Tavia Bonetti is a Vancouver-born, LA-based creative who independently founded and launched Friends With Animals (FWA) back in 2019. The brand focuses on embodying nature through its designs, while encouraging its wearers to be compassionate towards animals. Bonetti’s motivation, passion and vision for FWA all resulted in nine very successful clothing collections since its launch.
Bonetti’s brand experiments with unique designs, while capturing the ability to create effortless looking attire that is still chic and fashion-forward. FWA is responsible for seeking out new directions in fashion, and seems to be ahead of the trends through its early wear of balaclavas, long skirts and arm warmers, as seen in previous collections.
Perhaps what makes FWA stand out as a brand is Bonetti does not shy away from exploring a single style approach, but rather embraces the idea she can go in any direction with her designs. FWA has released anything from casual sweatsuits, to stylish boxers, to balaclavas, to knit rugs.
The Friends With Animals mission statement is to: “embody nature based designs with an inclusive, human and emotional ethos” and to “empower people while encouraging compassion to animals.” FWA does just that, by encapsulating nature-themed elements through the brand’s peaceful, easy-going designs. And by exploring a wide range of styles, Bonetti can reach a broader audience, while encouraging her customers to feel good about what they are wearing, while learning how to be better to animals and our existing world.
CULTED caught up with Bonetti to discuss all-things Friends With Animals, the brand’s new look book and clothing line both dropping in early February.
Did you face any issues building your brand?
So, so many. Having a brand isn’t what it looks like and I’m only just beginning! There are so many working elements even into making a simple tee shirt. Finding good materials and good people to manufacture everything took a while to build.
What is your main source of inspiration for FWA’s designs?
Animals. And the things I love to do which happen to be anything that brings me into the outdoors.
In your opinion, what has been FWA’s biggest highlight since its launch?
Hard to pinpoint on one highlight, but I’d say the happiness the last collection “DEER FWA” brought me. Seeing my friends getting so much wear out of the custom oversized sweat suits makes me so happy because when designing the sweatpants I knew the exact shape I wanted for myself that I found was lacking in sweatpants. When the people I look up-to appreciated that as well it meant so much to me.
What does FWA’s design and creative process look like?
The process almost always is sparked by a location, adventure or a high thought haha. It’s the experiences I have that bring out my best ideas and future collections. From there, it’s just me and my iPad in my home/office piecing it all together.
What has been your favourite collection and/or piece so far?
My favourite piece hmmm… I would have to say it’s this new collection’s zip up hoodie coming out February 10th. Since I made it it hasn’t left my body.
Can you tell us a little bit about your next drop and look book?
So this next collection is extremely dear to my heart, as it was shot just north of Whistler, Canada, in the cold snow. It was like everything aligned for this shoot day – I swear to god. The weather cleared just enough so there was this low fog and then the blue sky peeking out over the exposing mountain tops. This collection is my own rip of an après snowboard day. That’s all I’ll say for now! Lookbook comes out on February 8, 2022, so stay tuned
Is there any advice you’d like to share with upcoming designers?
What I’d say is trust yourself and your designs. Be daring in what you put out. And if people tell you it’s not possible, still find a way to make what you envision come to life and shine through.
The Friends With Animals look book premieres on February 8, 2022 followed by the collection release on February 10, 2022. Stay tuned by following the brand’s Instagram and website.