Eager to make people laugh and without disowning his past with Tricicle, Carles Sans celebrates being... alone at last! A sentiment that’s the name of his first solo performance, ‘¡Por fin solo!’, which will tour theatres across Spain.
Roots for flying
An innate gift as clear as his ideas, an extraordinary ability to connect current needs with deep cultural roots and a constant curiosity that drives him to break the norms.
Since he was a child, Alejandro Gómez Palomo (Posadas, Córdoba, 1992), id est, Palomo Spain, knew that fashion was his thing. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a particular interest in fashion. Already at school, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always used to answer: ‘Fashion designer.’ I consider myself really fortunate because I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It hasn’t been a walk in the park, but my path has been clear and direct,” he confesses not long after meeting up with us at the old Teatro Albéniz in Madrid, which has been refurbished and turned into the UMusic Hotel Teatro Albéniz.
He was just 14 when, after a trip to London, he discovered that fashion was on the street, and that men could also wear it. “That opened my eyes and made me think that there really was a place in the world where I could feel comfortable and grow. That’s when I started focusing on thinking about what I had to do to get there,” he admits.
In fact, he ended up moving to London, where he studied fashion design at the London College of Fashion and the design and art school Central Saint Martins. “When I’d been living there for five or six years, I started coming to Spain and realised how lucky I was to have grown up surrounded by such a wealth of culture. I felt a strong connection to my roots and understood that the only way to make my ongoing project work was by keeping my people close and being able to dedicate my heart and soul to it,” he states. He confesses that he’d never have been able to create a brand like Palomo Spain while in London: “I’d never have been able to pay for a flat, a studio, a sewist... So I went home to my parents, hired the village sewist and moved into one of my father’s offices.”
“I consider myself really fortunate because I’ve always known what I wanted to do. It hasn’t been a walk in the park, but my path has been clear and direct”
Today, this designer still has his hub, his home-workshop in Posadas, surrounded by nature and a team of local sewists, as well as a team of professionals which has grown around the brand. “My relationship with my team is based on keeping the excitement and joy for what we’re doing alive. They trust me. I’m lucky to be surrounded by people from across Spain, and even Europe, who have dropped everything and have come to live in my village to work exclusively on what is my project, but also includes them in the end.” The result speaks for itself: joyful, original and provocative garments that convey the same vitality and good vibes that the team breathes.
Alejandro explains that he has always told his story through his collections: “Since the first, called Orlando, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf, which gave me the perfect context to talk about my idea about it, that play on masculine and feminine.” A new concept of masculinity that today is becoming more established, but of which Alejandro was a pioneer and driving force of. “The key to success is connecting with your present moment, being observant and aware of the social need that there is.” To respond to those social needs, Alejandro’s collections draw from his Andalucian roots: from flamenco, fairs, colour, flounces, polka dots, even religious iconography. “For me, Easter was a beautiful time of year. Every time I see a procession, I say: My shows fall short compared to this!”
“I love letting work flow from coincidence. I believe extreme curiosity is completely necessary. It’s a way of life, of breathing, of feeling”
Nevertheless, all his creations have the same soul: the desire to break with the norm, to play, to experiment. “In my creative process, first I have to find a direction. It normally stems from wanting to break with what I’ve done before. I analyse myself, the moment the brand is experiencing, and then look for that more visual, more physical inspiration. I always start drawing a series of silhouettes that are completely subject to change. I love letting work flow from coincidence. I believe extreme curiosity is completely necessary. It’s a way of life, of breathing, of feeling,” he declares.
Countryside and city: yin and yang
“For me talent is luck or a gift. A kind of authentic language you have inside. It’s a way of facing life, giving others something useful, that contributes, that changes them if possible,” states the designer. “Alejandro and Palomo are still the same person. Alejandro is much simpler, and Palomo is everything I’ve been in life but with that more creative and freer side,” he adds.
His talent, as well as work, draws from many things: from the street, especially from watching and listening to people, but also from art, flowers, the landscape... “Nature is, inevitably, part of my environment. I live in front of Sierra Morena. I can see the mountain from my window. I’m very inspired by Velázquez’s paintings and the background of those paintings is closely related to the background I see when I’m designing,” he explains.
“For me talent is luck or a gift. A kind of authentic language you have inside. It’s a way of facing life”
The countryside-city dichotomy is the magic formula for him. “Even though I’m a small-town guy, I also need to come to the city to get fresh ideas. Madrid is everything to me. I come here to live, feel, have fun, fall in love, eat tasty food... In Posadas I have lifelong friends, but here I have everyone who works in the same industry as I do and whom I connect with directly.”
To recharge, he flees from the hustle and bustle and the heat: “When I need to disconnect, to go on airplane mode, I try to travel, to escape. I go to Galicia, to the Pyrenees, somewhere cool where there’s less pollution.” His next destination, which he’s completely focused on at the moment, the New York fashion show in September, won’t give him much of a break this summer. But his sights are already set beyond that: “Long term, in five or ten years, I can still see myself at Palomo Spain with less stress, being able to just be creative without worrying too much about numbers, strategies and stuff. I can also see myself as the creative director of a company, maybe in Paris or the United States.” Any bets?