This story first appeared in the January 29, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Roberto Etxeberría and his namesake brand are all over the fashion radar.
Last year, the 38-year-old Barcelona-based men’s wear designer participated in a barrage of global trade events with Gernika, his sober gray and black spring collection. His unique brand of elongated silhouettes, below-the-knee pants, shorts and generally relaxed, volume-conscious shapes with zips-no-buttons detailing caught the attention of buyers in New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Berlin, Prague and Mexico.
Current accounts include such high-profile shops as Oak, Atrium and Untitled in New York, and Yoahm in Paris.
For next fall’s Midwinter Men collection, Etxeberría said, “I’m showing a complete day-to-night wardrobe. Volume takes inspiration from the Twenties and retro British tailoring, especially for evening clothes. Silhouettes are snug at the waist and knee, with a stronger shoulder and hip through Japanese sleeves and a double pleat with either a zipper or a seam.
The designer, who started his business in 2008, said his last two collections were based on roomy shapes and volume.
“Without meaning to, I distanced myself from traditional classic cuts,” he said. “I need to revisit the concept.”
Luxury fabrics “are fundamental in my work,” and for next fall, wools and felt are mixed with leather and fur. “The felts trace such traditional patterns as herringbone, houndstooth and jacquard, and obviously similar characteristics apply to the women’s line,” he added.
Retail prices are 240 to 800 euros ($328 to $1,094) for knit-and-leather combination pieces, and up to 1,800 euros ($2,461) for all-leather items.
Etxeberría works from his home, a stylish multilevel house with a Fifties vibe, swimming pool and penthouse studio skirting the Catalan capital. And that’s how he has managed to stay afloat in these rough economic times — “all prototypes and production [of the collections] is done there,” he said, adding that international sales have also been key.
Spanish brand Ana Locking by Ana González has a lot to say for itself — and it’s never quite what you might think.
For instance, her current spring collection, called What Does God Say, took as its starting point the American one-dollar bill.
“Inspiration takes form in an international icon, the American dollar, she said in her spring show notes. “The phrase ‘In God We Trust’ makes us reflect upon the title of the collection, What Does God Say. A contemporary man, after losing his faith, will in many cases believe more in the power of money than in himself or his own instincts.”
She added, “We’re losing our faith and our hope in each other; we need to be ourselves.”
For fall, the 43-year-old Madrid-based designer taps into a coast-to-coast trip across the U.S. American Landscape features pants and separates including “unconventional” sweatshirts with fewer dresses than usual. Colors are woodsy green, coral, red, brown and a denimlike blue.
The collection has an air of the modern cowboy, and it’s all mixed up with unexpected print and fabric combos like cotton tweed, Lurex and double-face Neoprene paired with sequins and, in some cases, feathers.
Retail prices range from 90 euros ($123) for a top or T-shirt to 200 euros ($274) for a skirt and 800 euros (about $1,100) for eveningwear.
Why the big interest in Americana? The American market is top priority, González said. “I love the U.S. culture — it’s very practical. Americans don’t waste your time and they have a great sense of humor.”
Her business, begun in 2008, is still small, with sales of about $200,000 a year. Currently the brand is looking for an investor, and scouting international showrooms in Paris and the U.S., “where we’re making inroads with various projects,” she said, specifically in Los Angeles and Hollywood. “It’s a bad moment in Spain. There is no buying power here, and no experience with fashion other than made-to-measure and low cost.”