Carlos Bellido (Jerez, 1989) is one of those people who you just have to admire, if for no other reason than his perseverance. He’s a perfectionist; the young artist has been able to adapt his career path to his own style of art and design. Studying and working in multiple fields (art, millinery, fashion films, surface design), he seems to have finally hit upon his calling: Womenswear. As he puts it: “The shortest path isn’t always the best path”.
He considers himself to be a modernist designer, cinephile, and he confesses to being obsessed with art. His hats are surprising and his fashion films contrast fashion with a social conscience. Light is a constant source of inspiration for Carlos Bellido and he shows it with his sophisticated prints, where geometry plays an integral part.
His life is that of a multi-media artist, both hardworking and ambitious. At So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins, we sat down with him recently and, once again we found ourselves in the presence of a promising young artist in the world of design.
SO CATCHY!: A guy from Jerez goes to London to study Foundation and Art Design… what did you learn there?
CARLOS BELLIDO: To study and work, which is the best way to learn really. My first studies were at Central Saint Martins. It was incredible to see what you can come up with and how your thinking evolves in such a short time. I learned, for the first time, the metamorphosis of a concept from an idea to its development.
SC!: And then you moved on to Millinery. What happened?
CB: I’ve always loved hats, I think they’re very interesting. The fact that you can make almost anything and put it on your head and that creative potential has always fascinated me. I’ve loved creating things with my own hands since I was a child, painting and gluing without any limits, putting things together. I thought that millinery fit better with my abilities in design since cutting and pattern designing, at the time, seemed to be so calculating; it was less madness. So I spent a year at Kensington and Chelsea College learning how to do it. It left a deep impression and I’m still working in the field.
SC!: You say that wasn’t enough and so you started studying other things as well, including the making of fashion films. What were you looking for?
CB: Nothing is ever enough for a perfectionist, and less so when you’re young, in a new city and starting to really test your own limits. The fashion films started by chance, as an addition on to my millinery projects. I wanted my work to be more than just the briefs that were given as assignments in class. I really started to get into it when Nick Knight made “Visions Couture” with Daphne Guinness for Showstudio, I remember that when they were doing it, there was a live stream on their website so you could see the making-of, live. I was hooked and started to get serious and soon enough I had my first film, “An Expression”, which was a project for Greenpeace using models with hats and prints that expressed what was happening in the arctic because of humans.
SC!: Your path and your curiosity have drawn you to Surface Design, what are you learning now?
CB: Surface Design, like everything else in my life, also came up by chance. Despite this, it wasn’t less important to my studies, in fact I’d say the opposite. I received various recommendations from people that I admire to get into it. And it’s really opened my mind. You study materials and prints on all kinds of surfaces, including textiles. You get a brief in class and you use that as the starting point for work in your own field. It takes you to another level than if you’d only focused on one field.
The London College of Communication, as part of the University of the Arts London, is a conceptual and traditional school at the same time. It’s the school of the real London, it’s revolutionary and punk. I think that this is where part of me really began to identify as a Londoner.
SC!: What’s your favorite material to use?
CB: The material that has most captured my attention is probably metal, although I don’t actually have a preference for any specific material. You’ve got to be open to any possibilities.
SC!: You said that what you really want to do is make womenswear, and perhaps you’ve chosen the long road on your way there. Did you know from the beginning that you wanted to end up designing clothes for women?
CB: The shortest path isn’t always the best path. I like living in the moment while at the same time having a goal in mind. I appreciate life and I feel lucky and privileged to do what I want and to be creative. Womenswear will be my final destination, the objective. I think that the time is coming to focus on only one field but for the moment, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself; I want to be open to change and personal evolution.
SC!: Why womenswear?
CB: Why design for women? Women are always the protagonists, not only in fashion. For example, I’m a huge fan of directors of women, as they’re called. Luis Buñuel and Hitchcock, the way present actresses like Catherine Deneuve or Joan Fontaine. Women inspire me, inside and out. The way they pose, express themselves, love, there’s no one better. As Antonio Gala said, “Men compartmentalize their lives, love, work, etc., but when women find love, they leave everything behind.” For me, women aren’t only objects that look good with different fabrics, that concept of women could never be a muse for me. I try to take a deeper look, to see what’s hiding behind their eyes. The fact that I can work with them, dress them, direct them, capture them and touch what they hold inside is and has always been my artistic and professional goal in life. Maybe that’s because I grew up surrounded by very feminine women with incredible personalities, including my mother.
SC!: Where do you see yourself in the near future? What would you truly like to be doing?
CB: In the near future? Enjoying what I’m doing as much as I do now, in the worlds of art and fashion of course.
SC!: Are there any firms that you’d like to work with?
CB: Firms? They can change their image overnight and become something totally different. I admire a lot of them, whether they be big or on the cutting edge, more avant-garde. I love Chalayan, for example.
SC!: What do you think London offers you that you couldn’t find in Spain?
CB: Both countries have made me who I am, traditional and tied to my roots. Spain is a part of my day-to-day life in the same way the London is. Both places provide me with inspiration every day.
SC!: How do you think young creators such as yourself could be helped in their work?
CB: Grants and assistance are great and I strongly believe in them, but I also think that hard work is what will really take anyone who’s interested or has the talent to the next level. Fashion and art are my manifesto and revelation, and they are constantly changing. Diana Vreeland said: “Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events. You can even see the approaching of a revolution in clothes. You can see and feel everything in clothes.” Fashion should be our air and everyone should be used to it. Educational institutions should put their students’ work on posters and show it in galleries, organize events and produce underground magazines. I believe in the power of young artists to push themselves forward into the professional or artistic spotlight, they can shape themselves as individuals and become actors who find their own means of changing and evolving. We can’t spend our time waiting for assistance and grants, we have the ability to change things, to do things differently for ourselves.
SC!: Favorite designer?
CB: I could name so many, from Cristobal Balenciaga, McQueen, Chalayan…
SC!: Your favorite new designer?
CB: Maiko Takeda, a milliner who graduated from the Royal College of Arts. That was newness!
SC!: In Spain, who do you like best?
CB: Amaya Arzuaga.
SC!: Are there any publications or websites that you follow?
SC!: What other types of artistic expression inspire you?
SC!: Your unreachable dream?
CB: None of my dreams are unreachable, I want to live intensely, doing what I like and surrounded by those who love me. I want to be happy and healthy, everything else I can work on.
SC!: You couldn’t live without…
Photos courtesy of xxodigital, Francisco Gómez de Villaboa, 7th Man Magazine and Ram Sherguill
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla