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Juana Martín, the first Spanish woman to set foot in Haute Couture in Paris: “It’s a brutal effort”

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In the trajectory of the Cordoban fashion designer Juana Martín Manzano Unprecedented events are common. She was recognized by the Junta de Andalucía as gypsy and creative of the year in 2007 and 2008, respectively, when she previously, in 2005, paved the way for Cibeles by being the first Andalusian and gypsy woman to put her designs on the catwalk. . Years later, the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion (FHCM) has selected her firm to parade in the mecca par excellence of high-quality clothing. On July 7, the Parisian event will host Andalusiathe latest collection of the first Spanish, Andalusian and gypsy woman to reach Paris Haute Couture Week.

How are these days in the workshop living after hearing the news? With a lot of hustle and bustle, although we are always very busy. Now that we have finished assuming everything that is happening to us, we face the work with greater responsibility. It is true that we have fought a lot to get here. We are euphoric, attending to all the clients that we had previously arranged. The effort has had to be doubled due to the stoppage of the pandemic. The effort has been tremendous, but not only due to the pandemic. Previously too. Arriving at the Haute Couture Week in Paris supposes a brutal effort during a lifetime of trade, not only on my part but also on my team. It is not the first time that his designs have stepped on Parisian lands. What inspires you about this city? I have been taking my collections to Paris for five years and in all the editions I have brought the Andalusian essence in my designs because this is the DNA of the brand. Andalusia and Córdoba have always been there and I wanted to convey that essence. Are you planning to set up a shop or atelier in the French capital? Everything will be fine. Right now we are focused on the Haute Couture Week parade and on many projects that we will progressively make public. But now we are focused on carrying out this important parade of the Andalucía collection and on recovering from the pandemic. We have made changes, we have embarked on future projects that require immediate involvement. How do you think the reception of ‘Andalusia’ will be in Paris? I don’t know, but I hope it will be good. Generally, Andalusia has an important influence on international fashion. I hope that this is perceived, along with the effort we have made.Does her access to ‘Haute Couture’ mark a before and after in her career as a designer? Being the first Spanish and Andalusian woman, inevitably, has to mark a before and after.

Especially for those who have been opening the way and perceive it as a benchmark. Yes, in general. It doesn’t matter if it’s men or women. The point for me, as a woman, is very important and if I lead the way, great, but the tremendous effort behind it by an entire team cannot be forgotten. What are the biggest obstacles that Spanish firms must overcome to reach this point? event?In general, to parade in Paris, designers must have enormous financial support behind them, a large capitalist partner or a business group. That, without taking into account the fact that the collection must be liked. In my case, there is no capitalist partner behind who has provided that impulse.More reason to highlight the selection of your firm by the Federation of High Fashion Culture.The Federation has been guided in its choice by the Andalusian essence, the culture and roots, the story we tell. It has been a recognition of our way of doing things. Should fashion be more protected by institutions? Of course, fashion should be more valued in Spain by institutions and public bodies. Spanish fashion is having a situation and a very important value at an international level and I say it for the part that touches me. I am the only Spanish who has managed to reach Haute Couture. I think that the collaboration of official institutions would help to promote Spanish and Andalusian fashion much more, to have a point of support towards the designer. Working at these levels requires a large investment of money, which is always the responsibility of the designer, with the exception of some collaboration. But the career is always paid for by the designer and should be much more supported. How is Spanish fashion perceived in France? Andalusia has a very important base in the history of fashion and greats like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Valentino. Now Dior is going to parade in Seville. The history of Andalusia and its culture are an inexhaustible source of inspiration for international designers.

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“The history of Andalusia and its culture are an inexhaustible source of inspiration”

Madrid es Moda organized a retrospective of Juana Martín at the beginning of the year. What did this recognition mean for you? For me it was very pleasant. Looking back and going back to your beginnings is always good. In this case, with Madrid es Moda a very nice project was made, which I really wanted to do because of the importance of other previous retrospectives. Are you working on other projects in parallel to this new collection? Will there be a new bridal collection? Yes, new collections are being made in parallel to Andalusia. We will launch a new collection of wedding dresses and we have other international projects underway. To what extent are fabrics important in your collections? Fabrics are very important, for a designer they are everything. They give many possibilities when creating. I have been a pioneer in making flamenco dresses with denim fabric. I believe that experimenting with new fabrics marks the course of creativity. In the workshop we use a lot of fabrics that respect the environment, recycling and sustainability. They are fundamental parameters that should be of primary concern to creators. Why is designer clothing so expensive? Designer clothing is not worth so much if you take into account the work behind it, the value we give to workers of the workshop and the amount of taxes we pay in Spain. Clothing from large stores, made in China or India under appalling working conditions, is not the same as the pampering, care and security of a national design workshop.

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