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Creatives in Practice: Mateo Velásquez

"Velásquez, as a brand, is in a perpetual journey of reclaiming and defending one's space."

Returning for another season of 080 Barcelona Fashion, PAUSE brings you yet another ‘Creatives in Practice’ to feast your eyes upon, with Mateo Velasquez being the latest designer to receive an in-depth look. Being lucky enough to take up some of Mateo’s valuable time in the midst of 080 Barcelona Fashion, PAUSE chopped it up with the Central Saint Martins graduate to discuss everything from leading philosophies, favoured fabrics, and design difficulties to the appeal of Barcelona’s fashion scene.

Check it all out below:

INTERVIEWER: Johnson Gold

What was the core inspiration for this collection? 

This collection is focused around and takes inspiration from Marmato, a small miner town of Colombia where I grew up. It’s a walk through their complex history and their resilience and fight against neo-colonialism; it’s also a celebration of a town of a huge multicultural composition and their people.

What message did you want to share through your latest collection? 

Velásquez, as a brand, is in a perpetual journey of reclaiming and defending one’s space. I wanted to use the platform that I was given to share Marmato’s and its inhabitants’ stories. There were many messages we wanted to put out there, from the post-colonial reparations that have never been made on looted objects in our lands to our standing in solidarity with oppressed and marginalised communities. This collection uses visual and cultural touchstones from my hometown to celebrate working-class culture through design, but also to challenge imperialistic systems and defy cultural stereotypes. Our exploration of the contemporary wardrobe and the way we challenge societal archetypes follows and leads the upcoming generations, ones that views the world differently, outside of binaristic views of gender and clothing. We believe this influence will shape the future of fashion.

PHOTO CREDIT: Velásquez

You remixed different fabrics together here. Tell us about some of the choice of fabrics for this collection.

When working with upcycling materials and methodologies, we are always guided by those materials that we can find in abundance and that can be easily reproduced, such as denim in different shades, leather, classic shirtings…

This season, our moodboards featured the dusty, pale, cracked but vibrant buildings from Marmato, which has led us to an exploration of powdery colors like lilac, salmon, mixed with stronger colours like lime and orange. We wanted to infuse garments that are traditionally associated with menswear with feminine touches of lace and organza, and to the more feminine silhouettes we added subtle touches of men’s tailoring.

What was the most difficult piece to design during the process and why?

There was a lot of trial and error in this collection, a lot of experimentation that could have gone wrong… but these ended up working with the whole aesthetic of this season, things such as the covering full-on garments in clay or foil. We also left our most stand-out piece for the last minute and were sewing the opening look for our performance one day before the show! Not very thought through, but it worked out somehow.

Describe your collection in one word.

Resilient.

Why showcase your collection at 080 Barcelona Fashion Week this season?

A year and a half ago, we moved the brand from London to Barcelona. Due to Brexit, doing business in Europe from the UK had become quite complicated.

The support for emerging brands in Spain led me to make the decision to continue from here. Last season, we introduced a capsule collection with an exhibition within the 080, from which we could see the reach that this event has, and that’s why we decided to showcase on the runway this season.

PHOTO CREDIT: 080 Barcelona Fashion

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