Catalonia, and specifically Barcelona, has pioneered the Spanish textile industry for centuries. Although somewhat overshadowed by the likes of Paris, London and New York, Barcelona 080 Fashion Week is just as much a catwalk as it is a celebration of Catalan history and culture.
The event is located in the brand new Disseny Hub, a merger between a museum and a laboratory directed at promoting the understanding and proper use of the design world. The building itself is a work of art and features numerous exhibitions including a collection of dresses by Jeanne Lanvin, showcasing the pieces that she produced whilst living in the city.
Barcelona 080 is unpretentious. Rather than paying Kanye West to make an appearance, the money is invested in a prize sum for the best collection. It is fair to say that the four-day event celebrates fashion rather than famous faces. The winner of this year’s best collection was Miriam Ponsa, an extremely talented designer who has been in the industry for the past 15 years.
Her collection explored the intimate relationship between people and the environment and featured large organic shapes worked from different materials and textures. The show combined ecological materials perfectly with modern fashion and featured many woolen pieces for both men and women. She employed an array of different techniques including the knotting, basketry and weaving of fabrics – these techniques are thought to represent a bond with Spanish tradition. Black, grey and green featured prominently – once again providing a strong link with nature with the black being reminiscent of archaic times.
We also got the opportunity to view collections by Alexis Reyna and Zazo&Brull. The Alexis Reyna runway had a series of strange, yeti-like pieces with androgynous looking models and a variety of different fabrics and colours. Although the collection itself wasn’t to my taste, it was very creative and was clear that Reyna was not afraid to experiment with different techniques and materials.
The Zazo&Brull catwalk was presented by creative duo Xavier Zazo and Claro Brull both avant-garde designers who began their careers in 2000. The show opened with dim lighting and loud music; the models were then illuminated one by one as they stepped out onto the catwalk. The women’s line ranged from semi-formal traditional pieces such as ruffle shirts and two-piece suits to vibrant body con fitted dresses and sheer panels. This was our favourite show in terms of atmosphere and presentation; it was meticulously organized, well executed and had the ‘cool’ factor that you look for at fashion week.
The event was extremely impressive and meticulously organized. With sponsorship from Mac make-up, Heineken and Lexus, no expense was spared and the money was well invested. The clothing was also a pleasant surprise; there was no shock-factor that many brands use nowadays in order to gain some free publicity from the press. Instead, the clothing was well designed and current whilst often reverting back to its Catalan roots and culture. The clothing stays very true to tradition and is stylish, unique and chic. The event has doubled in size since last year and it will certainly continue to grow and perhaps become a globally renowned Fashion Week.