080 Barcelona Fashion flies the flag for Catalonian fashion
Times are tough in Catalonia. With the community still paralysed following separatists’ illegal declaration of independence, and their candidate for the presidency Charles Puigdemont hiding in Belgium, the region – which was hit by one of the worst storms ever it has experienced last week – has recently seen the departure of some of the fashion brands which had set up base there, and is facing the daily threat of further exits. Amid this hostile environment, coupled with the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid moving its dates to an earlier point in the season and clashing on the first day, Barcelona geared up to promote and protect its local talent in a new edition of its biannual fashion showcase. A difficult challenge, to which it rose with the elegance and prominence it is known for.
The 21st edition of the fashion week was visited by more than 32,000 people, including buyers, media representatives and the wider public, representing an increase of 5.7% compared with the previous summer edition. Meanwhile, the 080 Barcelona Showroom ended with more than 150 commercial interactions. This season, the womenswear event was held on 30-31 January with a selection of 20 Catalonian brands. It reached its target of recording over 2 million euros in revenue and said international demand was high, with buyers from more than 15 countries.
When it comes to the collections, the jury said backstage the selection of winners had almost been unanimous. Designer Krizia Robustella and Barcelona-based brand Brain & Beast by Angel Vidal took home the National Award of the Generalitat of Catalonia 080 to the Best Collection for their ‘Trendy Flock’ and ‘Eclipse’ collections respectively.
60-year old brand brand Naulover received the 080 Modacc Award for its ‘Seduction’ collection inspired by fables and unicorns. The brand, headed by Carme Noguera and with a flagship store in Barcelona, said the award “recognises the work and effort of the 130 families that work with Naulover.” Beyond Spain, the brand has a presence in several European countries, as well as in China, Dubai, Mexico and Chile. In 2016, the Catalan company increased sales by 10%, with international markets accounting for 25% of its annual numbers.
The 080 National Award for Emerging Design by Desigual was awarded to Jaime Alvarez. The Seville-born young fashion designer, who presented at the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista for the first time, seduced the jury with his Mans Concept Menswear brand. Named ‘Make America Great Again’, the collection drew inspiration from NYC high school uniforms, combining innovative materials with classic tailoring.
Custo Barcelona was also part of the line-up, continuing a longstanding tradition with the city that inspired his brand. Closing the fourth day of the fashion week, the designer presented his new ‘Call me tomorrow’ premium sportswear collection for Spring Summer 2018. Custo Barcelona had showed his Autumn Winter 2018/19 collection at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid just three days before, and is set to stage a catwalk show at New York Fashion Week, where he has had a presence for more than 23 years, on 10 February.
Highlights of the week included Amt., by Adrià Machado, which showed designs inspired by nature and a Scandinavian touch. Loa by Lidia Aguilera introduced a boho-chic collection which could easily seduce the most loyal fans of Chloé, while emerging brand Mietis’s models looked like adventurous women on a safari trip. Pablo Erroz continued his creative interpretation of modern tailoring. Children’s fashion was represented by two completely different, but equally interesting brands: the festive and colourful Boboli and the sobriety of Little Creative Factory, which presented natural dyes on cotton and linen.
The 080 Barcelona Fashion was kicked off with a social network-powered catwalk show by Ze Garcia featuring a host of influencers and bloggers. And the five days of celebration ended with the doors at Sant Pau Recinte Modernista closing until the next edition, which will be held in June, with a heartfelt tribute to couturier Azzedine Alaïa by actress Rossy de Palma.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Catalonia’s future, the 080 Barcelona Fashion ended on a high and managed to position the city as an established industry and send a message of stability to Europe. With Catalan fashion gaining momentum and the industry’s support to local talent, the fashion week seems to be bearing fruits both on and off the catwalk. The strategy is paying off, as long as it continues to prove successful for the industry.
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