The Spanish population in NYC arrived many years ago and you can find some of this Spanish culture in the 14th street such as spanish restaurants, The Spanish House, Galicia House or a social center.
However, Chelsea nowadays is a high-level neighborhood turned into a place full of art and fashion. The spanish people that live in NYC are students, workers and artists... a spanish writer Elvira Lindo explains really well this situation in a film called La vida inesperada. This is about a group of spanish living in the other side of the ocean far from Spain seeking the "american dream" and the price you have to pay to get it.
Nueva York is the capital of the fashion, art and many other areas of interest and knowledge and full of trends. Beiñ, was born in this aim: give american people another kind of fashion and trends focus in the spanish culture. Moreover is a big opportunity for emerging designers that have great value among the people living in New York. The city that is open to new things and is a window to know a lot of buyers and consumers.
The fashion industry is very important for the economy in the country and Beiñ´s aim is expand the MADE IN SPAIN brand in this economy with quality designs. Spain is selling it fashion to 90 countries all over the world. The spanish designers that Beiñ works with are hand-made and all of them have a strong identity in the US market.
From street fashion to luxury fashion the spanish fashion industry has became in a real brand and image internationally. Big companies such as Custo, Desigual, Inditex, Cortefiel, Mago, Castañer or Mascaró have their own space in New York- Each one with its personality but all of them spread one idea: Spain not only design fashion, Spain produce and sell Fashion.
Spain is in nowadays and has a big value in the US Market. A increase of the 12% from last year in the American business.
Slow fashion or eco fashion is a concept that many designers and brands are using since few years ago. Sustainable products and materials are contributing to develop the environment and the communities.
However, last year everything changed. On 24th of April more than 1000 people were killed in the Rana Place in Bangladesh while they were working in a known fashion brand factory. After this event 3 important things became acquainted: the building of the factory was illegal, but the managers of the factory said that was safe working there so the workers went to work and was then when the building started collapsing.
Inside this factory a lot of clothes had been made and you might find them in your wardrobe or in the fast fashion stores.
Fashion Revolution Day was the name chosen to remember what happened and aware the people about who made your clothes, where and under what conditions. This day is a memorial to all the victims of the Bangladesh factory.
A lot of actions and initiatives have taken place to join this movement. The campaign involves the consumer trough social media networks and other media channels to shop ethically.
In Beiñ we work with 100% hand-made brands that respect the fair trade and make theirs clothes under ethical conditions
Angradema López, Costalamel, Ecoology and Beatriz Peñalver are some Beiñ brands you can find at our Online Shop.
Yesterday we took the initiative proposed in Spain but changing the place. White balloons represented the Fashion Revolution Day and it is an action to remember the victims and involve the people in this movement.
We all have the power. Do something with it.
Sonia Olla, flamenco dancer and owner of the brand Taller de Artistas
When you think about the essence of Spain, your mind goes immediately to the South: the sound of the heels, the movement of the arms, the musical notes of the guitars, the smell of tapas and the most important thing: the strong and classy style.
Sonia Olla was born in Barcelona, but her southern roots are the most distinguished in her presence. She has worked with some of the most important figures of the flamenco industry in Spain such as Antonio Canales, Rafael Amargo or María Pagés.
After a while, she decided to go solo and move to New York City, where she has showcased some of her dances both alone and with her husband, one of the greatest flamenco singers in the Spanish panorama. They are quite an international family and have participated in shows all around Europe and the US.
For Sonia, the most important thing is to extol the brand ”Spain” and its culture all around the world, as well as making feelings grow on people’s heart when they see her shows.
“Taller de artistas” by Sonia Olla, a parallel project in which she is currently working. As we previously mentioned, Sonia has southern roots as her family is all from Granada. Her family has always sewed and create fabulous flamenco dresses for her, growing envy between her colleagues wherever she went. Now, after seeing the real potential for their collections, they have decided to develop the brand “Taller de Artistas”, something like “Artists attelier”, a brand made in Barcelona but with a clear southern vision.
“Hand-made art in movement”, is how Sonia Olla describes the project and all the creations that her family comes ups with, and of which she is the first and most important brand ambassador.
What is the philosophy of the brand?
All the designs show the Spanish spirit, the Andalucia soul. The designs get inspired by the old flamencos, but they try to combine that classical inspiration with a more modern cut. Most of the designs are actually directed by Sonia herself, as she says flamenco is her life, it’s what moves her since she was born.
Her celebrity crushes are Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Moss, two of the most important fashion it-girls of the time, an influence you can feel looking at her own designs.
The evolution of the brand since it was born has been amazing. Adriana Lima for example, another great example within the flamenco panorama, has worn one of her designs!
The conviction and energy with what Sonia explains us the collection reminded us the concept of wearing an art-work everyday, which is the aim of Taller de Artistas: wear an urban and a trendy outfit, which makes you feel “passionate, energetic and elegant” at the same time. When you listen Sonia talking about both the brand and her work as a dance, you realize that her attitude in front of life is what has made her succeed and you will vibrate with Taller de Artistas designs as much as she does.
When talking about her career, she kept repeating that she has managed to fulfill the American dream, something she would have never imagined. The next step would be to bring that American dream also into the Taller de Artistas team by making a success of her next collection in the country.
Would you like to become part of that success?
Stay tuned with Beiñ as we will bring you their collection very soon through our shop online!
Presentation of "The Green Touch of Spain" inside de project BEIÑ: The Touch of Spain
Ernest Costafreda, owner of Costalamel
You are graduated in Business, why are you in the fashion industry?
Sincerely, I do not really know when it all started…maybe 3-4 years ago when I printed my first drawings onto basic tees. I was doing it because I just loved it, without thinking beyond: no business, no brand, no shipping, just pleasure. I never planned to go as far as I did, I was just focusing on enjoying the moment. My motto was, ”Do what you love and love what you do.
As the project started growing and growing, every day I had more and more work to do and it was getting more difficult to manage it with my full-time job. So, I think about 8 months ago, the day came to take the decision: leave it or live it. I decided to turn my dreams into plans and try to make it worth it. And I’m pretty happy with my decision so far.
As I hold a Business degree, a Brand Meaning Master and Design and Illustration experience in a freelance way, It was a project where I could put together all my passions and skills.
Handmade and Urban Fashion are the two adjectives that describes your brand, but what make it different and special?
We try to differentiate from established brands by putting love and attention to details in every design we make. We can do it because we have small productions.We produce every single t-shirt manually, paying attention to the smallest thing, repeating it if it just doesn’t fit. We design, manufacture and print all the garments in small workshops from Barcelona. 4 different steps made by 4 different workshops, each step is carried where it is better done. This is the only way to achieve the best quality.
On the other hand, we differentiate from newborn brands with our brand meaning. It is difficult to find a brand that gives importance to a story or a message beyond the product. Many firms just focus on designing ignoring that people buy not only a product but also a story. Thanks to my studies we developed a brand positioning and a message to spread that we activate through direct marketing actions with people. What we call, the Honey People.
What is your favorite clothing of Costamel? and What was the first one?
My favorite design is the Amèlie design: Rêves, with a quote from the film that transformed into our lifestyle: Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs, mais je rêve quand même”. It is inspired in the character of Amèlie Poulain. We love Amèlie, she is a kind of personification of our brand values. She is a dreamer despite the world she is living in. She is a brilliant storyteller. She is “la honey”. Our first design was Mividaloca, and it is a tribute to the magnificent Kat Von D
What have Costalamel of Ernest?
One thing is me and another, similar but always different, is the brand.
The psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung used the concept of archetype in order to explain the human psyche. Archetypes represent fundamental human motifs of our experience as we evolved; consequentially, they evoke deep emotions.
I have a high level of creator and innocent archetype in my psyche, but when creating a brand meaning for a brand, for example, Costalamel, you must only choose one among 12 in order to make the message direct and clear. So I decided to take into account my innocent part and build Costalamel as the kid we all have inside. This kid wants to get to paradise and to be happy all the time. His sole strategy is to do things right and fears to be punished for doing something wrong. His talents are faith and optimism and is a truly dreamer. So I’m afraid that Costalamel has a great part of Costa.
How is a normal day in your life?
I usually wake up and walk to my studio in order to spend my mornings managing the brand. Emails, reports, accounting, invoices, shipping, developing strategies, advertisement…that kind of daily obligations. After getting rid of all this, normally in the evening, I try to focus more on receiving people, doing interviews, going to the ateliers or designing new items. I obviously prefer that part of the day but I always repeat myself that if I don’t pay the same attention to both parts, afternoon work will last 2 weeks.
The hardest moment in this adventure
I am the sole person that organizes and decides things in Costalamel, so, despite that I have many people surrounding me (without them it would be impossible) there are many times that you feel lonely and the inner motivation to move forward decreases. It is very important to be strong and brave all the time to not quit it. It’s been really though sometimes.
What projects do you have for this year?
To take Costalamel abroad. Try to see how Costalamel fits in Europe and USA. Thanks to Internet you can sell worldwide, so we will try to open markets with some partnerships in Europe and USA. We also would like to start doing small capsules every month in order to increase our web traffic and attract more and more people who are willing to spread our manifesto. We will also be collaborating with other brands with who we share values and strategies in order to create win-win situations and take advantage of it.
To sum up, try to spread the keep calm and make la honey manifesto wider and louder
What do you think about spanish fashion?
If you want to create a brand in Spain, you have to be in the streets, and the only way to achieve it is to be in the shops because people is not betting for ecommerce yet. Being in a shop in Spain means a lot of work and problems. Shops have a tremendous commission and they don’t pay you in time. A part from that, I think that we have good designers and brands here. Especially those who noticed that it is as important a good designer as a person who knows how to sell your collections and a CEO that manages your firm.I don’t really believe in catwalks, too many work and money for a few minutes of glory. I would personally invest my money on another type of advertisement.
For newborns, I think that we all have to be positive and work with passion; it will be the only thing that will save us after time.
Imagine…you have in front of you an international and famous designer, what would you ask him? and Any advises for the new designers?
For the international designer, I would really like to know the story, the beginnings and the steps he/she took in order to benchmark. For the people who are coming, as I said, do whatever you want, but do it with love and passion.