Defining the renewed classic.
The trend setting designer redefining classic fashion from his throwback atelier in Barcelona.
The words "renewed classic" is the perfect description for Jose Maria Garcia Gonzalez, the designer behind the Barcelona based Ze Garcia. The brand was founded in 2013 and has become the go-to Atelier for a handmade ensemble. The process of each custom design starts with a hand-drawn sketch by Jose. The sketch is then passed on to the pattern makers to prepare the patterns. From there, the seamstresses then sew exquisite creations, and Jose puts the final touches on his works of art. Jose understands his historical place as a designer. The origin of his predecessors, such as Frederik Worth, helped carve out the principles of his path that began centuries ago with the birth of his eternal love, haute couture.
Jose's passion for the world of art and fashion has always been a part of his life. At an early age, he sold paintings that featured different pictorial techniques and was participating in exhibitions in his hometown. He would eventually enter the School of Arts and Fashion Technology of the Roman Llull University in Barcelona. While attending, he not only took courses in fashion but, classes on design as well. Before starting his brand, he worked in the studio of Jose Castro, as a workshop assistant, firms such as Dicktons, Desigual, or Escada. And he also did styling jobs for Karen Millen and worked as a fashion stylist and visual merchandiser for the Emporio Armani Group.
From the beginning, Ze Garcia is an Atelier that offers haute couture designs of extremely high quality. Every design has the luxury and exclusivity you would expect from a haute couture brand. Ze Garcia is a brand intended to be sophisticated and timeless and attracts a woman who is cosmopolitan, sexy, elegant, and cool. And the personality and silhouette are taken into account when designing for every 'Ze Garcia Woman". The true signatures of a Ze Garcia garment include colorful designs, stunning gowns, layers of luxurious fabrics, embroideries, thigh-high slits, corsetry, asymmetrical hemlines, feathers, ruffles, and exclusive finishes. Jose Maria Garcia Gonzalez is a true artist and an Atelier that should be known worldwide.
But, the Ze Garcia Atelier is a hidden gem that is tucked away on the street-facing the beautiful and serene Parc del Turo in Barcelona. I was floored entering the Atelier as I felt like I had been transported back to a time when haute couture was king. The marbled entryway, the modern yet straightforward waiting area, the elegant shop space, the actual workshop where the seamstresses were avidly working away, the fabric storeroom full of luxurious fabrics, and standing with a client for a dress fitting is the talented Jose. After finishing with what he calls a "Ze Garcia Woman'," we sat down and talked about everything from his inspirations to the description of a "Ze Garcia Woman."
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Ze Garcia in conversation
An in-depth interview conducted at his atelier in Barcelona.
In the past, you have said that fashion is in your blood. Please explain.
From an early age, I liked to experiment with different artistic techniques. But painting is an art that always stood out to me. Another method I started my career with was moulage, which is a form of casting or molding. Since then, I have exhibited works in various galleries. Along with art, I have always been very interested in the history of fashion, and it has become one of my hobbies.
What inspires you to create?
What inspires me to create custom pieces are women that will be wearing them. I imagine the "Ze" woman in a specific context. If I am looking to create a "party look," I usually get inspired by turning to my imaginary world. In my imaginary world, I imagine real places or situations with what I call my "imaginative" filter.
How do your inspirations affect your creative process?
My inspirations affect my creative process by adapting the designs to the woman's attitude and personality.
Is there a "signature" aesthetic you are known for in your designs?
Authentic signatures of a Ze Garcia creation are side openings or cuts, V necklines, the usage of black, glitter, geometric and asymmetric cuts, volume in sleeves, shoulder pads worked at 90 °, corsetry, and the adaptation of male garments to the female figure.
What makes your brand different from others?
That would have to be personalized attention. Ze Garcia always designs by taking into account the personality and attitude of each woman.
What innovative ideas or techniques make your designs stand out from others?
All the garments are handcrafted and made in Spain. We have our workshop, retail shop, and studio all coexisting in the Ze Garcia Atelier.
I know you do a lot of custom work, but what made you decide to add pret-a-porter?
I wanted to give another option to my clients, so I added prêt-à-porter to my brand. It provides our clients a wearable garments even for their day to day.
If there was one aspect of the fashion world, you could change what would it be and why?
The one aspect of the world of fashion I think should change is to stop creating so much fast-fashion. People need to reassess and buy pieces that get made responsibly.
People define you as a "renewed classic." Please explain.
The "classic" element comes from my origins. I am from Santander, and that has taught me to reflect elegance in all my designs. The most daring, nocturnal, and modern elements are due to the development of my career in Barcelona.
How do you want a woman to feel in one of your designs?
A woman should feel cool, sophisticated, unique, stylish, and daring in my designs.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from a mentor/colleague in the fashion industry?
When I was working in the Armani group, I was encouraged to start my Ze Garcia Project.
Describe your brand in three words.
Nocturnal, classic, and female (adapts to the woman's body, is designed with her in mind).
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