080 Barcelona Fashion: positive winter edition marked by ‘less is more’
Presented as an opportunity for international exposure, marked by the new addition of international designers and a rethink of concepts with the aim of delivering higher quality content, the Catalonian fashion week ended on a high on 7 February. Slightly shorter than in previous years, the 23rd edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion, featured a total of 27 catwalk shows at the St Pau Recinte Modernista and welcomed more than 30,000 guests.
“My messages are received by a greater number of people if I hold catwalk shows outside the official calendar,” Turkish designer Umit Benan told Fashionnetwork.com backstage before his event in Barcelona. After presenting on the big catwalks of Milan and Paris, the menswear fashion designer has found the right kind of format for him, which adapts to his design and production requirements, following a two-year hiatus. His new model also allows him to create synergies with up-and-coming fashion hubs which are trying to gain a foothold in the fashion world, such as Barcelona.
For this, the new strategy led by Marta Coca, in charge of 080 Barcelona Fashion and head of the fashion department of the Consorcio de Comercio Artesanía y Moda de Catalyuna (CCAM), has focused on growing the platform’s international appeal, which has helped it attract more media coverage and a higher profile, highlighting in particular the powerful menswear line-up. From tailored suits created in response to racism by Umit Benan to wool, silk and cashmere pieces with maritime influences by Peruvian-born, China-based designer Esau Yori. Also remarkable were the combinations of colours, patterns and geometries by South African unisex brand Chulaap, whose designer Chu Suwannapha highlighted the “beauty of the diversity and freedom of expression” of the Barcelona fashion event.
LOCAL DESIGNERS WELCOME INTERNATIONAL NAMES
“080 needed a change, a boost, an evolution,” acknowledged Pablo Erroz, the Mallorcan designer who has become a staple at the event after taking part in eigh editions. His latest show presented a sportswear inspired collection titled ‘Up to you’. “The stronger the event, the better for its designers. I thought it was very positive to bring international designers to promote the city of Barcelona, reclaiming the original spirit of the catwalk,” he said, adding that the changes have also had a positive impact in terms of media coverage.
Young designer Jaime Alvarez, who this season was awarded the best emerging designer for the third consecutive time for his ‘Road to Goa’ collection, agreed with Erroz. “080 Barcelona Fashion has improved significantly. This has been particularly clear with the participation of renowned international designers,” he said. And he described how the platform’s support has been fundamental for the development of his brand, especially through the 15,000 euro award. “The personal and financial support has allowed us to work with certain fabrics, boost production, have a PR agency which supports us, and sell in multi-brand stores,” the Spanish designer said.
He wasn’t the only one whose work received special recognition this season. ‘The Makers’, the first women’s collection designed by Cristina Fernandez for Little Creative Factory was awarded the 080 National Award for the best collection of the event thanks to her timeless designs made in cotton, tweed, muslin and canvas. Meanwhile, veteran designer Lebor Gabala, who celebrated her tenth show at 080 Barcelona Fashion, received a Modacc award for international brands for her ‘Casual Friday’ collection - a fusion between sportswear and urban style which combined innovative materials with silk and cashmere.
CATALONIA HAS A PLAN
On a commercial level, the 080 Fashion Showroom, sponsored by the Government of Catalonia together with Catalonian fashion platform Modacc, ended its seventh edition with a turnover of 2 million euros. This was similar to that of previous editions, and it was in line with Marta Coca’s plans, outlined to FashionNetwork.com in the days before the event. “Our goal at this moment is not increase the return on investment, but to apply a more quality-led strategy,” she said. The number of commercial interactions between exhibiting brands and buyers rose to 300, but there were only 12 contracts signed. Coca this could increase post showroom over the next few weeks. 70% of exhibiting companies, focused on high-end women’s fashion, said they were “very satisfied” with the number of contracts signed and 80% said they were interested in returning next season. Finally, buyers from the US, Hong Kong, Russia, the UK and Italy took the total number of international buyers at the event to about 30.
Today, fashion accounts for 7.5% of Catalonia’s GDP, and as indicated by Pep Genero, president of Cluster Modacc and creative director of clothing brand Teoh & Lea, the fashion sector in Catalonia has seen exports increase by almost 30% to 5 billion euros in the past five years. The sector’s financial strength has prompted the local government to sign a collaboration agreement with Modacc with the aim of promoting Catalan fashion abroad. Àngels Chacón, business councilor of the Generalitat, announced on 5 February plans to accelerate the sector’s growth based on internationalisation, commercialisation and sustainability. Starting from 2020, the ambitious plan will try to consolidate and strengthen the region’s exports.
080 Barcelona will return for its summer edition to the St Pau Recinte Modernista on 25 June until 28 June after a successful edition which responded well to expectations by adopting a change of direction. The new plan puts quality, internationalisation and local industry at the centre of the strategy, moving “slowly but surely” towards ensuring positive results in the medium and long term to take Barcelona to the global fashion stage.
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