Fashion dressed in irony

02/01/2023 · By Rosario Fernández
Alberto Martín is at the head of Boltad, a brand that won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award at the latest edition
Alberto Martín is at the head of Boltad, a brand that won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award at the latest edition. © Courtesy of Boltad

An innovative, fresh, and ironic vision, that is also committed to the youth problems of today, has turned Alberto Martín and his brand, Boltad, into one of the most promising in the fashion world. And Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid (MBFWM) agreed by granting him their Talent Award at its latest edition. An award that has been an endorsement for a young designer whose creations leave no one unmoved.

At just 25, he’s won the 20th edition of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award, granted by the prestigious fashion show in Madrid to support young designers. The proposal by Alberto Martín (Badajoz, 1997), the soul behind the Boltad brand presented at the latest MBFWM, is based on genderless fashion made with damaged factory seconds which the designer has breathed new life into, recycling and painting with airbrushes and digital print. In the jury’s words: “A vibrant collection that has known how to combine experimentation and innovation with great commercial vision.”

Who would have told Alberto that things would move so quickly (and go so well) when, in May 2021, less than two years ago, he decided to create his brand. And even less so when, after finishing his baccalaureate, he almost registered to study Geography. The fashion world would’ve missed out big time! A world that, he admits, he understands differently each day because “his feelings skyrocket.” Luckily, in the end he signed up to IADE design school, and later continued his career in Oporto, working for designer David Catalán, before creating Boltad, an urban brand that exudes creativity, freshness and irony, plenty of irony.

How would you define Boltad?
Conceptually, the brand reflects a really intimate part of me. When I wear my clothes, I feel protected, and that’s precisely what I’d like to convey to the people who choose my brand.

What inspires you when you create?
I’m inspired by other people’s abilities. For this reason, I like to stay up to date with emerging designers. I also think that, to find inspiration, you need to work a lot on yourself.

As well as inspiration and hard work, do you think special talent is needed to work in the world of fashion?
I think the main thing is that you love it and want to work in this field, because it’s really hard to carve out a niche for yourself in this industry. You have to put a lot of effort into it.

“When I wear my clothes, I feel protected, and that’s what I’d like to convey to the people who choose my brand”

Although fashion is your thing, you almost studied Geography...
When I was finishing my baccalaureate I started to feel curious about the world of fashion. I started to investigate and, after giving it some thought, I decided to study fashion. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to study Fashion Design, so I decided to also apply for Geography in Salamanca. My only motivation for that was leaving my city and having new adventures. I often think about it and studying Geography made no sense... Thank goodness I ended up doing what I really wanted!

Artists like Javiera Mena, Rusowsky, Ralphie Choo, Mori or Chico Blanco wear your clothes. What does that mean to you?
I love to see people in my clothes, it makes me immensely happy. It’s beautiful when you realise that they appreciate your work.

Your latest collection, Suddenly Freezes was granted the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent Award. What was that experience like for you and what did this recognition from the jury mean to you?
It was an incredible experience. The last days before the fashion show were unforgettable. It was beautiful to share that experience with the team, including artists like Le Polo, Néstor del Barrio, Ralphie Choo, Agnesdei or Elos, to name a few of the people who came on this adventure with me and whom I adore. I think it’s a great platform to start your career as a designer, because of the visibility it grants you from the moment you’re selected.

Which is the concept behind Suddenly Freezes?
Quite a personal one, the concept of “noisy silence”, but I think many people can identify with it. I’m referring to the silence you feel when you’re overwhelmed by anxiety or euphoria. In this collection, I’ve represented it through actions that convey that silence, but ironically.

“I reflect on the main problems youth currently face and how generational differences make them hard to understand”

What is it inspired by and how does it relate to Boltad?
The concept of “noisy silence” that I was talking about was already an intrinsic part of the brand. It’s inspired by the muted feeling that sometimes comes with more intense emotions, like anxiety or euphoria, and alludes to that instant where your mind goes blank and silence takes control for a few tenths of a second that seem endless, which can make us take decisions without thinking. The designs represent those frozen instants, where each character faces a situation where those thoughts and feelings are jumbled together.

And, in a way, you reflect on the main problems that affect young people today...Yes, in this ironic tone I reflect on the main problems youth currently face and how generational differences make them hard to understand, giving way to odd situations where the protagonist must look for an escape route.

Finally, tell us which projects you have in mind.
I’m going to launch my website, where people can find my designs and collaborations. I also want to start organising pop-ups every so often so that the public can purchase my clothing in a physical space, which is important to me. In that sense, I’ve developed some really interesting conceptual ideas. I’m at a point where I want to give more prominence to marketing and sales. The goal is to grow slowly.