Do we dress out of necessity or to showcase our unique characters? In a city brimming with fashion choices, not many people dress “outside-the-box.” Fashion designers have been struggling for many years to inject their own personal flair into Catalan people’s style. These exceptional talents are often ignored, especially when each new season of fashion weeks around the world roll by.
A Brief History of Barcelona’s Fashion Weeks
In the beginning, Barcelona rejoiced with its Pasarela Gaudi, “Gaudi Catwalk.” These were the city’s glorious years, where it competed at a comprehensive level with Madrid’s Cibeles Catwalk. But as the saying goes, “all good things come to an end.” Due to lack of government funding and internal disputes, the little foothold that Barcelona had managed to carve out with its Gaudi Catwalk was dismantled.
Next in line was Barcelona Fashion Week, which inaugurated during 2005, soon after Gaudi’s closure. Lack of funds and poor location meant that this effort was doomed right from the start. Subsequently, after just a few seasons, this event also disappeared
In 2007, 080 Barcelona Fashion was born to act as a platform, offering visibility to independent designers. Their aim is to become a reference point to place Barcelona’s fashion once again on the industry’s map. It is yet to be seen whether this venture will enjoy more success in achieving its goals and surviving through time. What has been accomplished so far is to strengthen some very interesting fashion designers. Although different catwalks have ebbed and flowed over the years, the designers themselves have continued persevering in the face of trouble.
Fashion Duo Cardona Bonache
Victor Cardona Marqués and Israel Frutos Bonache are the design duo behind this prêt-á-porter label. After a stint in Antwerp, Belgium, and various collaborations with I+D projects, they joined forces in 2008. Some of their creative inspirations are based on Balenciaga, Chanel, or Madeleine Vionnet.
Their style is classic, with quiet winks at minimalism and elegance. Their designs are always constructed around a concept which endows structure to their collections. Close attention to details and technical rigor belies their passion for tailoring. They maintain a deep respect for Spanish tradition while mixing just the right amount of surrealist irony.
Demonstrating true potential and sensitivity, the duo won 1st prize during the last 080 editions. Showcasing a collection based around the box and inverted pleats, each piece was lovingly created with 100% natural materials in alluring shades of navy and whites. White, geometric shapes were painted on the model’s faces, making it appear like the girls were wearing masks.
Fashion Designer Estrella Archs
Originally from Barcelona, Estrella graduated with honors from Central Saint Martins in London. Working for the like of Hussein Chayalan in London, Nina Ricci, and Cacharel in Paris or Emilio Pucci and Prada in Italy, the woman has not stopped a minute, and it is no wonder that she has such ample experience under her perfectly designed belt.
She revels in novelty, pure forms, sensuality, poetic style, and surrealist irony. Through her artistic expressions, she aims to exalt the value of a woman’s personality and intimate allure.
Considering fashion’s ultimately dire situation in Barcelona, Estrella has moved on, like so many others before her. She presented her newest collection in Paris and has been recently acquired by Ungaro to act as their new creative advisor. Barcelona has talent in spades, yet there is no room to grow, leaving fashion designers no other option than to abandon the city.
Zazo & Brull Fashion Designers
Xavier Zazo and Clara Brull set up their label during 2000. Their participation has been very diverse, showcasing their work on the different Barcelona catwalks, as well as various fashion fairs around the world. They currently present their collections during 080 and “Rendez-vous Femme” in Paris.
Their creations are characterized by stories that they recreate through each piece of clothing, a way in which to express what they are feeling and thinking, an imaginary world that they stitch together. Each new season is celebrated through a protagonist who may already exist, or they invent. Shaken and moved by the thoughtful work of Joe Sorren and Tim Burton, they grace each collection with names like Berenice, Diary of a Perturbed Mind, The Mutant Girlfriend, or Forgotten Heroines. Blood and broken hearts, romantic leanings with dark nuances are the essences of their creations.
Spring – summer will see an assembly of pieces based on Japanese Samurais’ Bushido, the credo of these warriors. Searching for a spiritual harmony between life and death, the duo has experimented with different volumes, reinterpreting Japanese armor into everyday clothing.
These are just three of the many fashion designers that aim to make a difference and leave their personal fingerprint upon Barcelona. Considering the amount of effort that is dedicated to certain other aspects of the city, it is definitely a negative point that more attention is not paid to these great fashion artists.