When fashion becomes art

Fashion and art have paradoxically a complicated yet simple relationship. Could be fashion considered art? The nature of its relationship has been questioned many times, and opinions still differ. Yet without a clear answer to this sensitive issue, we have found the Spanish designer who literally makes fashion art.

Arena Martínez, the talent behind her eponymous brand, has recently launched “Serendipia”; a colourful and delicate collection of reversible kimonos that represent artworks in her designs and, as she says, “brings art to another dimension”. Martínez wanted to integrate her two passions –art and fashion– into one single and inseparable concept in which the dialogue between the artist and the designer “clashes and connects” equally. The idea is that each collection pays tribute to one of her favourite artists, whose artworks are the motif, and the kimonos work as canvas. This way, the Spanish designer honours their pieces at the same time that she creates a long-lasting relation between fashion and art.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Model: Claudia Peris

This concept was clearly patent in the presentation of the brand, where the models that wore her designs came to life and walked around the location, making fashion and art more alive than ever. These fashion-forward, original and bold ideas definitely surprised the attendees, who enjoyed a performance we are not very used to here in Spain. And this is not that we are unaware of the latest trends in fashion, but sometimes we are a bit reticent to show our craziest and most creative ideas, even if they are great.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Model: Lucía H. Peris

Having a young designer bringing to the table daring ideas is a breadth of fresh air for the Spanish fashion industry. But Arena Martínez is no strange to avant-garde movements and fashion-forward ideas at all. Raised in a family of artists, she has breathed art from a very young age. Her education and international background definitely is playing a fundamental role in her work as a designer. She has lived abroad 13 years (keep in mind that she is only 24), visited different and far-away countries, and studied in prestigious schools like Central Saint Martins in London. It was during her university years when the idea of creating her own brand started to take shape, although it wasn’t until Dubai when this adventure really kicked off. Following her passion for contemporary art, Martínez landed in that city and surprisingly ended up coming across the perfect product for her future brand: the kimono.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Models: Claudia and Lucía H. Peris

Currently based in Madrid, where she works surrounded by her art collection, the Spanish designer couldn’t be happier of being back home. You can tell that Martínez enjoys every bit of her job, in particular seeing her thoughts taking form in her designs.

However, she is also aware of the difficulties her brand may face here in Spain because she admits Spanish fashion is “less bold”, and that’s why her target audience is international and willing to purchase online.

Nonetheless, it seems that we are witnessing a shift in the traditional Spanish style, advocating now for more arresting looks. Everything seems to indicate that in the near future we will probably see more of the “daring, cosmopolitan, confident and contemporary woman” Arena Martínez artistically designs for, making fashion art.

Kimono: Arena Martínez | Photography: Claudia Peris | Models: Claudia and Lucía H. Peris

Why power dressing is more in style than ever

Model: Lucía Hernández Peris | Credit: Claudia Peris

Empowering women has been one of the main concepts behind the collections of renowned brands like Dior and Prada that aim to reflect today’s women’s lives. Over the past few seasons (even years, I would say) fashion has been reflecting on the new wave of feminism. This industry, often and unfairly deemed frivolous and superficial, has proved once again that it is connected to the world and its concerns.

Model: Lucía Hernández Peris | Credit: Claudia Peris

Clean lines, vibrant colours, and the return of the iconic women’s suit, which was especially popular in the ’90s, are the dress code for women who are ready to stand out and conquer the world. However, fashion reinterprets the traditional power dressing and shifts focus toward fresh directions and areas.

Model: Lucía Hernández Peris | Credit: Claudia Peris

If in the past tailoring and structured designs were reserved for the office environment and were a byword for boring and serious attire, the situation has reverted today. We love playing with pieces and we are finding ourselves styling those traditional garments with more extravagant options. Ripped jeans, leather pencil skirts, and sexy crop tops are becoming the norm in and out of the office.

Model: Lucía Hernández Peris | Credit: Claudia Peris

For the past few weeks, with the excuse that a new season is coming up, I have been trying out this new concept of power dressing and tailoring, and I’ve found that every store  — luxury and high street — is imbued with this spirit. The best way to wear it? With a feminine touch that makes it appropriate for almost every job situation, like trench-coat-style dresses, and with a sexy twist like crop tops underneath blazers for a more casual occasions.

Model: Lucía Hernández Peris | Credit: Claudia Peris

Magical landscapes and fashion in the Canary Islands

Volcanic sceneries, sunsets in the desert, black sand… They are beautiful gifts from nature that’s not always easy to capture in a single shot. However, this Canary Islands blogger excels in the art of fusing fashion and nature in a creative way that will take your breath away.

Marta Purriños from Addict Be Iconic

Marta Purriños, the talent behind the site Addict Be Iconic, is not the average blogger. Of an enigmatic beauty herself, she constantly surprises her followers by playing with different styles — from boyish and super casual boyfriend looks to the most feminine dresses you could imagine —, which makes her and her blog difficult to categorize. Is it about fashion? Or maybe about travels? What comes first?

Marta Purriños from Addict Be Iconic

To answer these questions, it is necessary to get to know Marta a bit more. Online, she found the tool to channel her curiosity about the world and her interest in investigation. Marta soon realized that the web fostered her creativity in an unexpected way, and that’s why she decided to embark on her very own adventure.

“I created my blog with the objective of inspiring people. At first, it was all about fashion, one of my greatest passions, but as time went by and I was finishing my university studies in tourism, I felt the need [to focus] more on experiences, since my real passion is travelling and learning from new cultures, worlds and different perspectives,” Marta explains.

Marta Purriños from Addict Be Iconic

Living in the Canary Islands — where you can enjoy a full-on summer all year round — has also contributed to her concept. “I am convinced that everything that surrounds us influences our minds in an almost unconscious way. We are determined by our climate and our circumstances,” she says. In fact, what surrounded her became so important in her work and her creative concept of Addict Be Iconic that those magical landscapes, her experiences, and new cultures are now completely integrated into her fashion.

The explosion of color and contrasts in her pictures is a reflection of that great interest in nature and travel and of her understanding of fashion. “[It] has a very important role for me in the sense of the functionality of the product and in helping making a destination more attractive; talking about why I am wearing one piece or another, and linking it to utility, sensations, and moments,” Marta says.

Indeed, when you scroll down both Addict Be Iconic and her Instagram account @addictbeiconic, you immediately find yourself captivated by the magic of her pictures — breathtaking sceneries that do more than complement the pieces she is wearing act as the main force of the shot. They not only make you want to wear what she is wearing, but also be where she is.

Marta Purriños from Addict Be Iconic

These passions are also areas that have experienced huge changes in the past few decades. Social Media has reshaped both the fashion and the travel industry and our social media accounts became almost, as Marta puts it, “our second skin.” And that’s why we want to “always present ourselves to the world the best we can.” It is a powerful tool but it is also a super competitive world and it is not easy to break into the industry.

Marta also works as a freelancer for other clients and digital media companies. “It is hard to be a full-time blogger. I compete with a lot of people, not only regionally but internationally,” she explains. “Sometimes companies don’t understand that sometimes quality is better than the number of followers,” Marta adds.

However, her blog is succeeding — she is attending numerous events and is followed by important fashion companies and influencers in Spain. Step by step, and with hard work and dedication, Addict Be Iconic, which advocates for high quality photos and a thought-out creative concept behind them, will continue to inspire and make us dream with its every beautiful picture.

Marta Purriños from Addict Be Iconic

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5 Spring Trends We Are In Love With In Spain

One of the greatest perks of living in Spain is that you get to enjoy sunny weather almost all year round. When April arrives, spring has sprung and the city is an explosion of color and joy. The temperature is warm enough to even wear full-on summer clothes, but in cities like Madrid, where it gets chilly in the first and last hours of the day, throwing on a jacket is a must — plus, it adds an extra fashion touch to our look. Here are my 5 favorite spring items that we are already styling here in Spain.

MAXI DRESSES

Transitioning from cold and dark winter to warm and sunny spring might not be easy for one reason: we are not yet ready to show some flesh. If you feel like you need more time to get rid of the winter layers, there is no hurry to wear mini dresses this season. Maxi lengths, inspired by Coachella’s festive spirit, are flattering and elegant and at the same time allow you to gradually adapt to higher temperatures. If you want to add an extra sexy vibe to the look, slits that go up your leg are a good choice.

Model: Claudia Peris | Credit: Lucía Peris

EMBROIDERED DENIM

Denim never goes out of style, and it is a must-have in every wardrobe. For the past seasons, we’ve witnessed an evolution in classical denim pieces — playing with hems, cutouts, and lengths that surprise both the wearer and the viewer. This spring, embroidery has blossomed as the favourite trend, and it takes form as beautiful flowers that recreate a magical garden in denim pieces from jeans to jackets.

Model: Claudia Peris | Credit: Lucía Peris

CITY OF STARS

When we think about our spring looks, florals come to mind. Although this always will be the print of the season (we’ll talk about it later), stars are actually the ones that are going to brighten up our spring and summer looks. They mostly come in gold, as on this bomber jacket, and grey, and some of them even have an extra sparkly touch with glitter. The perfect print to shine with this season!

Model: Claudia Peris | Credit: Lucía Peris

YELLOW SUNGLASSES

This is one of favourite items for the season. The classic aviator style comes back this spring but with an unexpected shift: see-through lenses in bright yellow. It automatically upgrades any look, giving an extra cool vibe to the overall outfit. It matches with everything — colors, textures, and styles — but the winning combo is a total white look like this one.

Model: Claudia Peris | Credit: Lucía Peris

FLORAL PRINTS

As Miranda Priestly would say, “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” However, there is no other print that has conquered everyone’s wardrobe and that keeps coming back every spring — from small and colorful flowers against bright backgrounds such as yellow or green, to big ones that dramatically blossom in every piece you can imagine.

Model: Claudia Peris | Credit: Lucía Peris

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María Magdalena; Subversive Fashion With Spanish Flavor

Designer Alejandra Jaime Mendoza | Credit: María Magdalena

“Symbolic, metaphoric, surrealistic, and subversive” — that’s how Alejandra Jaime Mendoza the Spanish designer behind María Magdalena of the controversial name describes the essence of her brand. Only two seasons into hitting the catwalk of the main events for emerging fashion designers in Spain, Mendoza’s understanding of fashion is already making headlines.

Mendoza has recently showed her second collection for Samsung EGO, the platform dedicated exclusively to emerging talents during Madrid Fashion Week. María Magdalena added that Spanish flavor to the event with ruffles and silhouettes that resemble those of the traditional ‘Sevillana.’ Baroque-inspired pieces like silky dolly dresses with puffed sleeves, shiny fabrics, and metallic sets contrasted with hoodies and fishnet tights, exhibiting the clash of cultures that inspired her collection Integration.

Credit: María Magdalena

The concept goes back to the 2000s in Seville when two social groups with different styles were in opposition. Mendoza wanted to highlight the importance of integration in today’s society, so she took details of both styles and fused them to create a single and unique collection. “I love to make an impact on my audience, to make people have fun, but also to make them think about the issue I’m talking about,” she explains.

Mendoza says that she always works from an idea that she wants to transmit — something that she has the need to share with other people. That’s why there is always a powerful symbolic meaning behind her collection. Even the name of her brand, María Magdalena, which doesn’t go unnoticed, has a connotation.

María Magdalena represents to me the role that unfortunately has been attributed to women over the years in the sense that she has always been in inequality in relation to men,” Mendoza explains. The designer wanted to shed some light on the figure of the woman, letting her have the position she deserves: equal to men.

Credit: María Magdalena

Fashion acts for Mendoza as a platform to channel her inner world and discuss social issues along with psychological and philosophical matters. “My goal is to create useful things for society as well,” the designer explains.

When she has the concept in mind, Mendoza develops it and tries to find a way to translate it aesthetically into draws and fabrics. In fact, materializing the idea is her favourite part of the whole design process. The worst bit? Promotion. But that’s just because, contrary to what you may think, Alejandra Jaime Mendoza is a very shy person. However, she is slowly coming to terms with being in the spotlight from time to time.

“Integration”; the latest collection of María Magdalena | Credit: María Magdalena

Before tapping into fashion design, she studied at a law school for two years to later realize that it wasn’t for her. She decided to change the course of her life and enrolled in Design and Fashion Management at CEADE. It was there that Mendoza found her powerful creative side and focused more on design.

Today, at only 26 years old with a lot of stories, experiences, and anecdotes, Alejandra Jaime Menzoda has her feet on the ground and loves to share her achievements with her team and friends who always support her and make her fight for her dreams as the talent behind María Magdalena.

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