interview | eñaut

Only a few months after graduating from the Instituto Europeo di Design (IED), where he now also teaches, Barcelona-based designer Eñaut launched his own brand and immediately began to attract attention and accolades for his minimalist aesthetic and sustainable vision. In 2018, he won the REC.0/080 Barcelona Fashion award for Best Designer and then Best Emerging Design Collection when he first showed at the fashion week in 2019. Returning to the Barcelona catwalks for the first live edition since the start of the pandemic, he shares the inspiration for his latest collection.

It’s now been five years since you graduated. Has your career so far gone the way you planned? 

The truth is that I am very happy with how my career has evolved. I started with a very small collection, and I am excited with the result of my latest collections. I think that I am achieving a maturity with which I feel very comfortable when it comes to continuing to create and evolve. In addition to the brand, I have started my path in education – a new facet for me – which has been very rewarding and enriching. 

Do you have a different approach when designing for men and women, or would you consider your garments ‘genderless’? 

I try to make most of my clothes genderless, although it is true that many of the looks that female models wear are designed for the shape of their body, adjusting it more to them, achieving a sexier silhouette in my opinion. On the other hand, I don’t like to adjust the male silhouette so much, continuing with an oversized look that characterises the brand and that helps to strengthen this genderless fashion philosophy. 

How does it feel to be back at 080 Barcelona Fashion and showing in front of a live audience again? 

It’s very exciting. There was a lot of desire to feel the warmth of the audience and the nerves of the live show. Despite not getting a more careful lookbook, or a more controlled video, I believe that fashion is to be felt and enjoyed live. That is why we have prepared this great show with live music and a very interesting set of lights. 

Could you tell us about the collection? I believe it was inspired by the Prestige oil spillage that occurred in 2002. Why did you decide to highlight this issue now? 

It is an issue that should concern us all. I think it is very important that fashion has a message behind it, not making fashion that is empty and meaningless beyond sales. If we want to improve, we have to be more aware when creating and consuming fashion. That is why I try to contribute my grain of sand and take advantage of the voice that a platform like 080 Barcelona Fashion offers me. 

The previous collection, OIL SEA, reminded us that catastrophes like the Prestige, which happened 20 years ago, continue to happen today. I decided to deal with this topic because it just coincided with the reiteration of this problem on the coasts of Peru and Nigeria this very year. With this new collection I wanted to go further. 

Many times, the problem of the oceans is talked about, for example referring to the island of plastic that has been generated, but are we aware that more than 90% of the plastic in the ocean is submerged, or that sea plants are one of the most important crew members on earth? These coastal plants can store up to 20% more carbon per square meter than forests. In fact, 93% of the world’s CO2 is stored in the sea. Many times, we are not aware of these problems because they are submerged, and we do not have them at a glance. This is how UNDER was born, to value the work of corals in the environmental impact and warn that we are destroying them despite not seeing it. This is how we launched our “Don’t forget to look under” message. 

And how is it manifested and interpreted in the garments themselves? 

All this inspiration can be seen reflected in the collection in several aspects, starting with the choice of colour, being coral pink or pastel pink, along with the flagship colour that is black, and the use of white in reference to the dead coral that reaches our beaches. We also identify it in the use of more organic forms, such as the volumes of the corsets, or in the maxi ceramic pieces of the shoulders, and in the choice of fabrics with hair that looks like seaweed or in the use of fringes, and the jewellery and glasses with the aforementioned organic forms, all simulating different forms of marine flora. 

Why do you think fashion can be effective in communicating ideas and opinions on broader issues, be that political, environmental or something else? 

If we are aware that fashion is the second most polluting industry on the planet, and we want to change this, we must do things differently. It is our job, as fashion designers, to offer a good product, a good alternative, be sustainable, with an ethical process and if it also sends us messages and helps us understand or be aware of what is happening, then all the better. The most important and fundamental thing is to create awareness when consuming fashion, and for this I try to send all possible messages and information while trying to offer the most sustainable product possible. 

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words. Huma Humayun
special thanks. 080 Barcelona Fashion

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