080 Barcelona Fashion caters perfectly to Catalan creativity
A far cry from the glamorous excesses of other Fashion Weeks, 080 Barcelona Fashion closed its 22nd edition with a practical demonstration of consumer-targeted fashion, as well as a series of events and awards aiming to support the commercial development of brands and designers. This vision of fashion was sustainable, youthful and accessible, and sought to reduce the distance between the runway and the final consumer – who is, after all, responsible for the industry's continued success and survival.
Spanish fashion has always suffered the consequences of its failure to develop an industry model capable of reconciling manufacture and design. Designers – especially young up-and-comers – cannot rely on the production capacity of a well developed industry, a fact which prevents them from growing and consolidating their careers. Manufacturers, on the other hand, complain of a lack of skilled designers, preventing them from achieving the recognition they deserve for their skill and quality materials. It's a vicious circle which is difficult to resolve and is often the first challenge that any fashion initiative in the country has to deal with.
It's also one of the main focuses of 080 Barcelona Fashion, which has always been characterised by its support of new talent and local brands. And so at the event's latest summer edition, hosted at the Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau from June 25th to 29th, judges awarded the Desigual-sponsored National Prize for Emerging Design to Sevillan designer Jaime Álvarez's brand Mans Concept & Menswear for the second time. Boasting a 15,000 euro prize fund, the award hopes to give a boost to the consolidation of the winning brand's business strategy and also grants a direct pass onto next season's runway. Backstage, the jury highlighted the quality of the winning collection, which was inspired by 90s Berlin. "It's very probable that winning the prize at the last edition played a fundamental role in helping Mans Concept & Menswear achieve this level of quality in their show this time around," they explained. A general feeling of satisfaction – the kind that comes from a job well done – emanated from representatives of both the brand and the platform that had helped it grow.
At the other end of the scale, with over 35 years of experience, Antonio Miro's cotton, poplin and linen designs, inspired by Valencian artist Joaquin Sorolla's seascapes, won the prize for Best Collection. Led by Creative Director Albert Villagrasa, it was the second time that the Barcelona-based fashion label picked up the award, which it also received at 080 Barcelona Fashion's 18th edition, yet another example of how the event accompanies and supports its participants throughout their development. Elsewhere, swimwear label Red Point won the 080 Modacc Award for its "Belleza natural" (natural beauty) collection. The family-run brand founded in 1982 had decided to follow one of the more inclusive current runway trends, sending out "real" models of all shapes and sizes, an initiative that rebellious label Brain&Beast has already been putting into practice for some time.
This support for young talent was also reflected in the shows put on by Barcelona-based fashion schools, the IED Escola Superior de Disseny and the Escola Superior de Disseny de Moda de LCI Barcelona, on the last day of 080 Barcelona Fashion. The best student projects were exhibited at the event's Open Area and the schools also hosted pop-ups in the Market Place, exhibiting and selling pieces made by the students. Back on the runway, Sweet Matitos treated visitors to its third show and celebrated having passed the one million euro mark in turnover in its first year. Elsewhere, Emerging brands Killing Weekend and Z1 made their catwalk debut, offering up urban apparel with a message. The young Xevi Fernández also impressed attendees with a talent that could almost be considered beyond his years, while Adrià Machado's brand Amt. took inspiration from the Azores and sent out beautifully crafted accessories made in 100% recycled leather.
In terms of established brands, Manuel Bolaño returned to the Catalan event after a break from the runway, proposing artisanal pieces that fused a variety of different sewing techniques. Custo Barcelona was left to round off the edition with a see-now-buy-now show presenting a sparkling collection for fall/winter 2018-2019 which was built around asymmetric silhouettes and entitled "Yes, this is me". The brand's designer Custo Dalmau will be taking his creations for spring/summer 2019 to the MBFW Madrid runway on Monday July 9th.
The vanguard has always been present in Barcelona and it's the same for the city's runways, a fact more than evident in the event's focus on sustainability, the diversity of its models and the presence of former Vogue editor André Leon Talley, who presented the documentary about his career, "The Gospel According to André". "I believe in an evolution towards diversity of all kinds. There need to be transgender and plus-size models. Culture evolves and fashion is no exception," he stated after the screening. And he didn't hesitate to throw out a challenge, encouraged by Spanish actress Rossy de Palma: "We need to launch Vogue Africa," he said, highlighting the continent's fashion potential as Eugenia de la Torriente, Vogue Spain's current editor-in-chief, listened attentively.
Aware of the importance of business connections, 080 Barcelona Fashion also hosted the sixth edition of its Texmeeting sessions, organised by the Confederación de la Industria Textil (Texfor). Its 150 professional attendees were among the 30,925 people that visited this edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion, a slight dip from the winter edition which, nonetheless, represents a 1% increase compared to last year. The sixth edition of 080 Barcelona Showroom also concluded after more than 300 commercial interactions, both national and international – 7% more than expected – amounting to around 2 millions euros in turnover, according to the Clúster Catalán de la Moda. Positive results which, although limited by the local and commercial nature of the event, mean that Barcelona can hold its head high among the great fashion capitals. Why go chasing after stratospheric success when a discrete job well done is just as effective?
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