Ismael Gómez Figueroa, the Andalusian designer behind the firm “La Aguja en el Dedo” (meaning needle in hand) never intended to devote himself to fashion, in fact, as he sees it, it’s all one big coincidence. The world of design had always been important in his life and so he decided early on to study Advertising and Graphic Design. A series of coincidences led him, over time, to a world he originally knew nothing about, a world that pulled him in deeper and deeper until it became a vocation, and how he makes his living now.
His clothes, made by hand, are based on conceptual and geometric shapes and have made the firm a point of reference in contemporary Andalusian fashion.
We met with Ismael in his workshop in on 3 Recaredo street, in Seville.
SO CATCHY!: When and how did you know that you wanted to be a designer? How did you discover your calling?
ISMAEL GÓMEZ: I started making prints of my designs and illustrations on fabrics and t-shirts. When people started showing interest in them, I decided to make more elaborate pieces with found patterns and such. Studying different shapes, patterns and textures, I began to learn more about this world and I got more involved when I started making the first collections.
SC!: What did you study at university?
IG: I studied audiovisual communication, advertising and public relations at the School of Information Sciences, in Seville, but I’ve never had any classes in pattern, fashion or textile design. I’ve taught myself all of the ins and outs of the business and learned how to produce anything that I can think of through self-study.
SC!: How did you create your brand? Tell us what it was like to start your own workshop and what makes “La Aguja en el Dedo” different?
IG: “La Aguja en el Dedo” started in 2005, printing illustrations on cloth.
The idea for the name comes from artisanal handicraft that was originally used to make clothing, and which is still in use to this day, with a needle in hand
What makes this brand different are the geometric shapes in the pieces that we use in all of the collections, shapes that many important clothing chains have been using recently, and the choice of cloth with eccentric prints and the combinations of textures that can be a bit shocking, yet contemporary.
SC!: Tell us about your first collection.
IG: I think it was in March 2009. We were invited as promising young designers to the Platform Space at Andalucía de Moda.
It was a collection of only ten, untitled pieces and it was focused mainly on the sizes of balloon shaped fabric and featured what is now our brand signature, triangular shapes.
SC!: What are the most important events that you’ve participated in since you started out?
IG: In order of importance, they would be Cibeles MFW (Madrid Fashion Week) as designers for the Ego Showroom and in Andalucía South 32.36.N
SC!: What kind of people wear your designs or visit your workshop?
IG: Even though the brand started out with a more casual style, time and experience have changed the designs, and the public.
Nowadays, mainly due to the fact that we are for the most part making suits to order, our public is somewhat more mature, but still contemporary. People who disregard elegance try to maintain an appearance adapted to new influences on society, and to avoid things that are more classical.
SC!: What designers do you admire from Spain and abroad?
IG: Moisés Nieto, El colmillo de Morsa, Nicolás Vaudelet, Gareth Pugh, Leandro Cano…
SC!: Where do you find your inspiration?
IG: The fabrics that I work with provide me with the majority of the inspiration for a collection. Ideas almost always come from an encounter with a type of fabric or an interesting print that sets off my ideas.
SC!: What websites or blogs do you read in your field?
SC!: What is a normal day in your workshop like?
IG: Every day is different. It all depends on whether it’s a period in which we’re creating a collection or working on something made to measure, a wedding dress or making clothes for different shops.
Usually, there’s plenty of work to do and a feeling of satisfaction at the end of the day.
SC!: What fabrics, styles and colors are you working with these days?
IG: For the upcoming spring collection, we have a print on silk in very cold and futuristic colors that blend with bold fabrics like felt or silk. Viscose is always important in our collections; we’ve never forgotten the t-shirts that started the brand, whether in viscose or cotton, and we include them in all of our collections.
SC!: Do you wear your own designs?
IG: My personal style is rather simple, but I always try to wear something from one of our collections, usually the most simplest piece.
SC!: Where can we find your work?
IG: Our clothes are sold in four places throughout Spain, but mainly in Andalusia and Madrid. You can find our latest designs at No Lugar The Art Company.
SC!: What are you going to do next? Do you have any ideas or goals laid out?
IG: To continue working… and not much else.
SC! How would you sum up your experience as a designer? Is it easy to get on in the world of fashion?
IG: I’d say, satisfying. I feel fortunate to be able to dedicate my time to doing what I love and to be able to make a living at it, even though at times it can be quite difficult.
SC!: Color, article of clothing and your favorite fabric.
IG: My article of clothing: The t-shirt
My color: black
My fabric: viscose
Translated by Michael Padilla