Get To Know: Fabienne, the DJ, presenter, and brand strategist
Ahead of her New York set, we speak to the Soho Works London member about her multi-hyphenate career
Thursday 14 April 2022 By Jess Aureli
Fabienne is a DJ, presenter and brand strategist with a background in fashion. After a chance meeting in a Hackney bar, she spent three years in the music industry, working as a DJ for brands including Stella McCartney, Yves Saint Laurent, and Farfetch. Today, she juggles her ongoing music career with running her new brand marketing and creative strategy agency, Papillon Communications – plus a whole lot else besides.
We sat down with Fabienne to talk about musical inspiration, what she’s learnt about freelancing, and her long-awaited project that’s just around the corner.
You are a presenter, DJ and brand strategist; which one came first?
‘Music really is my first love. My mum was obsessed with Marvin Gaye and the Beatles, and my dad was into Motown so we had music on around the house all the time. When I started playing the piano, I began to understand music more, but it was walking past my brother’s room at 12 years old and hearing Dr. Dre’s 2001 album that I was like, “Ohhh, I need more of this in my life”.
‘I made mixtapes at uni, which got scratched the hell out of from friends. And then after uni, I started raving in east London and that’s when the DJing came into play. After being spotted by Stella McCartney’s music director in a dive bar in Hackney, I ended up travelling around Europe with them, and it all kicked off from there.’
How do you juggle having many outlets and differing projects?
‘Organisation. Being thrown in the deep end in the corporate world as my first job definitely helped me craft my organisational skills. For me, having a few plates spinning keeps life varied and, in turn, the different areas inspire each other. I try to create a weekly timetable so that every part gets equal time. Some weeks the branding may have more time than the music, especially when we’re on photoshoots for two or three days – and that’s OK; in the end it balances out.’
What projects do you have coming up?
‘I’ve just launched my brand marketing and creative strategy agency, Papillon Communications. [It’s] an amalgamation of 10 years as a freelance creative strategist finally coming together and we’re already working on some exciting sustainable fashion projects.
‘Music-wise, I’ll be DJing at Soho House New York (on Friday 3 June – one for the diary), then festival season is coming up, so catch me spinning with my Booty Bass crew at Boomtown and Glastonbury – to name a few. And I can’t wait to share a long-awaited music podcast coming soon, which features some very special guests (follow @_fabiennesworld on Instagram for more on that).’
As a freelancer, what’s the best advice you’ve been given?
‘The positives definitely outweigh the negatives (of stability, for example). As a freelancer, you just have to believe in yourself and you will thrive. Know your worth and don’t settle for less – a great lesson in life and business. Also, learn to create boundaries. As my career breaks the norms of normal working hours, I’ve had to make sure I give clients boundaries so that I can make time for everything, including personal time.’
What tips and tricks have you learnt along the way?
‘Authenticity is everything. Be authentic in what you do and everything you do will have longevity. Another big lesson I’ve learnt is not to rush things: good things take time and if it’s meant to be, you will get there. Trust the process.’