A hodgepodge that surpasses the line marking the thin boundary between concepts that go hand in hand, like fashion and art, and overcoming mediocrity; these are the goals of the South 36.32 N International Fashion Festival: The New Fashion Latitude.
South 36.32N could be described as a singular fashion rebel, fighting against false fashion and for the independent creativity of those who try to live outside the box. This declaration makes the hair on the back of our necks stand up while bringing a smile to our lips. And best of all, it’s in a singular location, the oldest city in Western Europe, Cádiz. What more could you ask for?
From the beginnings of So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, we’ve bet on originality, creativity and independence, anything that breaks out of traditional channels and commercial designs and stayed away from anything meaningless, that doesn’t bring anything to the already saturated world of fashion. We are defenders of the union of fashion with other artistic disciplines, because they should both come from the same place, rule-breaking talent. That’s why South 36.32N is the perfect platform, it’s the embodiment of what we love and our mission statements are almost one and the same.
And this year, in its ninth edition, we’ve been invited to take part. Among other activities, we’ll be shooting the official Street Style event and we’ll be speaking on the 27th of June. Lourdes Rodríguez and Anabel Cuervas will talk about “How to be an fashion entrepreneur through Coolhunting” and we’re ecstatic! The talk will be in Spanish though, so bring your translator!
SO CATCHY!: How and when did South 36.32 N come about?
SOUTH 36.32N Team: It came about in 2006 when we were coming back to our hometown after spending a long time abroad working and studying. We saw that Cádiz, and the rest of Andalusia, didn’t have a fashion festival that fit certain characteristics, that was both international and a showcase for new talent as well as combining fashion and design with other artistic disciplines.
SC!: Who’s running the Festival?
ES: Susana Galindo and Ana Sánchez are the directors of the Festival. Susana is an illustrator, muralist and textile pattern designer. She studied graphic design and then did a postgraduate in Illustration in Barcelona. She’s been with South for the last 9 years and, together with Ana, she ran a clothing firm called “Solitas” for 6 years. Ana Sánchez is a fashion designer who studied design and clothing and later specialized in industrial pattern designing. She started organizing South together with Susana in 2006 and she does it while also working as a designer and manager for her own clothing firm As by As, with which she’s participated on catwalks such as Ego at Cibeles.
SC!: Were there any big challenges that you had to overcome from the first edition until now?
ES: A ton. Organizing an international festival in Cádiz requires a lot of responsibility, maximum attention to detail, tying up a thousand loose ends at once and hoping that everything will come out right, from selecting the participants, to managing the publicity, working with the press, producing the festival, etc. It’s a combination between bureaucracy and art.
SC!: Who supports South and what does that do for you?
ES: Economically speaking, the main sponsor for South is Cádiz City Council, which has been helping us out since the beginning. We later got support from the Chamber of Commerce, the IED in Madrid (Istituto Europeo di Design) and a few other private companies participate in different ways.
SC!: Define South 36.32N. What are your objectives?
ES: Our main objective is to promote cultural production and tourism more than just putting on a show. We want to create a live showcase where businesses, suppliers, clients and followers of fashion and contemporary art can see new proposals for art and design firsthand. We hope that business ties will be formed which could promote economic activity in the sector as well as fashion design and an avant-garde movement in the region.
SC!: Could you explain this sentence: “South comes to life with an entertaining and original format that is a declaration of intent against a life of mediocrity. What do you think is mediocre about the world of fashion?
ES: When we said that, we were referring to South as a breath of fresh air, an opening of minds that awakens creativity and inspires the imagination, and any fashion lacking in that, won’t be a part of South.
SC!: What do you think new designers are bringing to the world of fashion, and culture in general, when they try to break with tradition and be independent?
ES: They’re a source of inspiration for other artists and designers, and they bring out the creativity in others. We like designers who aren’t afraid of not being able to cash in on their collection, those who use design as their form of artistic expression.
SC!: What do you want to bring to world of fashion?
ES: Internationalization. And for a degree of synergy to occur amongst the different sectors that participate. South is basically a meeting point for designers, business people and the general public, a place where they can have a truly unique experience. Our goal is for Cádiz’s Candelaria Fort to become the nerve center of international fashion during those few days.
SC!: How do you choose who will take part in the Festival? Are there any specific requirements?
ES: We mainly choose from those who show that they’ve gone the extra mile: with research, inspiration, creativity, innovation, originality and artisanry. The career path of the designer is important, how they present their dossier, high-quality images, and the work has to be more artistic than commercial.
SC!: How do these past 9 years look? Have you noticed any trends, results…
ES: In the end it looks very positive. Every year there are more and more designers and artists interested in participating and the Festival has gone international. We now receive applications from the best schools in Europe, like the one in Antwerp, and from as far away as Iceland, Denmark and Finland. Over the last 9 years, we’ve been a launching pad for new talents such as Juan Vidal, Moisés Nieto, Leandro Cano and others.
Other professionals from the world have also taken part, like Roberto Diz, José Castro, Miguel Adrover, Carlos Díez, María Escoté and many more. We even crossed the pond in 2012 and brought back South American design and work as a bridge between designers from Morocco and all over Africa. We are definitely in a privileged spot geographically since it serves as a melting pot for many cultures. We’ve shown unprecedented collections that would never have come to Andalusia or Spain, and we’ve done it all while promoting, Cádiz, Andalusia and Spain as a cultural tourist hotspot.
Photos courtesy of South 36.32 N International Fashion Festival
Translated by Michael Padilla
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