For us it is an honor and a pleasure to present to you Alejandro Robledo as the winner of the first So Catchy! Emerging Design Awards in the Fashion Category. This promising young talent is an active entrepreneur and itching to leave his mark, which we’re sure he’ll do.
And he won’t be alone as the team at So Catchy! will be providing him with support to help him get on his way in the world of Fashion. Here’s the interview he gave us recently so you can get to know him better.
So Catchy!: Alejandro, tell us a bit about how you got your start in the world of fashion.
Alejandro Robledo: I have to confess that whenever I see this question in interviews with other designers I imagine what my response would be, and I find it strange to actually be answering it somewhere other than in my head.
The truth is that I don’t have one of those stories about being young and sewing outfits for dolls, or fixing up old clothes from my mother’s wardrobe, because I never really thought about what I wanted to be when I was older. I was busy being a kid who wanted to be a Pokemon trainer or Cinderella type figure. My parents always told me to study architecture, and since the future was always so far off, I thought it wouldn’t be bad. That is, until the second to last year of secondary school, someone suggested I study something related to fashion, and that was it for me, my plans were set.
SC!: How did you come up with your collection ‘Three-D’?
AR: I’m not really sure about when I first thought of it. It was one of the thousands of ideas that I had in my head and was just waiting for the right motivation to make it a reality.
When I was studying 3d and concept art for videogames, perhaps? Because I enjoyed seeing the characters with their polygon base in the 3D program we worked with.
I also like the idea of being part of a videogame, but in real life. I love how different characters dress, especially in sagas like Final Fantasy, because there are no limits. They’re excessive, ostentations and they don’t care if they look feminine or masculine. And they can cast spells. The difference between these fantasy characters and real life is that we are idiots and love to impose limits on ourselves. Except for drag queens, they do what they want.
SC!: What is your creative process like and where do you find inspiration?
AR: Most times, my mind choses the concept or inspiration at random while I’m working, and I begin to create the outline for and rules for the project. If it already has a predetermined layout or rules, I try to push them to the limit as much as possible. I look for the ‘legal loophole’ that allows me to interpret the rules in my own way. I think this removes the rigid nature of the process and makes the results more personal and enjoyable.
As for inspiration, well… Anything can serve as inspiration. But, I don’t often find inspiration in other articles of clothing, unless it’s something that has really struck me. I think it’s redundant and a little lazy to work that way, because you’re taking something already made, already designed, and adapting it to your own personal criteria. Fashion is, or should be, about more than your own personal fashion sense.
SC!: What are you doing now? What projects or goals are you working on?
AR: Right now I’m fighting for a place in the world, as best as I can. On the one hand I’ve got a small YouTube channel called Parodi Paradise. I absolutely adore working on it, because I can unload and receive feedback from my friends and followers, which helps me learn more.
On the other hand, and more focused on fashion, I love designing for men, especially feminine men, but it’s difficult to find companies that want to take the risk of doing so, and other labels that do, usually end up designing for women. And everyone is looking for years of experience, which you can only achieve by working… Do you see the problem? Since no one is offering me a job at the moment, I’m building up experience on my own and trying to show what I’m worth by applying to design competitions and such. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that So Catchy! has given me, and I think there should be more initiatives like this one.
SC!: And in the long term? What are your dreams? Where would you like to be in 5 years?
AR: My most sincere dream is to have an excuse to where a suit inspired by the Cinderella’s dress. Something for men, but very feminine. It may sound stupid but it’s still quite complicated in this day and age.
When I say feminine men, or to be more exact, genderless or agender fashion, I’m talking about a concept that is becoming fashionable, but that isn’t having a repercussion on the street as much as it should. And I’m afraid that it’s going to be another one of those passing trends.
I’m fed up with talking about fashion for feminine men and hearing in response, ‘clothes for gays’, which in and of itself if profoundly homophobic. You can be gay and masculine and hetero and feminine. A woman can be masculine and a man can be more feminine. I think that we’ve reached a point where the two should describe attitudes that are independent from gender. If we’re made of flesh and bone then I don’t understand why we have to dress in different materials, colors and shapes. I don’t see why we have to behave or act differently. Or even why we should have different aspirations and goals. I think that fashion is the esthetic result of a way of thinking, and as a designer, I’d like to make a positive change.
And in 5 years… I have no idea, I haven’t thought about it. The future doesn’t exist yet, and when it does, we’ll call it the present.
SC!: And finally, share some of the designers, artists or Instagram accounts that you admire or follow.
AR: If there’s anything that I truly admire, it is without a doubt the world of Drag. I think that the concept of drag queens is what we should all aspire to be. Do what you love most, enjoy doing it, and make others enjoy time while you do it. If I had to name only one drag queen, it would be RuPaul, if for no other reason than the famous line, “You were born naked and the rest is drag”.
As for designers, I know that everyone puts Cristóbal Balenciaga on a pedestal, and there really is no doubt no one could do his work better. But I like to think that Coco Chanel brought more to the world of fashion, and above all for women. She gave them independence, opened the door of the masculine wardrobe and opened the doors to a world reserved for men. She also took elements associated with poverty and turned them into symbols of sophistication. Simply, she did more than just design tweed and camelia clothing, she broke down barriers.
And personally, I think that it’s not healthy to admire someone just because of their Instagram account. It’s a wonderful medium to show your career path, to let the world see your label and get your name out there, but we shouldn’t try to turn ourselves into our own individual brands, that just pushes people to stop acting human.
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla