Roberto is a new boy on the London fashion block, raising eyebrows with his garish neon, oversized, hallucination inducing garments. We talk to him about being endorsed by fast food, his love for the fashion freaks of Bethnal Green and the inspiration he generates from Tumblr.
Hi there Roberto, so how are you finding London and what made you decide to move here from Barcelona?
I was considering moving to London from the age of 17 but until now I have been working and travelling between Madrid, Barcelona and México. It was only last year when I won a prize with Burger King to sponsor my living costs for six months in London that I finally decided to move.
Yes, the Burger King connection bemused us slightly – how did this sponsorship deal come about?
It was a prize from Madrid fashion week, and I write a blog about my London experiences. You know, everybody wants to be in fashion now. Even Burger King!
So how has London street style influenced your current work and do you still feed off Spanish style?
All my inspiration comes from street style, and of course London is all about that. I’m living next to Bethnal Green and I love to walk up Bethnal Green Rd and see all the people with such different styles, colours and crazy points of view. This is what I was trying to show in my last collection, but mixed with sporty and comfy clothes like those you wear when you go to Barcelona beach. That was my first and lasting influence from Barcelona's style.
Your collections used to be unisex, and though you now focus on womenswear, you stress that you design for “women without really considering sex”. Can you tell us more about this decision and your feelings towards androgyny in fashion.
Well, the point is not to be silenced over sex or gender, but in the new collection the patterns are unisex, because they are not inspired specifically by a woman’s body or man’s body but for both at the same time. However when you see my clothes on a woman it works in a different way to when you see them on a man. This is my new approach to ‘unisex’ but I’m not talking about androgyny.
Your clothes stand apart, not because of the cuts but due to the neon digital prints. What’s the process of creating such utterly eccentric fabrics?
Well, I’m always looking for new pictures on Tumblr and this is another form of inspiration for me. When I have all these amazing pictures I design the digital print by mixing some them like a collage. That´s it!
What Tumblr’s are you finding particularly inspiring right now?
Future Bones, Super Super Magazine and Alis Pelleschi [Ed - hey, we spoke to her a while back too].
Your clothes are exceptionally colourful and flamboyant as well as being oversized but luckily the London fashion tribes are a pretty daring bunch. What would you say to accusations that they are unwearable and who has the guts and panache to pull off your crazy garments?
I respect everyone’s opinion, and I understand that my stuff is maybe too crazy for some people but I would say those people should sometimes try being different and have fun through wearing colourful clothes.
That sense of having fun with fashion is very evident in the products you put out – how important a part does humour play in your design ethic?
I think humour is something I look for in life and obviously I need to express that in fashion. I learnt to use it in my design thanks to Jeremy Scott, Elsa Schiaparelli, Margiela and Castelbajac.
You recently staged a post-fashion week catwalk show on your Bethnal Green estate using models sourced from Tumblr. Tell us more about the thinking behind this and what you got out of the experience.
The concept of the street fashion show came about because I wanted to show my work in the place where the inspiration came from and where I wish to see my clothes someday - ‘the street’. I decided to use a street next to my place. Chanel did a similar thing, using her place to show her collection to clients and friends. The experience was awesome, everybody was saying good things about the idea and the result. You could really feel something new was happening there: no music, no professional models, no fake glamour, just clothes and street style.
Finally what does 2012 hold for you and your brand and what can we expect from you in the future?
That´s a good question, because I don´t know the answer... I just expect to sell my clothes in Tokyo and Taiwan, find new stockists and do more collaboration with other brands. That´s what I want from 2012.
Dare to be different? Head over to Primitive in Haggerston for your neon fix. For more info visit Roberto's site.