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More industry and more fashion in Barcelona

10 February, 2012

Aldo Martins 080 Barcelona Fashion

“A society without fashion doesn’t work, because fashion plays a key role in creating industry, jobs, and even a nation,” proclaimed designer Pierre Cardin to more than 400 people, primarily students and young fashion professionals, who gathered in the Chapel of Saint Agatha in Barcelona. Cardin’s words provided a brilliant culmination to a Barcelona Fashion Week replete with initiatives designed to showcase the importance of both fashion and industry.

The designer discussed his unique conception of fashion, a view he has honed throughout an illustrious career lasting more than half a century and which began at the side of the fashion giant Christian Dior. His speech, delivered at a fashion show displaying more than 200 of his designs, was a grand finale that summarized the highlights of a week in which activities and competitions underscored Barcelona’s supreme creativity and its central role in fashion design and industry.

Two events complemented the ninth 080 Barcelona Fashion event and the sixth The Brandery trade show: ASVOFF, the International Short Film Festival of Fashion and Film – held in Paris and other cities including New York, Tokyo, Milan and London – was a new addition to the week’s lineup, while the week welcomed back Modafad, a well-established competition for launching promising talent, whose title, “Apocalypse,” served as a foreboding sign of the uncertain future of the upcoming 33rd edition of the competition.

The week’s events drew outstanding participation, with thirty thousand visitors attending The Brandery, twelve thousand people heading to 080 Barcelona Fashion and more than 450 short films participating in ASVOFF. These figures have led both young designers and more established entrepreneurs to speak favorably of the efforts made by the industry’s marketing professionals to highlight the diverse faces of the fashion world.

Setting ourselves apart through excellence

Alexis Reyna, who designed Hot Shade, 080’s winning collection, noted that he has seen “strong growth in this fashion show” over the three years he has participated in it. “Barcelona must fight to carve out its own unique identity and space within the fashion world, playing a role comparable to Cannes or Sundance in the world of film,” he said.

Miquel Rodríguez, the Director of the Government of Catalonia’s Consortium of Commerce, Craft and Fashion, complemented Reyna’s view, arguing that “an initiative like this must take small steps in order to consolidate its position of strength.” According to Rodríguez, it is necessary “to continue to strive for excellence in the 080 Barcelona Fashion product. We need to attract leading designers and labels and create a unique personality which sets apart each of the initiatives that comprise 080 Barcelona Fashion, Catalonia’s launch pad for promoting fashion.”

These initiatives include continuing to set aside space for the Catalan fashion industry. Messcalino is one of the textile sector brand’s that this year joined the new event 080 360°, where design and industry demonstrate their strength as elements which set Catalan fashion apart.

Agnès Ros, Messcalino’s co-founder, says that participating in 080 “is a good challenge for companies like ours which should be continued in the future.” The Igualada-based company, founded in 1988, exports its products to Europe, Japan and the United States, and believes it is necessary to continue to work together, as with this year, on future editions of 080. In July, both Messcalino and another new exhibitor, Aldomartins, will again participate in the event. Both Martí Bisbal – part of the second generation of his family to run Aldomartins – and Ros stated that their first experiences at the event were excellent.

The figures

“Our label has been around for more than 35 years, and 15 years ago we started seeking out new markets. We have been active in the United States for 3 seasons, and more than 80% of our products are purchased by international clients. It’s a good thing to also promote our brand here at home, and we are happy to be able to do so on this catwalk,” said Bisbal. Other leading brands from the industry, including Mango and Desigual, also participated in 080. The event owes its success to Catalonia’s strong textile industry, which numbers more than 1,700 businesses and 100,000 professionals. Textile distribution represents 4.6% of Catalonia’s industrial GDP.

The industry’s strength also played a contributing role in The Brandery, which has reached its sixth edition and continues to make progress as an industry leader in the southern Mediterranean. The trade show kicked off with Andrés Sardà’s 50th anniversary celebration and featured the company’s Goldie bath collection. More than 135 brands exhibited at the fair, 30% of which were foreign companies, primarily from France, Italy, Portugal and the United Kingdom. As in previous years, in addition to being a trade fair, The Brandery strives to be – in the words of Custo’s Custo Dalmau – an experience for “retailers, distributors and designers.” The event, a hub for fashion trends and experiences, is accessible not only to fashion professionals but to the general public in order to bring together all the stakeholders who contribute to the industry’s strength. Preparation for the next edition of the trade show is already under way.

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