In 2018, Carlota Barrera debuted in the fashion sector with a collection, ‘The matador and the fisherman’, which laid the foundations of her project, but also collected three of the values that best define the ‘zeitgeist’ or feeling of the sector in recent times: design that blurs gender barriers, strong commitment to sustainability (in form and substance) and a vindication of craftsmanship. Four years later and faithful to its proposal, the brand founded by the eponymous designer has carved a niche for itself in the international market.
Carlota Barrera is one of those Spanish designer brands that seek to redefine the aesthetic codes of men’s closets while building an international career without losing sight of their roots. The designer and her team work between London (where her creative studio is located) and Madrid (where her base of operations is located for certain areas, something especially necessary after Brexit) and the brand already has a presence in five markets.
Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Hong Kong are the areas where Carlota Barrera operates with multi-brand clients and where she also has the focus of her online activity, although her e-commerce (whose first client was Harry Styles: the singer and his stylist got one of the brand’s garments through this channel) is available all over the world.
And where does the brand that won the Vogue Who’s On Next contest in 2019 currently stand? «The goal is to build loyalty with the clients we already have and to increase them, both online and offline,» creative director Carlota Barrera and the firm’s marketing and communications director Verónica Alonso told FashionNetwork.com in a conversation.
«We come from making our offline debut in London, which was quite a milestone because we were also the brand that opened Men’s Fashion Week, and from traveling to Paris for the first time after the pandemic with that goal of making ourselves known among professional and end buyers,» Barrera and Alonso add.
Visit to Paris to showcase to professional buyers
The brand, which presented a tribute collection to Cuba in the British capital, has just shown its designs in the Parisian capital on June 24 and 25 in a showroom for professional buyers, but also open to the general public.
«Commercial is a field where it is difficult to take the concept of ‘fashion week’ without gender. Although it can be done creatively (in our last fashion show there were boys and girls), the truth is that buyers are still anchored in a binary shopping calendar,» reflects the designer and founder of the firm.
Brexit through, is the brand considering making the leap to other key places for men’s fashion, such as the catwalks of Paris or Milan? We have four collections on the official calendar in London and we have worked hard to make the leap to offline. We are a case study at the British Fashion Council and also members of the institution, which is very committed to promoting emerging designers,» they explain, emphasizing their close connection with the British fashion ecosystem.
With the way open in the Anglo-Saxon market and its sights set on Asia, the brand is also working to gain presence in the Spanish market, where it currently only operates online. Thus, it is in negotiations with WOW, the project promoted by Dimas Gimeno in Madrid, which has a space dedicated to national designer fashion.
The Spanish designer who stands out creatively and commercially outside the domestic borders and finds it difficult to be a prophet in his own land is almost an archetype. In the eyes of Carlota Barrera, «you have to believe in local talent and Spanish craftsmanship, which is very rich». «In any case, internationalization work seems to me to be key to the development and continuity of designer brands,» concludes the designer.