Cherry Massia

‘Underground’ heroine

09/12/2022 · By Rocío Navarro
Sevillian designer Irene Romero Massia leads the brand Cherry Massia
Sevillian designer Irene Romero Massia leads the fahsion brand Cherry Massia. © Ana Martí

Cherry Massia designs connect the designer’s own emotional spectrum with historical or mythological scenes, always through female empowerment (although she doesn’t use this term). Complexity translated into urban realism because, in her own words, “fashion is a reflection of the instant we’re living, as a society and as individuals”.

Irene Romero Massia (Seville, 1995) always wanted to tell the story of what was happening around her, and she found the means to do so through fashion. Her strong determination led to her studying fashion and walking the runway at EGO, as part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, when she finished her studies. From there, Cherry Massia took shape. Her particular talent to make feelings tangible or to reinterpret haute couture through an underground aesthetic has turned her into a Spanish brand that we should keep an eye on. Nathy Peluso, La Zowi, or Milena Smit have already worn her multifaceted collections.

How did you discover your talent for fashion?
When I was little, I loved to create characters and tell the story of their world through the clothes they used, and my family always helped me to develop that creativity. So, it’s something I’ve known since childhood.

Is female empowerment one of Cherry Massia’s cornerstones?
I’ve actually never used that term, but I like it because it’s what people on the outside have always told me. I always knew I wanted to dress a heroic woman who embraces her femininity, her strengths and weaknesses. The female figure is the reason behind Cherry Massia, because I’m interested in her, I know her, and I believe there’s a lot of injustice surrounding her.

“I always knew I wanted to dress a heroic woman who embraces her femininity, her strengths and weaknesses”

Can you tell me about other essential aspects related to the brand’s DNA?
I express my own emotions through it. I also try to reinterpret haute couture codes through an underground aesthetic, with a strong concept behind it. I’m really influenced by the night world, by raves. I love creating total looks, playing with silhouettes and metaphors.

What moves you when you create? What are you inspired by?
I’m moved by the need to sum up my own emotions and I’m inspired by so many things. My own feelings, the injustices of the world, the light reflecting a tone of orange... Also, sociology, history, philosophy, the work of some artists... I can make a collection about anime heroines and another about a massacre during the Spanish Civil War.

You’ve touched on the topic of mental health; do you believe that fashion is a way to raise awareness around certain narratives?
Everything we wear communicates a message. Clothing is really important when conveying the spirit of the moment and the reality of the world that surrounds us. Since it has that power, why not use it to raise awareness about something important?

What’s your creative process like when turning these kinds of discourses into clothing?
It’s my favourite part. When I know what I want to talk about, I read up a lot on the topic and look for analogies that have occurred throughout history or in mythology. This allows me to turn my feelings into something people can connect with. This process is like a puzzle, there’s a moment where everything starts to fit together, and when it does, I already know the colour range I want, the type of silhouette, the attitude...

What do you talk about in your latest collection: Zenith?
It’s the one that closes the whole story. I started telling the story of the hero archetype and Nadir, my previous collection, alluded to their moment of weakness, when they feel like they can’t fight. Zenith talks about the opposite; they’ve completed their mission and can go home. I used it to focus on the figure of the heroine, I wanted to convey that “mission accomplished” message, that everything’s all right. To play with these concepts, I resorted to the Tartessos, a civilisation from Western Andalucia. I imagined those people re-emerging as the bright civilisation that they were to make an analogy with the current world. We’ve lived in slightly apocalyptical times, and it seems like we’re starting to see the light.

“Fashion is the reflection of the present moment, but it also touches on what has already existed and what is to come”

Do you think fashion codes are being rewritten now or is there more to rescue from the past?
I think that there’s always a mixture. Obviously, we look to the future —today there’s a trend towards sustainability or new technologies—, but there’s always something from the past. Fashion is the reflection of the present moment, but it also touches on what has already existed and what is to come, even if not intentionally.

What do you find most rewarding about making fashion?
I love turning ideas into something tangible. It’s really satisfying because they come from personal experience and it’s exciting to see them translated into a garment. It also offers me the opportunity to meet really interesting and creative people, which is so rewarding.

Your pieces follow a very specific style, what is the process like when you dress celebrities who have their own personality?
The lovely thing is that, when they call me, that person already fits the brand well. They usually end up keeping a collection piece because they understand my vision and identify with it. It’s mutual, because when I design, I also have some of them in mind.

“The clothes we wear communicates a message. Since it has that power, why not use it to raise awareness about something important?”

Which is Cherry Massia’s position in terms of sustainability?
Sustainability is one of the brand’s building blocks. All my pieces are produced locally, and, in most cases, I make unique pieces and have control over all the processes. It’s important for the whole team to work ethically and I don’t use anything that comes from animals.

Where would you like to take the brand?
I started Cherry Massia really early on and I’ve grown alongside it. The pandemic affected me creatively, I needed time to understand the world we live in now. Since then, I learnt not to pressure myself. So, I don’t really consider those types of questions anymore. The most important thing is doing what I love, continuing to express myself, and feeling calm. Those are my goals. Obviously, I’d love to take it abroad, but I’ll go at my own pace. I want to do things right, slowly.