There once was …
More than 60 years ago, the couple Roger and Simone Decremer-Persoons started the production of luxury slippers in Tildonk. In the 1970s they changed direction: they started a wholesale shoe business and opened a first modest shoe shop under the church tower – the stepping stone to what would later become Carmi. Today the company is led by their eldest son Michel Decremer and his wife Marie-Claire Martens, who have developed Carmi into a beautiful total store for shoes and clothing for the whole family.
Start of a thriving business
The whole story started in 1954, when Roger Decremer and his wife Simone Persoons decided to start their own business. Through a cousin, they came into contact with a supplier that produced rubber soles, and so the idea of making slippers was born. As an engineer, Roger was involved in the design of machines and patterns, Simone chose the materials and drew the designs. The Perro brand – the first letters of Persoons and Roger – was born. Some of the slippers were genuine luxury slippers made from haute couture fabrics, which they were allowed to supply years later to Bally, a well-known Swiss chain of shoe stores. During that period they worked with about sixty people. The entire production took place in Tildonk, in a new building next to the parental home. Today this is still the headquarters of the company, where an enthusiastic team takes care of the accounting, personnel administration, purchasing, marketing, web sales and the warehouse.
From Perro to Shoe Center
Due to the sky-high wage costs, the production of slippers was stopped in 1979. The Perro company, meanwhile a wholesaler in shoes, became an agent for other shoe brands, including Primigi, Bellamy, Gallus, Arima and Arriva. Twice a year the people from the neighborhood could go to the old stitching shop above the head office to buy the remaining slippers and the wholesale stock. An embryonic form of the current Carmi branches, so to speak. Not much later, Roger and Simone opened their first shoe store, the Shoe Center. In addition to Perro’s own slippers, customers found various men’s, women’s and children’s shoe collections there.
Carmi sees the light of day
Under the impulse of their eldest son Michel, the Decremer family again went in search of renewal and expansion. In 1985 they were able to acquire a spacious and well-located building in Zemst. Just outside the center, the former Carpetland building became vacant, with a spacious parking lot. There the first building blocks would be laid for what Carmi is today: the shopping address in the region with more than 300 top brands in shoes, handbags, clothing and accessories under one roof. The opening was an overwhelming success. Michel: “In a press campaign we announced that the first five hundred visitors would receive a barbecue as a gift. There has been a long queue from early in the morning. It was a bull’s eye.”
The offer is expanding
About five years later, Werner also joined the business, after which the two brothers continued to build on the success of Zemst. In 1988 the store in Tildonk was closed and moved to Korbeek-Lo: the second Carmi was a fact. And in 2002 a third branch was opened in Aubel in Wallonia. Initially, Carmi only sold children’s, women’s and men’s shoes, but afterwards also a limited range of casual wear. About fifteen years after the start of Carmi, the range was expanded to a full-fledged clothing collection.
Family business pur sang
In the 1990s, the Decremer family opened four Mephisto stores in Brussels, Antwerp, Hasselt and Knokke. And there is also the Kid children’s shoe store in Leuven, and the Gabor shops in Ghent and Knokke. The Carmi’s in Zemst and Korbeek-Lo have since been repeatedly renovated and enlarged to accommodate the increasingly extensive range.
At the end of 2016, Werner and his wife Kathy, who had been in charge of the marketing department for a dozen years, decided to take their careers in a new direction. In the meantime, Elke and Jan, the children of Michel and Marie-Claire, have also started in the business.
Everything starts with the customer
A great deal of attention is paid to service and customer-friendliness in the training of sales personnel. “Whatever you buy, at Carmi you can count on personal service. Our experienced employees are always ready to give the appropriate advice. And we notice that the customer is asking that more and more. Our saleswomen and salespeople regularly attend refresher courses at the various brands. In this way they can guide the customer even better with his purchase”, says Michel. “The role of the Carmi team is very important. We try to surround ourselves with the best people, in the stores and also at our administrative services and in the warehouse in Tildonk. Our after-sales service is also supported by two experienced master shoemakers, which is an enormous added value for the customer.”
Finger on the pulse
Marie-Claire, Michel, Elke and Jan are also in the shops as much as possible, in order to keep in touch with the customer. “We only exist thanks to the customers and you have to earn them every day,” Michel says. “Hence the wide range of more than 300 top brands for women, men and children at Carmi and the largest possible range within each brand. The customer really has to find everything in the store. Only then is a visit to a Carmi store worth the trip. The webshop also sells the entire range of shoes, slippers, handbags and accessories. We keep our finger on the pulse when it comes to fashion. Brands come and go, and we have to be very vigilant that we have the right offer at the right time. Because our customers come to us for their favorite brand. It is our job to ensure that we have it in-house.”
Right from the start, Carmi has consistently drawn the card of social engagement. With the Senden Home shelter in the Philippines, there has been sponsorship for many years amounting to 2% of the turnover of the children’s shoes. In 1997, a permanent partnership was started with Natuurpunt Oost-Brabant. Since 2012, Carmi has also provided support to the Kenyan Ilkujuka in Loïta Hills. An initiative that was followed in the sector and we applaud that at Carmi: the more of these types of initiatives, the better.
Carmi through the years
Today Carmi has been around for 32 years. We take you on a journey through time!
1954 Start production luxury slippers
1972 Establishment of wholesaler
1976 Opening of Shoe Center Tildonk schoenen shoe store
1979 Stopping slipper production
1985 Opening Carmi Zemst
1988 Opening Carmi Korbeek-Lo, closing Shoe Center Tildonk
1995 Opening of the first Mephisto Shop in Brussels
1997 Opening Mephisto Shop Antwerp
1999 Opening Mephisto Shop Hasselt
2001 Opening Mephisto Shop Knokke
2002 Opening Carmi Aubel
2011 Launch of the Carmi webshop
2015 Opening Gabor Shop Ghent and Knokke
Brusselsesteenweg 129 Zemst 1980 Belgium
Tiensesteenweg 8 Bierbeek 3360 Belgium
NatanNatan Contact: Edouard Vermeulen
1930 BIRTH OF THE NATAN HOUSE
Creation of the Couture House Paul Natan.
1957 Edouard Vermeulen is born in Ypres on March 4, 1957. He graduates as an interior designer from Saint-Luc college, which introduces him to the world of volumes and materials.
AVENUE LOUISE 158
In his search for a gallery to display his first discoveries, Edouard Vermeulen rents a space in the Couture House Paul Natan, Avenue Louise. A few years later, he takes over the House under the new name NATAN.
1986 FIRST RUNWAY SHOW
NATAN’s first show, with Princess Paola as one of the guests.
Edouard Vermeulen has been dressing members of royal families for years, including the Royal Family of Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Luxembourg.
1987 FIRST READY-TO-WEAR STORE IN BRUSSELS
Opening of the NATAN ready-to-wear store in Brussels, Belgium.
Creation of ready-to-wear lines for distribution.
1999 WEDDING DRESS QUEEN MATHILDE OF BELGIUM
Edouard Vermeulen designs the wedding dress of Queen Mathilde of Belgium.
2013 NATAN 30 YEARS
To celebrate our 30 year anniversary, we organized a fashion show in Paris in the Belgian embassy.
2014 ARSENAL SHOWROOM
Opening of the Arsenal showroom.
2016 AMSTERDAM STORE
Inauguration of the NATAN boutique in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2017 NATAN COLLECTIVE
Launch of NATAN Collective. A project allowing NATAN to support young Belgian talent by giving them the opportunity to present their work enhanced by the knowhow and name of NATAN.
Edouard Vermeulen is awarded the noble title of “baron” for his services rendered to Belgium.
2018 ATELIER II
Inauguration of Atelier II at Place Brugmann in Brussels, Belgium. This atelier is created to honor the craft of tailoring by giving customers insights into the process behind the creation of a NATAN piec
2019 FIRST RUNWAY SHOW IN THE NETHERLANDS
Natan participated for the first time at Amsterdam Fashion Week.
Opening of a store in Paris, Rue des Saints-Pères
2021 OPENING SALON COUTURE KNOKKE
2022 NATAN LE BON MARCHÉ RIVE GAUCHE
The Belgian fashion house Natan and the cosmetic brand Sisley came together in the very heart of the Parisian department store Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, combining their expertise and shared love for beauty and quality in a “Pop-Up” space.
This partnership consolidated the elegance, expertise and femininity held dear by these two family companies, that share values passed down through generations: concern for the environment, expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, art and design.
Avenue Louise 158 Brussels 1050 Belgium
PRESS Avenue des Aubépines 1 Brussels 1180 Belgium
Huidevettersstraat 44 Antwerp 2000 Belgium
PC Hooftstraat 23 Amsterdam 1071 BL The Netherlands
Rue des Saint-Pères 71 Paris 75006 France
Rue de Namur 78 Brussels 1000 Belgium
Henegouwenstraat 91-93 Ghent 9000 Belgium
Kustlaan 150 Knokke 8300 Belgium
Jan Mahieustraat 20-22 Roulers 8800 Belgium
Plankstraat 10 Maastricht 6211 GA Belgium
Les Flemmard, c’est cosy. Ce qui est encore plus cosy, c’est de partager notre bonheur autour de nous.
NOTRE ENGAGEMENT SOCIÉTAL
Parce que la cause nous implique tout particulièrement, nous nous engageons à appliquer une discrimination positive envers les personnes porteuses d’handicap. Cela se concrétise par l’emploi de personnes en situation d’handicap et par le don de Flemmard aux personnes en chaise roulant.
Votre commandes sera prise en charge par une personne en situation d’handicap. Pour les envois, nous travaillons en effet avec un atelier protégé (une entreprise adaptée pour l’emploi de personnes en situation d’handicap). Cela garanti du coeur, de la passion et de la douceur dans chacune des boites.
Nassim est tellement bien Flemmard aux pieds qu’il a eu envie de partager son bonheur avec d’autres : nous offrons une paire de Flemmard à toute personne vivant en chaise roulante.
Si vous avez un handicap physique, prenez contact avec nous Nous serions ravis de vous faire plaisir.
Selon une enquête de Statbel (l’office belge de statistique), en Belgique, seul 24% des personnes handicapées âgées de 15 à 64 ans ont un emploi en Belgique contre 65% pour l’ensemble de la population du même âge. Les rapports de l’Insee montre une situation semblable en France.
Les Flemmard ont de l’énergie à revendre. Si vous avez un projet en faveur de l’handicap, contactez-nous. Nous pourrons voir si l’on peut vous aider : en parler autour de nous, vous aider avec nos bras / notre temps, etc
NOTRE ENGAGEMENT ÉCOLOGIQUE
Flemmard c’est un mode de vie plus écologique. Un engagement évident surtout compte tenu de l’impact environnemental de l’industrie textile version fast fashion.
The Ornament Hemp CoThe Ornament Hemp Co Contact: Emilio De Baudringhien
After reading the book “The Emperor wears no clothes” by hemp advocate Jack Herer, Emilio De Baudringhien got inspired to start a company that would bring this amazing plant and all of its benefits, back to humanity.
Since hemp is a carbon negative crop we strongly believe it can be a key player in fighting global warming… think of it this way: we are growing a plant in 100 days that takes huge amounts of carbon from our atmosphere and stores it safely in the ground, actually increasing the fertility of the soil. After the plant is harvested we can use every single aspect of the plant for a different purpose, leaving no waste. All this with a minimum input of water and nutrients and no use of pesticides and herbicides.
1 acre of hemp takes in 10 times the amount of carbon compared to 1 acre of rainforest.
Emilio doesn’t consider The Ornament Hemp Co. a fashion company since we don’t follow fashion trends or seasons. Instead we see the company as a vehicle to support the hemp movement in all its forms.
Emilio never started this company for money gaining purposes. All of the money that comes in is directly re-invested in creating more products made from hemp to help increase global hemp crop production and help create a world with more durable products made from replenishable crops such as hemp.
At the end of 2017, Emilio set up a crowdfunding campaign to set up his label. Thanks to 110 lovely backers, Emilio got his project funded and was able to take off.
Philippe DebongniePhilippe Debongnie
I am a Belgian illustrator. I paint, draw, print and Photoshop images. I love working with different mediums, tools and shapes. I also love portraits. I find the human figure to be so full of everything, I could draw faces for the rest of my life. The way people think, behave, dress, talk, sing and all they do inspire me a lot and that really makes me want to portray them. Most of the time, Photoshop is the place where my images come together. I draw, paint, doodle, sketch and paste it all together in Photoshop trying to keep a handmade look but also to bring more to it by digitally retouching it. The feeling I want to convey with my images is something like:”great, he drew that, well done, but how did he get that look? How does that work?” Handmade yet slightly disturbing in the end.
I have three sisters, a beautiful wife, two young children and no pets. I find humans much more interesting and enough to look after. I was born in Belgium and I now live in Brussels. Traveled a lot. Held numerous jobs and finally settled on teaching. I teach at Saint-Luc in Brussels. When I do not teach, I draw and paint or I run the blog: jazzanddraw.com.
615, chaussée de Louvain Brussels 1030 Belgium
6, Zone du Grand Pré Amougies 7750 Belgium
Stoffen ArteveldeStoffen Artevelde
Stoffen Artevelde is a family business, founded in 1967. The 240 m2 store is located at 48 Vrijdagmarkt in Ghent.
Our range is very extensive and you can view it by clicking on the photo. Feel free to drop by for more information about our fabrics in Ghent.
We are always ready with advice and are happy to welcome you in our store.
Sundays and Public Holidays: Closed
Monday to Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 9.30 am – 6 pm
Vrijdagmarkt 48 Gent 9000 Belgium
Mia ZiaMia Zia
To understand a woman, you have to read between the lines. To wear Mia Zia, we must live between the lines.”
Mia Zia is revealed to you, colorful, since 1997. The proof, a renowned signature; for almost two decades. Look between the lines but do not pass through the mesh, the range of accessories broaden and details are accentuated. Between decisions and creations, each role is executed to transmit our identity. – A combination of infinite colors unified quality and priceless uniqueness. Small hands of local workshops in Morocco, Turkey, India but also in Nepal shape the journey of silk, cashmere, linen and cotton voile in others. The scarves collections, scarves and socks that have propelled the fame of the label are complemented each season by a range of ready-to-wear women
Between the Lines The mark is similar to all those women with many facets. It is an invitation to escape from his horizon, to discover oneself more, we and elsewhere. Mia Zia is a reflection of this woman sometimes urban, sometimes globetrotter, which thrives and grows, over his experiences.
Mia Zia is certainly you !
Maliestraat 90 Elsene 1050 Belgium
UnicaUnica Contact: Carine Lauwers
Discover the One Dress by Unica: your most individual creation, handmade to your very own measure, your colorful dreams and secret wishes.
When you ask a child to draw a dress, it will come up with a very simple A-form. This is the soul of every dress ever made in the world. And it is the template for every Unica dress. You can add length, width, colors or layers, or even sleeves, it will still be the dress that takes you practically anywhere. The paper pattern that will be the starting point for every new dress was established after careful measuring, drawing and finally fitting on numerous women. From this was distilled the ultimate Unica dress.
It begins with one dress. From here you can start dreaming about lines, colors and materials.
Will it be a slip on dress, or do you want it to follow your curves? Should the neckline plunge or underline your collarbone? Will you glimpse a knee or barely an ankle? Everything is possible.
The black dress you try on serves as a white canvas: you may paint it in monochrome greys or sparkling reds. Striped, chequered of wildly untamed. We can pleat, smock or embroider, use a contrasting stitch or an unexpected incision, everything to turn your dress into a unique creation.
You can play with the fabrics at hand so you can feel whether a coarsely woven Shetland tweed might suit you, rather than a coolwool barley weave or a sturdy cotton gabardine. Or should your dress be light as a feather in a floaty batiste from India, a delicate French voile or a see-through silk jersey?
In order for your Unica dress to be of high quality, it is drawn, cut and sewn by hand.
With an eye for artisanal detail and subtle proportions, each dress will be cut and sewn by hand, skillfully blending beautiful fabrics and intricate techniques.
Quite a refreshing experience in a time when everything can be reproduced in series, in standard sizes and at unjustified prices.
The simplicity of the pattern will highlight the quality of the materials and the delicacy of every line. Every line will accentuate the strength and beauty of your body.
Be part of the art of dressmaking.
Step 1: Your Unique Size
You want your ultimate dress to fit like a glove. Therefore the fit is our first concern.
From the six black dresses hanging in a row, only one comes close to your shape.
That will be your template. Once you have slipped into the dress, every detail will be scrutinized attentively. Every adjustment will be pinned out carefully, until it feels exactly right for you.
Step 2: Your Selected Material
Only natural materials feel comfortable and secure, like a second skin.
You can choose from fabrics that have been selected from all over the world.
Seeing, feeling and draping the fabrics will help you make the right choice.
Each piece of material serves one dress only, so your Unica dress will definitely be unique, exactly how you imagine it.
Step 3: Your Perfect Finishing
When the fit and the fabric fulfill all your wishes, the finishes have to be perfect as well. Whether you chose for an intricate embroidery or a simple contrasting stitch, it will be executed with the greatest dedication. This way your Unica dress will be the proof of devoted craftsmanship, exactly how you want it.
Step 4: Your Selected Material
When all the details have been discussed and agreed upon, you will only need a few days patience before the dress will be finished. In exceptional cases, we ask you to return for an additional fitting session. Your Unica dress comes with a unique label and a lifelong guarantee on adjustments, so that it will forever be exactly as you desire.
Rue de Flandre 118 Brussels 1000 Belgium