Sol dela Villa.
How did fashion come for the first time in your life? Which was the connection and the beginning between you and fashion?
I have always been quite related with fashion and design in general, my grandfather used to owe a cloth mill and my mother was a designer as well, so I would say that this is something that comes from my childhood. However, I did not really think about it as my profession until last moment, now I look back and I still don’t understand how I didn’t realise it before.
Barcelona-based designer Marta M. Soldelavilla has created her own clothing brand Sol dela Villa, through which she expresses her biggest inspirations such as nature, roots, textures, food and feelings. Warmth, elegance, quality and a bit of story.
What personal thing from Marta you try to express through your designs?
What an interesting question, I think that everything it is quite personal in my collections. There are a lot of influences from nature, which I have always been surrounded by. Beside this, and not being very obvious, or that’s what I think haha; as I mention before, fashion has been a big influence for me since I was a child, so I have a lot of visual memories from when I was younger and I always try to hide them in my collections, I think they provide warmth to it.
Which artistic influences fill your imaginary and intuition when creating your pieces?
It really depends on each collection theme, but I get a lot of inspiration from photography and paintings.
Looking back to my last three collections, food is a relevant inspiration too, colours, texture and composition. Food is so rich and abundant, I like to transmit that into my designs, but in a way where everything has to be eaten, so it has to be visually sustainable, not like this ostentatious food feasts where a lot of food gets wasted.
Landscapes are also a big influence, also rich in textures, colours and shapes. Sometimes I feel that nature has already invented and improved everything, and that we basically copy it.
"I would say that fashion is the easiest way to express myself".
What do you try other people to feel when they see your designs?
Warmth, elegance, quality, and a bit of a story. I want whoever wears them to feel sexy and strong inside them.
Photo by Hugo Comte,
What is your creative process? How is the idea born inside you and how does it get light through a clothing piece?
I would say that fashion is the easiest way to express myself, so whenever I want to transmit something, even if I try to write it down, I don’t feel I have completely explained myself at all. So usually, when a concern might come up…it takes me maybe one month of thinking around it, try to explain it with words, then I swap to images trying to explain it through aesthetics. By the end of this process, it provides me with a theme or concept, with its colours, textures, shapes… This is all I need to create the silhouettes that will end up being garments.
"Well done things take time and effort, but bring quality, exclusivity and durability".
Why Sol dela Villa?
Sol dela villa comes from my grandfather's surname Soldevilla. He has always been a referent for me and I am very proud to be able to work under his name.
"I believe the future of fashion has to go by the hand with craftsmanship, that’s what makes it unique and differentiates it from fast-fashion".
Photo by Ana Larruy,
Do you create all the pieces by your own?
What does creating unique pieces mean to you and to Sol dela Villa?
Mostly. I sketch the designs, and then make the pattern. I normally stitch one or two fabrics and finally a professional seamstress stitches the final garment. In this way I make sure the garments have the highest quality. For the knitwear garments it works slightly different, they have a big relevance in my collections, either handmade or knitted on my machine. I make all the knitwear pieces in my studio, where I have a knitting machine. I have to confess that my mum has a very good hand-knit and crochet skills and she helps me a lot.
I believe the future of fashion has to go by the hand with craftsmanship, that’s what makes it unique and differentiates it from fast-fashion. We as new generations want things to happen very fast but craftsmanship is a way to understand that well done things take time and effort, but bring quality, exclusivity and durability. Artisans take an important place on cultural heritage, there are techniques that will probably be forgotten along with them, plus every time is harder for them to make a living out of it. Fashion has to support them, and consequently, their work will nourish heritage and tell more about the origins of the collection or the designer, just the opposite of how globalisation works, where all the collections look quite similar. It is a win-win relationship.
Photo by Hugo Comte,
Tell us a little bit about your new autumn/winter collection’20 ODA. What is the message behind the pieces, what are you trying to express through the designs?
Oda is all about nostalgia. I lived abroad for about half a year, and it was then when I felt my origins the strongest. What I want to claim with the collection is the value of the bases of each culture, sometimes unnoticed, sometimes forgotten. For this, I took as reference Francisco de Zurbaran’s paintings, and mostly his still life work, which is static and sober. His objects have a lot of information but remaining austerity. Its sumptuous shapes remind me of a woman figure, like the ones in André Kertész photographs with a psychedelic touch.
I also worked around Spanish gastronomy, making a list of the most characteristic ingredients, like red wine, olive oil, nuts, olives, chocolate; which provided me colour, texture and shape. I hope my designs transmit austerity in a luxurious way, cosiness, quotidianity with a deep awkward feel. There is also a lot of handmade work on the pieces, where I can see my grandma knitting in her chair like if Zurbaran painted her.
Are you opened to collaborating with other designers and artists and if so, in which way would like to do it?
Yes, I am always opened about it. I like to get inspired by other art disciplines and I like other disciplines to “get feed” from fashion, so collaborations are a very rich way of working from which you get to learn a lot. There are several ways of collaborating, at the end it is all about bringing together different universes, learn different ways to understand your work and different paths to bring it through. Since, for now, I work by myself, I appreciate cooperating with other artists which lead you to work the creative process in many new ways.
For now, I would say Grace Wales Bonner, her aesthetic universe is so rich.
Photo by Ana Larruy,
A stone. It has endless textures, colours and compositions. They have been a big influence for several projects. I like to transmit their feeling in fabrics, because basically they are opposites. It is always a nice challenge to talk about roughness in smooth fabrics.
What kind of achievement related with Sol dela Villa would make you feel fulfilled?
I would like to make a living out of it keeping my beliefs and not having to change a lot to become profitable enough.
Interview by Katrin Vankova