On April 11, while at IFEMA the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid concluded, in the Paseo del Prado the municipal police cut off traffic for a few minutes so that a battalion of models traveled the distance between CaixaForum and the gate from the Botanical Garden. They did it with designs by ten Spanish firms, with live music, waving banners and under the threat of the rain, which stopped only a few minutes before.
These days, inclement weather is not the only reason to cross your fingers in Spanish fashion. This is recognized by Pepa Bueno, director of the Association of Fashion Creators of Spain (ACME) and promoter of Madrid Es Moda, the program of events that opened on Sunday with the open-air parade and concludes this Thursday. “The economic situation in the sector is very complicated,” he explains. “Most of the firms make garments for special occasions, and due to the pandemic there are no celebrations of any kind. The drop in sales has been very pronounced ”.
Unlike MBFWMadrid, which presents news for the press and distributors in advance, Madrid Es Moda deals with a more advanced phase in the life cycle of a collection: its sale to the public. For this reason, this spring’s edition has been moved almost entirely to shops, workshops and spaces in the city. Reliquiae has presented its artisan work at MediaLab Prado. Roberto Verino and Juana Martín have photographed their campaign in the street and Carlota Barrera has released a fashion film with live models.
Manuel García, founder of García Madrid, presented his spring collection in his store through guided tours by himself. Its garments for men adopt lightweight fabrics – cotton, seersucker, linen— in intermediate tones that seek more calm than spectacle. “Madrid Es Moda was born in our ACME meetings with the idea of moving away from the image of an ivory tower or elitism that parades sometimes entail,” he explains. “Our goal is to do something more organic, fluid and human.”
Pepa Bueno agrees with him. “The project arose from a reflection among the designers,” he points out. “We realized that the IFEMA fashion shows did not have an impact on the city and sometimes they did not reach the final consumer.” In its first editions, since 2015, the platform focused on graphic design, communication or window dressing. In September 2020, however, the greater involvement – and budgetary contribution – of the capital city council has allowed the programming to be expanded.
“For a designer it is important to have options beyond a show,” explains Juanjo Oliva. “There was a time when there was no alternative to the big fashion weeks, and initiatives like this make it possible to better adjust the size, dimensions and artistic level.” On Tuesday, the Madrid designer held an event at the Loreto Aycuens florist. He presented 15 models, both ready to wear as nuptials, in a hymn to the delicacy and clarity of ideas to which he has been faithful for two decades. After closing his store last fall – “it was not the best way to start the course,” he says – his firm is being resized. “For now, my way of working is closer to the workshop,” he points out. “It is something we do not want to stop doing. Furthermore, it is the most sustainable ”. Another of the incentives of Madrid Es Moda, the possibility of selling the collections in the showroom installed in MediaLab Prado and in the store It is Fascinating, it is allowing you to explore other forms of business.
The sale online It is one of the strengths of Duarte Madrid, the men’s fashion firm that opened its workshop last Wednesday to present its fall collection as the new normal dictates: on the street. “Any event that helps our message reach the public is essential,” says Carlos Duarte, its founder. “Making the public feel part of creativity, of the magic that surrounds fashion, is an invitation to buy quality over quantity.”
Precisely in this dilemma makes sense an initiative that, for once, is not necessarily seen on international catwalks, but in the reality of the Spanish textile sector: SMEs with small teams, who work to measure or in small productions. What seemed a disadvantage a few years ago compared to the international luxury totems today provides credentials when it comes to embracing the new order of the industry: sustainability, craftsmanship, proximity, longevity and slow consumption. “Going to brands with small productions is not silly,” explains Pepa Bueno. “They work in close proximity, they make collections and short runs. The price may be somewhat higher, but it is due to the economy of scale. Spanish fashion pays salaries, workshops and Social Security. It is clear that we are not going to convince everyone, but it is a speech that makes sense ”.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.