“A harmonious combination of design and materials,” could not be a truer reflection of Sonia Carrasco’s SS23 Collection Presented at Paris Fashion Week. The Spanish designer's attention to detail surpasses the finished product from advanced tailoring techniques developed during her time at Phoebe Philo’s Celine to exaggerated craftsmanship attributable to her era at McQueen.
Spring Summer 2023: ‘Sex and Craft,’ highlights a progressive understanding of circularity. Featuring an exclusive collaboration with LVMH’s Nona Source, Carrasco’s collection reawakens the ‘sleeping beauties’ deemed deadstock castaways of seasons’ past.
With the support of the LVMH-backed re-sourcing platform launched in 2021, offering emerging creatives in Europe access to high-quality fabrics and leathers, Carrasco’s elevated, traceable collection comes with something to say to the world of luxury. 5'ELEVEN'' Magazine stole Sonia away from catwalk rehearsals to hear it all first-hand...
Words by Isabel Froemming.
Sonia, with quite a wide-ranging design experience under your belt, how does your tenure reflect where your eponymous label has landed today?
I would define Sonia Carrasco with two words: SEX and CRAFT. The mood when we are designing a collection to the energy in the studio and showroom represents this beautiful friction. Sex is the antagonist of the past and its progress. Craft emphasises an appreciation of design, culture, and technique ranging from elements like macrame to crochet and knitwear.
If sex is the future, the backbone of human evolution, this label and collection ask how that understanding dictates we imagine our future selves. In this collection, you’ll see the clothes are not just singular garments but motifs for pillars of the brand. This mood inspired by a duality, with underlying elements of experimentation, manifests this new energy behind Sonia Carrasco.
‘Perfection in the process' has become a sort of tagline of your work, can you expand upon what this means to you and to your customers?
The process is the most important part of a brand. We define Sonia Carrasco as 'in the process' or ‘perfection is in the process.’ In each garment, you can see the work that went into its creation. From hems choicely left unstitched or methodically cut, these decisions are meant to induce an understanding of the process of garment making. Maybe I’ll flip the lining to the outside or reverse the seams in a garment, to emphasise the beauty in its making. These decisions represent value-add to my collection, as a customer will see and feel the design process. It’s powerful.
What is your favourite piece from the collection? What do you want people to feel in your clothes?
I believe in the power of the woman. That's the reason the team is all female. My collections should encourage empowerment and trust in oneself, as each item is made with transparency
and self-sufficiency for females in mind. I want those wearing Sonia Carrasco to feel an ease and fortitude in my clothing, driving women to pursue their goals and aspirations.
What does radical transparency mean to you?
Our choices in production represent a commitment to our shared environment. Since the start, Sonia Carrasco has worked with a mix of recycled, vegan, and organic materials hand sourced in Italy, Portugal and Spain. Socially speaking, we partner with FUNDACIÓ ARED, who provide us with our highly skilled team in Barcelona. When it comes to sourcing the best materials and people, we continuously ask our partners where it all comes from, from the fabrics down to the fibres. They hate me for it because I ask all the uncomfortable questions. But I need to make sure I am being sold the truth.
When it comes to production, the design and manufacturing all occur in our studio in Barcelona. Except, the knitwear is produced in Italy because the artisans there are the best. Sonia Carrasco has recently incorporated 3-d sampling as well, representing another opportunity for waste elimination along the process.
The reason why we call this radical is because our label doesn’t need to preach each day about our decisive efforts or ask for praise in order to do the right thing. We, also, don’t hide anything. We do what we can to reduce the air miles of each fabric and empower the most people possible across production.
For me, it doesn’t make sense to make a kind of fashion I don’t fully understand. We are constantly trying to do better. This is why we are excited to welcome a new member into the Sonia Carrasco family, Nona Source this season.
How did the partnership with Nona Source come about? How have you as a designer learned to creatively recalibrate within the boundaries of availability?
I actually always worked in this methodology as a designer, where fabrics spoke to me and helped me imagine how initial concepts behind a Sonia Carrasco collection would come to life. I can have a blurry conception of what I want, then the materials do the talking.
I approached the Nona Source showroom with a specific design I imagined on hand, and I found and touched what are truly these ‘sleeping beauties’ at our disposal allowing me to bring my concepts to life.
How do sustainability and circularity fit into the narrative of Paris Fashion Week, associated with couture, extravagance, and luxury?
We emerging designers are what has to be ‘the fashion.’ I hope that the big brothers and big designers are learning from us, and taking note of how we are doing things. We are creating a proposition for the world with each conscious decision. The hero brands, the Chanel’s, Dior’s...This world has an even larger opportunity to show us all more than things. There is a captivated, impressionable audience at their fingertips to tap.
How does your ‘progressive approach to luxury’ extend past the materials at hand?
With everything we do, Sonia Carrasco aims to have the minimum impact on the planet and the greatest on culture. The label works with FUNDACIÓ ARED, which provides support and opportunities for women of domestic violence. I’ve noted in past interviews how important social collaborations are to me as someone who deals with her own mental health, as this can still be such a ‘voodoo,’ unglamorous topic in luxury fashion.
More than anything when it comes to the choices Sonia Carrasco makes, whether related to material or people, I hope to emphasise that conscious decisions shouldn’t put any brand into this box of ‘sustainable fashion brand.’ What I am doing, whom I am working with, and the fabrics I am using are luxury. We are a fashion brand, point blank. If we can do it, other fashion brands can do it too. True luxury is accountability.