At So Catchy! we’re all about innovation, curiosity and hard work. That’s why Pablo Cerdán caught our attention so early on.
In less than six months, he has become one of the most innovative bow tie designers in Spain. It all started when he couldn’t find a bow tie in the shops around town nor on the Internet, that were original enough for a special occasion. From this moment on he decided to create his own. The world of bow ties allows for quite a bit of design freedom since all you really need is a piece of cloth with an original pattern, or you could even ditch convention and make one with material never used before, such as a pair of dice.
Since becoming a staple of hipster accessories together with thick-rimmed glasses, bow ties find themselves in an age of anything goes. They are accessories for men, and also women; they are worn by movie stars and nerds and they are worn at weddings and for going out at night. All of this aside, once the initial boom has passed within a few years, bow ties will never go out of style thanks to the fact that they are required for formal occasions. In the meantime, let’s take a look at the novel way this promising young designer looks at fashion. Let’s get to know Pablo Cerdán.
SO CATCHY!: What have you been doing up to now?
PABLO CERDÁN: I studied Tourism in Murcia and then I did a Master’s in Protocol and Image Communication, also at the Universidad de Murcia. At the same time, I did a bridge course to adapt my degree (Tourism is a three-year degree) to a four-year one. When I finished, I did a three-month Personal Shopper course (in Murcia) and, since I couldn’t find any work, I did a one-month professional make-up course specializing in make-up for TV and cinema.
SC!: How did you find yourself in Seville?
PC: Well, my story is a little… I studied Tourism because I didn’t know what I wanted to study. At that time, my brother had already studied Tourism, he was working in a hotel and things were going good for him. And since it’s an easy degree, well I started studying Tourism. The second year I got involved with the University Protocol Office and I was organizing all of the University events and managing the events and I really enjoyed it. When I finished my degree, I started studying the Master’s in Protocol. With this degree, which was also about Image Consulting, well I started to enjoy it… One of my best friends is a Personal Shopper and I was helping her out… I specialized in it with a Personal Shopper course. And as for the make-up course, at home I’ve always done my sister’s make-up, looking through magazines and trying out colors and things.
Then, the Master’s in Fashion was because my friend had looked into studying it and since I’d finished everything in September and in February I was in Albacete, hating it and looking for work in anything and nothing was coming up… I’d always liked fashion and such, I looked at the course outline and I liked it a lot, and I decided to do it. Also, because I’d lived in Murcia for four years, and [the thought of] going back to Albacete with my parents, well, no. I wanted to leave here.
SC!: Of all the branches [of the program], which one do you like most?
PC: What I like best is what I’m doing right now, bow tie design.
SC!: What made you think of designing bow ties?
PC: There was one day we had to organize a presentation for a magazine. For the presentation, we had some mannequins and since I was doing the course, they put me in charge of dressing them. At that time, the standard was pink for girls and orange for boys. So, I sewed a pink dress for the female mannequin and for the male one I made an orange bow tie and I gave him my clothes. So I made that bow tie and it was pretty good because I’d never made one before.
SC!: I suppose that you searched on the Internet for how to do it…
PC: No, actually I had a bow tie and after looking at the fabric and how it was sewn, I copied it mentally and it was ok. That was in November and the next one I made was for New Year’s. I wanted a bow tie for New Year’s and I went to some shops and the ones they had were typical black and grey bow ties, so, I have some fabric and I’m going to make my own bow tie. That time, it really was fun and so, with some scraps of cloth that I had, I sewed my first bow ties. And so after awhile, people started to like them and to ask about them and I decided to buy some fabric and to make them.
SC!: How long have you been making bow ties?
PC: Well, since about November… seriously making bow ties, four or five months.
SC!: How many have you sold?
PC: About 50.
SC!: Do you sell online?
PC: Yes, online, I have a website and also on Twitter.
SC!: What’s the average price?
PC: Around 25 euros. And although the price is a bit higher, I also do them to order, personalized. You get in touch with the person and get to know their tastes. People tell me how they want them and I send them photos on WhatsApp.
SC!: Where do you buy your fabric, where do you find inspiration? Do you look for fabric based on your ideas or when you see something do you say, “I could use this”?
PC: Well, depending on the patterns, I usually look for what’s in style. However, since I’m always digging through lots of fabric shops, when I find a pattern that is new or that would look good as a bow tie, I buy it.
SC!: Have you looked into the bow tie market? As you know, it’s a passing fashion…
PC: I think that, actually, I don’t think that it’s a passing fashion because it’s an accessory for men. So men, in order to dress elegantly, have a tie or a bow tie. Sometimes they’ll wear their ties more and other times they’ll wear their bow ties but there are only two accessories to choose from.
SC!: Yes, but actually, it’s a trend (wearing bow ties in casual situations) that could end. Do you have a plan B?
PC: My plan B is to open up the market little by little, make accessories for women, necklaces, hats, and if things go well, why not start up my own line and brand of clothes: shirts, and belts.
SC!: Define the role of a bow tie in a man’s wardrobe:
PC: Well, I think that it’s a garment that has to be a part of a man’s wardrobe. The tie is a bit outdated, and yes you have to have ties but even though funny and patterned ones exist, I think that bow ties give it a different touch. It’s an accessory that you can put on when you’re dressed casually and it’s easy to wear. You put your bow tie on and it’s there, motionless, when you move it gives you more mobility, and at work.
Another idea that we have is to make bow ties more casual so you can wear them everyday at anytime.
SC!: The type of man who buys your bow ties…
PC: Young, up to 45 years old. It could be, that the patterns are for younger people, more rock ’n’ roll types, more… alternative, but, as I said before, I make more classical bow ties that anyone can wear.
SC!: Do you have any competition?
PC: The world of bow ties isn’t very well tapped. In Spain there are about 4 [people].
SC!: What makes you different from your competitors?
PC: The variety. The price, the speed, making them personalized. There are some guys who they are similar to, with a more British style, more flashy. They’ve got a website, they sell for 35 to 40 euros and they don’t have a lot of variety.
SC!: How long does it take you to make a bow tie?
PC: Let’s say ¾ of an hour, or [depending], I can make 4 in an hour.
SC!: So, your idea is, when you finish the Master’s if you can’t find anything interesting…
PC: The idea would be to return to Albacete, register my brand and set up as a freelancer… depending on how my internship in Madrid goes this summer with Rubén Bejarano and how well they sell this summer. Rubén Bejarano wants my bow ties to be in Fashion Week, which would be really complicated. If things go well, I’ll become a freelancer, sew in Albacete and sell in shops and such.
SC!: What is fashion for you?
PC: Fashion is a lifestyle. For those of us who work in the fashion world it is.
I think that with my style of dress I let people know that I’m a daring person who cares about how he looks. I won’t venture as to whether I’m doing it well or not, but I project the image that I want to.
There’s a saying that makes it clear: In the world of fashion, you cannot judge if a person is beautiful or ugly but rather if they’re dressed well or if they represent their style well with their Look.
SC!: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
PC: (Deep sigh) Well if this all goes well, I see myself starting my own brand, opening up my brand, with different products. For women: necklaces, handbags, merchandising bags for festivals, and above all I’d like to start making bow ties for the office, for uniforms, to do the styling for companies, and, well, if I could sell internationally…
Translated by: Michael Padilla