What's going on for you at the moment?
Draping, cutting, sewing, casting, fitting, editing... Lots to do, and not so much social life lately, haha!
At first I wasn't sure how to react to your collection. I didn't know if I should find it incredibly violent or interpret it as an ode to love. What led you to make such a collection? How did you go about creating a balance between life, death, love and eroticism?
I love the idea that you could see both sides of this work. For me, it's all about finding the perfect balance between the elements you mentioned, in order to create a type of beauty that is both tough and romantic. Something rough and vulnerable at the same time, but still seductive.
Why did you choose to work on flamenco — and dance in general? Does it have a special meaning for you?
I am Spanish and, like it or not, we grow up with our origins in our blood. But I fell in love with Flamenco as a child, because my mother used to do it every Saturday morning at home.
I think it is one of the most beautiful and spiritual Spanish traditions. It can be extremely romantic, a pure expression of love and happiness, as well as the darkest and most miserable allegory of death. Flamenco says it all very powerfully, with elegance and passion. How can you not feel captivated? For me, Flamenco is a complete art form.
Are there other cultural references in your work?
I draw my inspiration from everywhere. From cinema to sculpture, from Surrealism to Dadaism to the different eras of fashion. I also like to study people's gestures. And of course, I find it in the world of dance, from Russian ballets to Japanese butō to folk dances.
What is the message of your latest collection?
That you don't have to shout to be heard. But I'm also very curious about what emotions people feel when they see my work, rather than what I wanted to convey. That's much more important, isn't it?
How has your personality and cultural background influenced your work? I know that your family has a huge place in your life, how does that translate into your collections?
In Spain, culture and tradition are deeply rooted in everyday life. I grew up with it and it is reflected, consciously and unconsciously, in what I create, whether it's in a seemingly insignificant detail or in a more conceptual element. I also draw inspiration from my grandparents' wardrobes and our last Christmas dinner together was very much like The House of Bernarda Alba. We were all in black! That's probably why I love black so much!
What did you want to do as a child?
Ah, I could really write a trilogy to answer that question! My very first passion was the sea. I was literally obsessed with Captain Cousteau and, with my best friend, I wanted to open a kind of "oasis" for dolphins. Then I wanted to be a TV news anchor, then an actor, a singer, a dancer, and, believe it or not, I even thought about becoming a doctor. Then fashion came into my life, another kind of show, it seems, and maybe one day I will finally get on stage.
Was it easy for you to get to where you are today?
Not at all. I come from a modest family and from a very small town of less than a thousand inhabitants, in the North of Spain. So I had to work hard and fight to get here, and this is just the beginning. I have the will to go very far. The only limit is the sky, right?
What is your wildest dream?
I have dreams, but the most important one for me is to be healthy and happy, surrounded by friends, family and my better half. If I can do what I love and make a living at it while creating beautiful and meaningful things, then that would be the dream. I would also love to expand my horizons. Maybe directing a play, making a film, collaborating with different artists, making costumes for the Paris Opera... I would like to follow in the footsteps of Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Most artists have a muse. Is this the case for you?
I don't have a muse as such. And many of the people I admire are already dead. But, yes, I do think of some people when I create, for example singers like Tamino or Caroline Polachek.
You are young compared to most people working in fashion. how do you feel about that? what do you think about other people your age working in the fashion industry? do you think they will initiate a change?
Many of us are trying to challenge the system in our own way. We, the young creatives, want a fairer and more ethical industry. It's our responsibility as newbies to try to initiate change in that direction.
Do you think fashion is really moving towards a more sustainable industry or is it just marketing?
There is a lot of marketing, a lot of brands use it to improve their image. But the reality is sometimes different. There is greenwashing and I would like journalists to investigate this more.
At AO, we try to be as responsible as possible. We use the best quality fabric scraps from well-known fashion houses and we only produce ten pieces of each model. We do not believe in the virtue of stocks and we are fiercely opposed to overproduction. But we don't really communicate on all the efforts we have made since the beginning. Why should we? It should be the norm.
What would you like to say to the young people reading this interview?
If you are passionate and have a clear vision of the kind of person you want to be, go for it. Don't let anyone tell you that you won't make it because of your social background or the color of your skin. Work hard.
Don't give up. Have fun. Don't compare yourself to others. Trust yourself and listen to what you feel in your gut. Never give up, even in the hardest of times. Honestly, these are things I tell myself every day. Yet I'm not a kid anymore, hahaha!