By Meghan Morris & Stefanie Müller, Madrid
Satin, hairspray and camera flashes of the five-day Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Madrid are a glamorous front for an integral industry in Spain, one that is slowly emerging from the crisis with mixed economic signals. The “show must go on”, despite the crisis.
Despite these fluctuations, the fashion industry continues to be a major source of employment, with 47,406 workers in the garment sector in January, according to employment data from Seguridad Social (Social Security) of Spain.
But fashion is never just about numbers – Nuria Sardá, brand manager of her father’s company, Andrés Sardá, said the fashion industry helps Spain’s reputation globally.
“La moda es parte importante de la cultura, la industria y la imagen de un país,” she said. [Fashion is an important part of the culture, industry and image of a country.]
Ms. Sardá talked fashion, language and the family business with Planet BPM. Read the interview below:
BPM: You’ve lived and worked in a number of different countries. Do you think that the best way of working within the fashion industry is the same, regardless of cultural differences?
There’s a certain way of working which is common to fashion,Hay una manera de trabajar común en la moda, pero está claro que la idiosincrasia de cada país afecta a la manera en que se hace en cada cultura.
BPM: ¿Is Paris still fashion’s Meca?
It’s really quite a personal thing. For me, Paris remains a different, inspiring and interesting city. Paris’s shows are the most spectacular in the world and the luxuries industry is very much grounded there. For me, the answer is yes. It’s still fashion’s Meca, even though nowadays the world is much more global and information flows much more easily from any point on the planet.
BPM: ¿How much influence do you think Spain has on the fashion industry today?
Spain is a world leader when it comes to popular fashion, with major brands like Mango, Zara and Desigual. The creativity is clearly there, but in many cases it’s lacking potent business partners.
BPM: ¿Do you think the fashion industry has much to offer in terms of improving Spain’s image?
Naturally. Fashion plays an important part in the culture, industry and the image of a country.
BPM: ¿Do you think it is a sector which will see growth in the future?
BPM: Do you think Catalonia particularly interesting within the fashion industry? Is there more creativity there?
Catalonia, because of its geographical circumstances, has been an area which has benefitted from the cultural exchange offered by the mediterranean since ancient times, and perhaps it’s precisely that which has provided us with a multicultural outlook which has enriched creativity. I’m not sure if it’s necessarily more than in other places, but Catalonia can certainly boast great creativity at all levels, from arquitecture and music to painting and design.
BPM: Do you think that fashion shows are going to survive given the increasing prevalence and success of small fashion labels?
Personally, I think that many fashion weeks as we know them are going to disappear, leaving instead truly inspiring and real encounters where creative and interdisciplinary experiences are the norm… or at least that’s what I’d like.
BPM: How important are languages in the industry?
For me, languages are very important, not only for the industry but in order to live in the global world we are living in. The easier it is to understand others and express yourself, the easier it is to reach your objectives, whatever those might be.
BPM: What about multicultural understanding?
I’d say the same. All of this kind of knowledge is enriching and helps us progress.
BPM: What are this seasons most influential trends?
We don’t move with the trends. We try and interpret what society will live and want in each moment.
BPM: Are there any trends “made in Spain”?
I think each country has its small refinements, but in general collections tend to have the same impact in different countries, and trends are now truly global.
BPM: Do you think women are yet to leave their mark on the industry?Cree que la mujer todavía tiene que hacerse su camino en el sector de moda?
I think women will little by little begin to have their impact on all industries, not just fashion. We already have great female icons of fashion which have gone down in history, even though, as in everything, the proportion remains lower with relation to women.
BPM: Why are most of the biggest designers still men?
I think there’s been some very big female designers. It’s just that the proportion is small. It’s usually because they have a lot of other things to occupy themselves with, and, depending on the country, it’s still looked down upon when a women shares her time between a job and her family.
BPM: Is Sardá a family business?
Even though five years ago we sold our company to a Belgian multinational, Van de Velde, we are still a family business in practice. They are fourth generation corsetmakers. Despite the size of the company, they have maintained the spirit of a family business.