Martín Maldonado is a talented young designer from Quito (Ecuador), currently living in Barcelona. His techniques, his ability to take you to another place, and his amazing imagination caught our attention recently and left us wanting to know more about this rising star in the world of fashion design.
One of our motivations here at So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins is to find out what’s going on in the minds of creative types, how they generate the concepts and ideas that end up as finished pieces so, of course, talking to someone as interesting as Martín Across was a pleasure. We hope you’ll agree.
So Catchy!: Martín, we’re still speechless after seeing your latest collection, “The Landscaper”. It’s amazing how you’ve brought together technology and nature with the authentic mountain landscapes based on algorithms. Can you tell us how the concept came about?
Martin Across: Everything starts with the connection we have to what is naturally around us and within reach. In summers, I like to return home to my country, Ecuador. I remember taking trips by car to different parts of the country. The fact that you can stick your head out the wind and admire the things in front of you and see a landscape full of depth, replete with layers, colours and textures has always amazed me. I’ve been able to see many different landscapes in many different circumstances; from the hottest inactive volcano in the Galapagos Islands to the overwhelmingly cold countryside in Cotopaxi. The process of seeing the land in its different forms, with different ecosystems has given a sense of narrative to the collection. “The Landscaper” also shows an evolution in the relationship to climate. It’s a way of showing how things change over time and of playing with that. When I got back to Barcelona from the last trip, I began to think about all of the things that I had seen and my desire was to take them to another level. I wanted to combine what I had lived in Ecuador with something that is constantly leaving it’s mark on society, technology. I wanted to define these landscapes, seeing them through a type of digital filter where the setting is defined by lines and colours. The rest comes naturally. Having defined the concept, the rest was working out the same idea of virtual landscapes with different technologies and in different mediums.
SC!: The glasses in the collection are especially eye-catching, did you design them? Where were they made and where did the inspiration to create them come from?
MA: Everything is 100% made by me. From designing each piece in CAD format to laser cutting and assembling them. The accessories and the way the glasses are finished I did by hand. For my thesis (“The Collector“), I was inspired by topography. Using layers of wood of different sizes, I wanted to represent a feeling of depth. The lenses provide a feeling of exploration and the idea is to make everything look as if it were being magnified.
“The Landscaper” gives the impression of layers of sediment and sharp rocks that are interposed. I wanted to create the feeling of seeing a mountain split in two. All of the layers of rocks, the colours and the textures were part of the inspiration for these accessories. The lens plays with reflections and gives different perspectives of light.
SC!: What is the connection, if there is any, between “The Collector” and “The Landscaper”? What kind of message do you think comes across in your collections?
MA: “The Collector” has a softer and more child-like touch to it. The feeling I want to transmit is a subtle one that comes from my childhood. “The Landscaper” takes its tone from the exploration of graphics for my thesis. I thought that it would be the perfect way to take my work to another level and, more than anything, to try something that isn’t easy, something more challenging.
I remember when I was a child I was fascinated by rocks and crystals. I loved to categorize and define them according to their characteristics. I carried a rock book with me wherever I went. I think that these obsessions, these memories or maybe these roots, are some of the things that bring flow and sense to my work. I feel that I am totally involved in the work and this sensitivity makes it more personal. I believe that these types of things are what mark my work, having a personal relationship with them.
SC!: The music from your shows is quite special. What are you looking for when you choose something? Is music important for your creative process?
MA: Music is another medium that helps to further define a concept. It’s important for me to reflect the emotions and feelings that I want people to have in what they see and what they hear. My worked is affected by everything that surrounds me. Creating music or mixing sounds that evoke new sensations in and of itself inspires me. When I am working, I feel a strong connection to the mediums that I am using. At times I’ll find myself I the workshop listening to the music that defines the project I’m focused on.
SC!: Tell us what you’re working on now.
MA: Right now I’m working on my third collection. I’m defining the concept for the new season and setting things up for the next few months.
SC!: You’ve worked with other creative types like Natalio Martin or ‘a-bof‘, who else would you like to collaborate with?
MA: Natalio and María Blanco (a-bof) were incredibly generous to work with me. I always look for collaborations with people because I believe that by working together and combining aesthetics, similar yet different aesthetics, can improve the overall level of the work your are doing. Right now, I’m interested in working with people who can share things on a personal level but, if I have to name names, I would love to work with a brand such as Reebok or Camper.
SC!: What blogs, websites or Instagram accounts should we be paying attention to?
MA: I’m not a big fan of blogs and I don’t follow Instagram religiously. I’m a bit behind these topics.
SC!: Are there any new talents we should be paying attention to?
MA: Keep your eyes on my brother Felipe. He’s studying music in Boston and I’m sure that in a few years he’ll knock your socks off. I’m also very excited about the work of Edward Cuming, a thesis student at the IED Barcelona. The next few years should be interesting.
SC!: Fashion is…
MA: It’s personal aesthetics and a way to represent the evolution of time. It’s a form of expression that defines the human body.
SC!: Where would you like to be in 10 years?
MA: With any luck, I’d like to be designing for myself. Anyone will tell you that they want their own brand, and I wouldn’t say no. The idea of my own brand is incredible but I feel that I still have a lot to learn and that there are many steps to take before I get there. I hope to be able tot express myself.
Photos courtesy of Martín Across
“The Collector” + Header
Photos by: Anatol Gottfried
Translation and layout by Michael Padilla