Barcelona is a city shaped by contrasts – it brings together the ocean and towering mountains, playful buildings by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and the meticulously modernist Pavillon by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. And equally do the fashion designers of Spain’s second biggest city, which delve into black as much as into colour, into traditional tailoring as much as into modern takes on trompe l’oeil. Which the newest edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, drawing to a close just last Friday, again proved with its varied offering of a set of designers looking to put the spirit of Catalonia into clothes.
And as people’s perceptions of their surroundings are by nature quite an individual practice, so is the process of channelling these impressions into creativity. Visiting 080 Barcelona last week, we picked our four favourite designers and brands letting the outer world and their inner views collide.
That menswear – just like womenswear – might just be a self-inflicted concept has been dawning on the fashion industry more and more over recent seasons. And this much discussed “new masculinity” is exactly what Jaime Álvarez and his label are tapping into. After studying at IED in Madrid, Jaime set up MAN’S out of his final thesis at the end of his studies in 2017 – looking to dress men not afraid of standing out. This season, New York school uniforms informed Jaime’s collection, a form of communal dressing that often subtracts all individual expression from their wearers – subverted by Jaime’s exploration of versions of volumes, cuts, and materials.
Playing with the idea of trompe l’oeil, Krizia Robustella created a series of sports- and workwear inspired garments that could be right out of any 90s cartoon episode – complete with bright colours and bold black lines, that came with a collaboration with illustrator Susana López. Accompanied by a live-stream-mimicking video, her offering was a “satirical take on current youth”, as she called it, an ironic comment on our current obsession with the notion of the throwback, and its manifestation especially through social media. Her clothes are some kind of perfect mirroring of the screenshot – creating a reproduction of an image, a visual illusion of depth through colours and cut.
Ángel Vilda, founder of Brain & Beast, taps right into fashion’s current obsession with appropriating logos and brand names: For his newest collection, he looked to iconic typefaces of brands such as Canon or The North Face and played around with their symbols and symbolism. Driven by an enthusiasm for games and riddles, Vilda’s aesthetic is highly informed by juxtaposing not only letters, but also patterns and colours, making his designs a visually clashing extension of the pop-cultural melting pot all around us.
Merging the harshness that surrounds brutalist architecture with fluffy sweaters and overalls, Javier Giron of Jnorig has created a collection that bounces between sharp lines and softened execution. Reflecting his interest in modern architecture, dominated by cutting-edge design and a predominantly sober colour-palette, and contemporary art – fields that have flooded Barcelona for some time now with boundary-pushing buildings and captivating exhibitions popping up all over the city. The Moschino- and Agi & Sam-trained designer also looked to the territories of other countries – namely the northwest of Canada and the Arabian Desert. So when visiting these places and spaces, Jnorig might just have an idea of what to wear.