The 2nd Skin Co.

Fashion That They All Want to Wear

01/27/2020 · By Rocío Navarro
Designers Antonio Burillo and Juan Carlos Fernández
Designers Antonio Burillo and Juan Carlos Fernández, founders of The 2nd Skin Co. © Courtesy of the brand

Taking the decision to launch internationally saved them from the recession. Today, their brand The 2nd Skin Co. is one of celebrities’ favourites around the world. This February, they’ll return to IFEMA to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid to conquer the runway with their unique feminine charm full of character.

Their urban, feminine personality, focused on couture, has brought The 2nd Skin Co. to the wardrobes of many celebrities, including Queen Letizia. The fact that the collections designed by Antonio Burillo (Zaragoza) and Juan Carlos Fernández (Córdoba) exudes character as well as beauty must be the reason. Beyond the romantic style of their gatherings, pleats and large volumes, the purpose behind their pieces is to encourage those who wear them. Our brand has strong designs. You need to have a strong personality to wear our garments, or they’ll walk away with you. This is the tone we like and the values that, to our understanding, our clients share”, explains Fernández. Today they face challenges such as digitalisation and new forms of consumption that they take on with intuition. Juan Carlos tells us about it.

The 2nd Skin Co. is thirteen years old. How have you faced the challenges that the industry has experienced during this time?

Our beginnings coincided with the first years of the recession and our means of distribution was quite different to today. We were lucky because we decided to sell abroad. Here, the entire distribution structure was devastated, and it finished many brands off. Nevertheless, we grew stronger in the Arab and Asian markets. That’s what saved us. Furthermore, while we used to go to shows to reach those clients, now we do so online. They even reach us through shops, and order online, through a video conference or even WhatsApp.

Is this breakneck transformation exciting?

We’ve got used to it. We like movement, change... But it creates a feeling of instability, certainty is lost. Although such is life: progress. You have to learn to live with it, there’s no other option.

As you said, you were already ahead of the game when you began, foreseeing circumstances. What will happen next?

We aim our commercial decisions towards where we’re going tomorrow. Changes happen suddenly and thinking about the future is essential to not lose momentum. But going abroad was pure intuition. The brand is called The 2nd Skin Co. because we wanted it to be known outside of Spain, for it to sound good. It was a wise choice in the end. Now we’re trying to sense what will happen next, we’re aware that new platforms are essential to sell nowadays.

That’s why you have the best allies on social media, celebrities. How do you become the gold standard for national and international celebrities?

Eugenia Silva was the key for the brand to become known nationally. She wore one of our dresses to a wedding and was on the front cover of all the gossip magazines. It had a huge impact and people asked us specifically for that dress. That’s when everything changed. After that came others like Rosalía, Jennifer Lopez, Emma Roberts, Lily Collins and even Chinese celebrities. The communication experts we work with oversee all of that.

“We’re greatly inspired by the Parisian couture of the 50s. What we do is update it, bring it into the 21st Century”

It’s surprising to see Rosalía among your fans, because her style is quite different to yours.

What happened with Rosalía was magnificent. The photographer Peter Lindberg, who recently passed away, did one of his last shoots with her for Vogue and chose one of our dresses. It had a huge impact. Her profile doesn’t match ours exactly, but since she’s very versatile and multifaceted, she wears our pieces well. This proves that we’re reaching another generation and we love it.

In your collections we find references to the 50s, 60s and 70s in pieces that are current. How do you do it?

For us, the 50s are an endless source of inspiration. We think that Dior and Balenciaga’s designs from that era are revolutionary. We’re greatly inspired by the Parisian couture of the 50s. What we do is update it, bring it into the 21st Century, always revisiting the designs from our understanding of those decades. It’s important, because you can’t repeat what they did then.

I guess these nuances can be appreciated through the fabrics and patterns. What’s the key?

We create many voluminous structures. In fact, it’s one of the foundations of our next collection. From here, we create oversized pieces or coats with lace finishes but with a very solid lining. The same happens with certain strapless dresses, where we add volume with pleats and gatherings. It’s something that people identify us with.

On your Instagram account, there are references to last century muses such as Lauren Bacall, Brigitte Bardot or Loulou de Lafalaise. But if you had to name a current one, who would it be?

It’s hard to describe a specific woman because there are many different profiles. We’re inspired by the woman on the street, more than icons. We prefer the celebrity to approach us, instead of the other way around. We write a narrative for the modern woman, with certain character traits and intellectual values.

“We’re inspired by the woman on the street, more than icons”

What are these values?

Security, for example. We like women who feel sure of themselves. That, beyond their ideology, have their own identity and show their personality clearly. Rosalía is a good example; we find the way she makes music really inspiring. We like people with artistic inquisitiveness who feel comfortable being themselves.

As well as this attitude, what will we see on the runway?

The collection is called Woodland and seems taken from an autumn forest. There are many different textiles, from wool, jacquard, satin, mohair, taffeta, chiffon or lace. All this in a palette revolving around a brocade from the home of Luigi Berga, an Italian supplier who designs for brands such as Valentino or Dior. We combine yellows and ochres, moss greens and chocolate browns on pearl grey backgrounds. We’re really inspired by this colour palette, which takes us to that forest.