Sep 26, 2019 | By Jane Boddy
WGSN guest contributor Augusta Adriasola meets the designer behind one of the hottest new labels out there.
During a recent visit to Uruguay (I’m originally from Uruguay so I love any chance to celebrate the design talent there) I got the chance to meet in person (after many social media exchanges…very 2017) the Uruguayan-born but Brazil-based designer Camila Ferrés. Her geometric and colourful designs had already captivated me through her posts on Instagram, but seeing them IRL simply left me in awe.
Such level of craftsmanship and exquisite attention to detail is deliciously rare, especially for a young independent designer. But Camila is one of a kind. At a very young age, she moved to Brazil with her family and then studied fashion design at IED Madrid, and worked at an atelier called Nihil Obstat in the Spanish capital, known for doing custom bridal gowns and patterns for big houses like Sybilla, Delpozo and Carmen March. It was this experience and a love for all things architecture, art and haute couture that led her to create her very own brand in 2014, that has quickly caught the attention of Vogue Brazil, blogger Helena Bordon and Sao Paulo multibrand store Choix.
How would you define the Camila Ferrés woman?
I do not think of a specific type of woman when I design, I like to believe my pieces are quite versatile and can dress a 21-year-old as impeccably as a youthful 65-year-old. The thing that always stands out is that if I can say something about the woman that wears my clothes, is: she is confident, has a style of her own and doesn’t take dress codes too seriously. I love playing with the idea of a bride in pants, or a cropped top for a gala event. My clients have fun putting outfits together, they appreciate quality and craftsmanship, and like to be well dressed for every occasion but always at ease. I find comfort to be extremely chic.
What inspires you?
You never know where inspiration will come from. I am inspired every time I am in the presence of beauty, so travelling to different places has a big effect on me. That said, everywhere I go, my eyes look at two aspects the most: art and architecture. Geometry is my language. Maybe it is the result of coming from a family of architects and being raised by a mother who was obsessed with Picasso since I can remember. I was exposed to modern art and architecture from a very early age and I guess it just defined the way I see beauty, and the way I translate it into my designs.
Your attention to detail is outstanding! Is it an aspect you really pay attention to while designing?
I believe that in a world so full of, well, everything everywhere, if you want to do something that stands out, you have to do it with passion. And I believe craftsmanship is exactly that, putting your soul into the work. Making something that is exclusive and unique. I have always admired the process of Haute Couture, and I was lucky enough, while studying in Madrid, to work at an atelier called Nihil Obstat that did exactly that. They always used the best of materials, and never compromised a perfect finishing even if it meant more work. So that was my school, an invaluable experience that determined the way I see fashion. And when the time came to create my own brand, I just knew that I wanted to keep a bit of that Spanish Couture feeling.
How do you see the Brazilian fashion industry in comparison to the rest of Latin America?
I think Latin American fashion is in a good moment. More than ever, brands from Colombia, Brazil, Argentina and other countries are being displayed in the best retailers of the world. This is happening even in local stores that used to sell only foreign brands. Since we don’t have the technology other regions of the world have for production, Latin America is a market mostly oriented towards artisanal craftsmanship, and each country has a special material or technique that strongly represents it and it’s being more valued now, like wool and hand knitting in Uruguay.
Right now in Brazil, maybe because of the high prize of the dollar, people are buying more local brands and actually valuing the identity and craftsmanship that comes with that for the first time in years. Consumers are more concerned about manufacturing practices by huge companies and I see small brands gaining popularity by offering affordable luxury items that are designed and produced in Brazil. So this is very good news, although it is still very expensive to be an independent designer sourcing and producing locally.
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