Fashion in Tenerife: an industry that has a lot to tell
Our islands must have something special concentrating so many artists per square meter. Creativity is found in every corner of this enclave in the middle of the Atlantic and, of course, the world of fashion could not be exempt.
Since many years, the textile industry in our country has been one of the great leaders of the Spanish Brand, hence its growth has been unstoppable also in places such as Tenerife. In fact, its peak came with the help of Tenerife Moda, a program developed by Cabildo de Tenerife (Local Government) for the promotion and encouragement of fashion on the island.
“The world should know about the enormous wealth of talent that Canary Islands produces”
We have had the great pleasure of talking with Lupe Castro about trends, designers and the fashion scene in Tenerife. With a renowned profile in the industry, this creative director, writer and stylist is not only an expert in fashion and lifestyle, but also the founder of the Fashion Space Art Project, an interesting space dedicated to art, music and fashion that motivates designers and other emerging professionals who want to make a place for themselves in this tough industry.
Lupe has been immersed in the fashion world in Tenerife for years and insists on how little is known about the work of Canarian creators beyond our borders: “The world should know about the enormous wealth of talent that Canary Islands produces”.
What is the one thing that we should know about the fashion industry in Tenerife?
Personally, I consider the Canary Islands as one country, so I don’t think I am able to really distinguish designers according to which particular island they come from. However, I will try to highlight the designers who ateliers are here in Tenerife. At the top end of the spectrum, we have designers such as Marco y Maria who have their atelier in Santa Cruz and are renowned worldwide for their bridal and red-carpet pieces, with a big fan base in the UK, including celebrities and actresses such as Nell Hudson. There is also Amarca, Sedomir Rodriguez de la Sierra, and Juan Carlos Armas all doing spectacular evening and party wear.
Which professionals working within the fashion industry are making a difference and setting trends on the island?
That is a very subjective question. We have three big modelling agencies Pop, Más Q Moda and Ole, together they manage a huge portfolio of highly talented young models who have walked on the runways at international fashion weeks around the world. The fact that international fashion magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Icon all come to the island for major photoshoots here, means that our production companies and photographers are well-known for their talent and professionalism.
“Vibrant colour is certainly a Canarian thing and many designers are introducing a lot of artisanal elements into their creations”
Speaking of Canarian inspiration is to refer to its unusual natural species, landscapes and the influence of the ocean, but it is also a different way of approaching creative processes. Tenerife fashion has acquired its own identity over the years, something that Lupe has also insisted on during the conversation. It is also worth bearing in mind some of the major events in the industry to get an idea of the impact of the textile sector in Tenerife, such as Tenerife Fashion Beach Costa Adeje, which will take place between October 14th and 20th, only a few kilometres away from Hotel Suite Villa María.
Following the controversy with Carolina Herrera’s last collection being accused of cultural appropriation, the industry is now considering the real value of traditional costumes. Do you think that someday we will see collections inspired by the typical Canarian national costumes or that some of the elements of these costumes could be included in our day to day looks?
I think designers already do incorporate elements of the national dress in their collections. Vibrant colour is certainly a Canarian thing and, in fact, many designers, are introducing a lot of artisanal elements into their designs, with the encouragement of the Cabildo. Quite a few designers have already featured our traditional rosettes in their collections. Here in the Canaries, we are also surrounded by amazing flora and fauna, and these elements are depicted in a lot of our local designers’ swimwear ranges and accessories collections, like Loca Playa and Seco y Seco.
This summer, the fisherman’s hat is back; Marc Jacobs is encouraging men to wear headscarves and everything that is exaggerated seems to be on the agenda for international designers. Do you think that the fashion world is currently having a creative moment, or could it be that we are running out of ideas?
I believe that fashion actually mirrors the mood of the times, just as art does. Currently we are in the middle of huge change all around the world and one of these key shifts, is the blurring of traditional gender roles and stereotypes. I have been seeing this shift within the fashion industry for a couple of years now, with the introduction of softer colours and more fluid cuts. I don’t think that the industry or its designers are leaning towards the ‘exaggerated’. If you look throughout history, the court of Louis 14th was much more exaggerated, as was the fashion of the twenties.
A universe full of challenges for fashion in Tenerife
Innovation, Dynamism, Internationalization, Continuous Analysis, Cooperation, Strategy, Creativity, Product Valuation, Implementation, Product and Brand Image… These are some aspects that Tenerife Moda has set itself as an objective for the consolidation of the textile sector in Tenerife.
Talent is present on our island, with very diverse actors ranging from designers, agencies and models, to photographers, stylists, editors and even bloggers. This is a very promising sector that also serves as a new gateway for the crafts from Tenerife and the creativity of our designers. Without a doubt, a project with multiple components that will give much to talk about in the coming decades.