?
No, because the business was very successful for 100 Which other parties would you like to thank?
years without a female CEO at the helm. I’ve been a
PrimaDonna fan for years, and I know from personal “100 years of success is not something you achieve all by
experience what a di erence it makes when you wear yourself.” First and foremost, I would like to thank the
exceptional lingerie. That certainly helps in discussions employees. They’ve always been extremely dedicated to
about fit and the emotions and feelings that successful the business. You sense that enthusiasm and passion in
lingerie can inspire. I can go into greater detail. I can everyone, day in and day out. In addition, we’re grateful
identify with the emotions associated with lingerie, to our retail partners. They excel at selling our brands
and I fully understand our mission: to make a positive and help customers choose the right size and styling, so
di erence for women. I can empathize with the that they can enjoy the best experience our lingerie has
independent retail partners and speak about the product to o er.”
from personal experience. That’s an asset.”
“We also thank our suppliers. Their creativity and quality
What’s it like to be at the head of a business with so allow us to create these premium products. These are
many women, namely 85% of the employees? producers and suppliers with whom we’ve been working
for years. That continuity is important.”
“In this business, the solidarity between the women is
tangible. It does provide an extra dimension. As women, "And finally, I thank the shareholders, because it’s due to
we’re committed to making a positive di erence for their capital that we can invest in growth as a business."
other women. But what struck me most during my first
few months at Van de Velde was the enthusiasm, drive, READY FOR THE NEXT 100
and passion that the employees have for our lingerie. YEARS
During the last sales meeting, some employees modeled
the lingerie themselves for their co-workers. It was a How do you see the future? Is Van de Velde ready for
beautiful moment: the women were so proud of our the next 100 years?
product that they were willing to model the lingerie to
the team themselves … Amazing!”

photo: Marleen Vaesen



Marie Jo PrimaDonna Andres Sarda

Glory days Unique design The Mediterranean touch

“When I came to work in the business after completing “After studying fashion design, I began working as a “Andres Sarda is luxury lingerie that features incredible
my textile studies in the mid-1990s, a very challenging designer at Van de Velde. I immediately fell under the fit in tandem with the utmost comfort. We want to give
and exciting period was starting to unfold. These were spell of the way of working at this business. The strong women a psychological boost with our designs: the
the glory years of Marie Jo. There was the launch of bond between the design team and the stitching studio power to do great things. The Mediterranean flair is
the sleek, graphic sister Marie Jo L'Aventure, and the is unique. I love the traditional methods. The design characteristic of our brand.”
fashionable makeover of PrimaDonna. I landed in the process is very specific here. A design is immediately
creative nest: the beating heart of Van de Velde. Those tested and made in our own workshop.” A unique father-daughter relationship
early years, when I collaborated with Karel and Liesbeth
Van de Velde—then head of Quality and Fit, were the Fashion, baby! “My father viewed his designs as a celebration of
foundation on which I could continue to build in the femininity. He leaves behind an incredible legacy, which
years thereafter.” “Together with Liesbeth Van de Velde, the then Brand will always live on—also in my designs. We worked very
Design Manager of PrimaDonna, I decided to put closely together; a bond that I will always cherish."
Innovative and surprising design PrimaDonna on the map as a fashionable lingerie
brand for women with a larger cup size. At the time, it On the catwalk
“The strength of Marie Jo lies firstly in the visual was the lingerie brand that retailers mainly hid away
aspect: the innovative looks. From the launch of the in the drawers. We wanted to make it into a brand that “In the 1980s, we explored the international market. We
brand in 1981, Karel Van de Velde opted for a lingerie they were proud of, that could be displayed in the store
collection that had a unique and innovative character. window. And it worked.” wanted to become an international lingerie company,
The unusual materials, never-before-seen combinations, so we went to France, Germany, Belgium, and Italy. In
and fashionable looks are central to the design. And no Fashionable and comfortable 1996, we began staging our own fashion shows. The first
compromises are made in terms of the fit. Quality and fit fashion show was held during the Barcelona Fashion
are part of the brand's very DNA.” “The biggest challenge at PrimaDonna is the technical Week, where only ready-to-wear was on show. We were
side. We try to translate the trends that we see with the the first lingerie brand on the catwalk. Even today, the
Fashion & fit smaller cup sizes into larger cups. The trendy bralette fashion shows are very important for our brand. They
is a good example of this. If you translate that fit directly are a platform for our creativity. We show that lingerie is,
“Marie Jo has built up a loyal crowd of fans over the into larger sizes, it simply won't work. We combine the or can be, just as creative as ready-to-wear. Previously,
years. Women initially fall for the beauty of Marie Jo, but look of the bralette with the support of an underwired lingerie was not considered fashion. At Andres Sarda,
they are then fully convinced in the fitting room. Loyalty bra. We want a trendy look, but we refuse to compromise lingerie is fashion.”
grows from the outstanding fit. The intriguing visual on support and comfort.”
aspect may prompt the initial attraction, but the good fit Van de Velde x Andres Sarda: a wonderful marriage
is the intrinsic strength of the brand.” PrimaDonna’s success factors
“In 2008, Andres Sarda was taken over by Van de Velde.
“The combination of the best support and supreme It changed the way we work; at the same time, however,
comfort with fashionable looks: that’s PrimaDonna in a we retained our personality and the strength of the
nutshell. PrimaDonna is also very authentic and honest brand. You can see it as a good marriage."
as a brand: we don't make false promises.”



Quality Control Quality Control Marie Jo Patternmaker Technician
39 years with the company 42 years with the company 32 years with the company 5 years with the company, and
20 years with the company

“Mr. William sometimes came to “In the old days, they used to laughingly “After all these years, what I cherish the most is “We work on the same team, so
Schellebelle when there was a lot of call Van de Velde the centimes factory the family feeling that prevails in the business. The everyone realized that something
work, to ask if we wanted to work because we were paid in centimes for a family has always been very involved. Mr. William was blossoming. When we finally
overtime. I said to my co-workers in certain number of stitched pieces. Those came with me to have a look in the fitting room, became a couple after four years,
beforehand, “I don't want to come in on who could work harder earned higher sometimes even comparing his patterns with we kept it quiet from our co-
Saturday morning because I'm going out wages!" mine, noting that there was a two-millimeter dif- workers for a month. Then we
tonight!" And then Mr. William would ference. Then he said, ‘Martine, I would take those o cially announced it during the
ask, ‘Annick, would you like to come in two millimeters o .’ (laughs) That enthusiasm and break. The co-workers responded
on Saturday?" And I'd reply: ‘Yes!’, to meticulousness have undoubtedly ensured that enthusiastically and with relief,
the great amusement of my co-workers!” the family business has become so successful.” ‘Finally!’ Who knows, someday
there may be a beautiful wedding
celebration in the atrium in

Fitting Model
30 years with the company

SUZANNE HAGEN, “The first time I was in the fitting LUCIA VERMEULEN,
Styling Trainer for the Netherlands room, I felt a little shy. But I soon
32 years with the company got over that because I could see PrimaDonna and PrimaDonna Twist Pattern-
how professional everything was. As
“The best thing about my job is that, as a a fitting model, it gives me a good maker
woman, I can help other women feel more feeling that I’m helping the design
comfortable and confident in their lingerie team create gorgeous lingerie that fits 36 years with the company MARCUS HEITMANN,
and in their own lives. Lingerie can be so perfectly. Last year, I even took part
meaningful. You see women stand taller in the PrimaDonna show. Along with Sales Representative for Germany
when they leave the fitting room with their some co-workers, we modeled the new
new lingerie set.” collection for the other employees. “Patternmaking is a process of trial and error. 12 years with the company
Standing on stage in lingerie is
VICENÇ GUAL VIVAS, something I would never have dared to You absolutely cannot be afraid to start over. The
Andres Sarda Marketing, do before. Now, the applause after the
25 years with the company show is a real thrill.” most important part of my job is looking inside the “For me, the most magical moment

fitting room with my own eyes: that’s the moment is the start of a new season,

of truth. If I start using my scissors on a new the Brand Inspiration Days in

design during a fitting session, I sometimes get Schellebelle. It’s always a surprise to

looks of shock or laughter from the fitting models. see what has been created. It gives

But I want to really understand each pattern me tons of inspiration. A real energy

through and through. That’s why I sometimes cut boost! You can feel that Van de Velde

open the prototypes, so I can see what's happening is a family business in every fiber of

with the fabric on the inside.” the business: there’s a great deal of

involvement. And that also helps me

to be successful and authentic in my

“One particularly nice memory and a personal role.”

highlight was when I first took charge of the

photo shoot for the Andres Sarda catalog. It was

a real adrenaline rush. You work hard to compile

the very best team, create the best look, and if the

results are good it's so rewarding!”



photo (from left to right): Chantal, Rita, and Anja

Sisters Chantal and Anja Vanhoesen have been
working in the Van de Velde studio for 29 years. And
their mum, Rita De Munck, also spent several years in
the 1960s as a seamstress within the family business.

Herman Van de Velde and daughter Lien discuss the photo: Herman and Lien Van de Velde Rita: “I worked at Van de Velde from 1960 to 1965. It was
unique collaboration within a family business. a fantastic period: we were a close-knit team of women. I
you begin at the bottom of the ladder. That way, you get to stitched on di erent machines within the studio. At that
Lien: “We didn't see each other during my first day on know the product from the inside and you can gradually time, Mr. William and his father and mother, Achiel and
the job. There was an introduction day for all the co- evolve in the business.” Margaretha, were still active in the business. Margaretha
workers who had started at the same time. I received the ‘polished’ the bras in the studio: She trimmed the loose-
same training and explanations as the others. I brought A view of the future hanging stitching threads from the bras. Achiel was a
sandwiches with me for lunch, and I know I was a little sales representative. We women often sang all day in the
nervous that first day, thinking, ‘Who am I going to sit Herman: “My wish is for the business to be successfully studio.”
with? Who are my co-workers …?’ Fortunately, it all went transferred to the next generation. I myself received
very smoothly. People are happy to take the time to explain something wonderful from my parents. I was lucky that Chantal: “Mum would often tell us stories of Van de
things. The only di cult thing I can remember is the first I could work there, personally develop, and then take the Velde from the past. The warm, family atmosphere in the
time that I had to send Dad an e-mail at work, with a cc lead. I want to make the family business more attractive business made a strong impression on her. When I heard
to others. That was rather strange, because you can't to the next generation, and I’d like the next generation in that I could start working at Van de Velde, I immediately
simply write ‘Hi Dad’. So, you begin the e-mail with ‘Dear turn to do something remarkable with it.” called her. When my sister was looking for a new job a
Herman’ and a very dry summary of the facts.” (laughs) little while later, I recommended Van de Velde.”
Lien: “I want to make sure that the things we design
Herman: “As a family, we’ve always taken great care to are still relevant in five years' time, still have consumers, Anja: “We’ve both been working in the same sewing
avoid preferential treatment. Be just like the others. Keep and that we can be proud of them. I want to achieve that studio now for 29 years. It used to be stitching as part of
a low profile. That’s something I learned from my father: ambition as well as play an active, relevant role in it.” the assembly line, but now we always work on one model
individually from start to finish. “It’s satisfying when I see
‘my piece’ afterwards in the store. I think proudly, ‘I made
that!’ We also talk about work for hours. Then even our
children say, ‘Mom, not lingerie again!’ ” (laughs)


photo: Schellebelle photo: Wichelen photo: Barcelona photo: Tunisia

Van de Velde's headquarters are in The production site of Van de Velde The headquarters of Andres Sarda The main assembly site of Van de Velde
Schellebelle, the site of the business’ is located in Wichelen and covers are located in Barcelona, Spain. There is in Kondar, Tunisia. This production
founding in 1919. The following approximately 9,600 m². Wichelen is is a design team, stitching studio, and a unit, which was established in 1995, now
departments are located here: design, the where the raw materials arrive, where marketing department, with a total of 26 employs 623 people.
stitching studio, commercial, marketing, employees.
finance, customer service, IT & digital quality control of those raw materials
development, HR & corporate support
services and operations. There are 287 takes place, and where the quality control
employees working in Schellebelle.
of the finished products takes place. The

lab, the cutting room, and the distribution

center are also here. There are 257

employees working in Wichelen.

In addition to these four important locations, Van de Velde has a large international sales network and a retail network in North America (USA and Canada), the United
Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark; together these locations employ 388 people.



1 45 94

work in our design team & stitching studio:
are held in Van de Velde’s permanent stock on average, in a single bra the heart of the business

50 125

weekly are checked for quality by hand and
meticulously inspect the lingerie for flaws the naked eye

6 200

are answered annually at our call center
are produced annually within, on average, 17 seconds

18 65 520

are created every year for our brands PrimaDonna,
elapse between the initial design and the delivery of a in which Van de Velde is active Marie Jo, and Andres Sarda

new collection to the lingerie boutiques *

worldwide, at least one Avero from Marie Jo is sold

is the di erence between the underwiring channel of up to a K cup

PrimaDonna’s Deauville in the smallest size (75B) and

the largest size (100J)

Resp. Ed.: Evelyn Verstraeten/Van de Velde N.V./Lageweg 4/9260 Schellebelle/Belgium 32


to make a single Marie Jo and PrimaDonna bra



would recommend the Deauville bra to a friend


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