Barcelona: a city of beautiful independent fashion brands

We spoke to two Barcelona brands on why they love being independent in one of the fashion capitals of the world.

Barcelona is such a gorgeous city and one of my personal favourites to visit and one I have dreamt living there at one point in my life. This seems to be becoming a recurring segment on galerie de aims magazine as we want to promote local and independents where we can. This time we spoke to two Barcelona independent fashion houses on their favourite things about being independent fashion brands in a well established fashion capital of Europe, Barcelona.

Studio Fantastique

Studio Fantastique creates some beautiful pieces, one of my favourites are the Mariana Dress in all the colours, what are your favourite products? 

‘We really like all the pieces that we launch, but our favourite piece from the new SS21 collection are the Bianca Top, the Mariana dress of course, and all the printed pieces we did in collaboration with our friend and artist Sophia Pega. Now we have launched some, as the Daniela pants and the Lena top and Leyla dress, but there are more to come soon!’

Sustainability is such an important part of fashion, why is creating sustainable pieces so important to you as a brand?

We think that sustainability in not an option, is an obligation. We are very happy because fashion is changing a lot in that direction and luckily the movement is getting bigger and reaching more people. Consumers have a lot to say, and they demand more transparency and brands must go in this direction. 

Barcelona is such an underrated fashion city, what are your favourite fashion styles of Barcelona?

Barcelona is a city with lots of different people from different cultures, and people dress quite freely here. There is a very vivid youth culture, with many people from abroad coming to study and work here, so you can find style everywhere in the streets. 

Your brand is so effortless and beautiful, what made you start it? 

We are Daniel and Estefania, we met working as designers for a big fast-fashion brand. After constantly getting fed up with how things were done we decided  that there was something we could do to change all that craziness involved in the fashion industry. A few years later, in 2015, what once was a crazy idea from two friends wanting to change the system, took form as Studio Fantastique. 

What are you excited for with your brand? 

To have the opportunity to go to work everyday in something that we love is so exciting. We have so much, really. We always say that we live in a kind of roller coaster!   

what’s the best thing about being a Barcelona fashion independent? 

The best thing of being independent is that you can really work in the way that you believe and this is very gratifying. 

Avec Studio

Avec Studio is such a lovely brand, where do the main inspirations come from? 

Thank you! Fashion Runways are always a colour, patterns & trends source of inspiration. Also, there are female figures whose looks I feel so inspired by. Such as Camille Charrière, Leia Sfez, or Gala Gonzalez. They are my main style references! 
But honestly, what inspires me the most is finding a nice fabric, texture, or colour combination that suddenly makes me start designing pieces with them and start creating a whole new concept. 

All of the Avec Studio products are so elegant and timeless why do you specialise in party-wear specifically? 

While working for a fast fashion company, I realised that they were promoting a consumer behaviour based on quantity over quality. Where the main focus was to produce at the cheapest cost possible and sell as many as they could. 
I decided I wanted to create something more meaningful, special and exclusive. Seasonless pieces made locally, with love and care, that you purchase with joy and thought. Special garments for special occasions!
Why party-wear? I found it really hard to find a different and exclusive look when I had to dress up for a wedding. And the good thing about producing locally is that we make very few units of each design, which gives more value to the brand. In casual wear it does not matter that much if there are 100 more girls who own your same shirt, but in party-wear it is important to know that only 10 more could go to the same wedding with that same look (practically impossible). 

Your brand is so effortless and beautiful, what made you start it? 

Thanks! As a designer I always felt that desire of expressing my DNA, my style through my own brand. At home I have grown surrounded by entrepreneurs, so it comes pretty natural to me! My grandfather and my father both have their own companies and I guess that spirit runs through my veins! But I could not have started it wIthout my partner (and husband) Robert. He is the engine behind all of it! 

What are you excited for with your brand? 

As of today, I really want weddings to go back to normal! This past year has been hard for the wedding industry..For the brand, I am focused on improving each collection. Making new designs, finding new fabrics and developing beautiful and exclusive prints. For the future, someday I would love to include a wedding gowns capsule! 

The best of Barcelona according to its independents…

What are your favourite areas of Barcelona? 

Studio Fantastique: We like a lot “Gracia”, it’s a neighbourhood full of small streets and squares with a lot of terraces were people meet and have a drink, or a vermouth on the weekend. Children also play a lot around, it’s a nice atmosphere.  The city centre is a classic too, “El Born”, “El Gòtic”, “El Raval”there are neighbourhoods very nice to discover and walk in, full of historical buildings and nice shops and restaurants.

Avec Studio : My favourite place to go for a walk/run/bike is “La carretera de les aigues”, where you can see the whole city views. 
I love to have brunch at a place called “La esquina” near Las Ramblas, I love their pancakes and Egg Benedicts!
Park Guell is a must visit if you are coming to Barcelona, so much Catalan culture in an amazing park, also with views of the city! 

What are your favourite fashion/beauty stores Barcelona?

Studio Fantastique: For beauty our favourite is a small perfume shop called “Les Toppettes”. It’s in the city centre, in el “Raval”. They have an amazing selection of niche perfumes and they just know a lot about perfumes. So, it’s a pleasure to buy a present there or to treat yourself!
For fashion we really like a multi-brand shop from el Born that is called “Ivori”. They only have local design from Barcelona that Carola, the owner, selects very carefully.  It’s a very good place to discover a lot of local brands. We also like a lot a shop from Gracia called “Loidi”, has a fun and nice selection of brands and beautiful accessories.

Avec Studio: For party-wear Teresa Helbig is my top one, I got married with one of her dresses and she is just amazing! For more daywear styles my favourite Barcelona brands are Shon Mott & The Avant.

What’s the best thing about being a Barcelona fashion independent? 

Studio Fantastique: The best thing of being independent is that you can really work in the way that you believe and this is very gratifying. 

Avec Studio: The time schedule. On my previous designer job for a fast fashion company I had to be stuck in an office chair from 9 until 18 no matter if I had less work for that day. Now, I can organise my own time, each day is different, and I do not have to give explanations to anyone! 
In the end I probably work a lot more hours and never get to disconnect, but they are MY hours hahaha and if I want to have breakfast in pyjamas while answering mails on a Tuesday I can do so! 


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