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Fashion and Design in Barcelona
Ever since the 1992 Olympic Games blew the lid off any lingering doubts about Barcelona's contemporary creative potential, new clothing designers and boutiques have been proliferating. Barcelona Fashion Week (BFW) has now taken its place as one of Europe's most important fashion meets alongside those of Paris, London, and Milan. Meanwhile, the Pasarel.la Gaudí, formerly Barcelona's main event, has become Barcelona Bridal Week, a runway dedicated to nuptial styles. Barcelona Fashion Week, largely stripped of public financing, has forged a path of its own, relying largely on young local designers as well as traditional heavyweights such as Antonio Miró, Armand Basi, Gonzalo Comellas, and Adolfo Domínguez. Even top-name Madrid designers such as Victorio & Lucchino, Miriam Ocáriz, and Soul Aguilar, citing the Catalan capital's innovative image, prefer to show in Barcelona instead of at Madrid's own Cibeles fashion event.
After meteoric success in Barcelona, Bread & Butter, originally from Berlin, has announced that it was going back to Deutschland, The Barcelona Town Hall has come up with a replacement event called the Brandery, showcasing new brands in contemporary fashion. Held twice a year (early July and late January) the Brandery, subtitled "Post Fashion Circus," will include some 300 brands, both domestic and international, and hopes to attract over 10,000 visitors, a fraction of Bread & Butter's 1,000 brands and 75,000 visitors. The Brandery will be divided into five areas: the Fair as commercial confluence for exhibitors and clients, Brandtown for outdoor chilling and leisure, the Brandstreet catwalk, the Laundry as a laboratory for ideas, and the City devoted to parties and events. Brands will be located in spaces such as the Cathedral for designers, the Loft for trends, the Warehouse for denim brands, and Outerspace for streetware and sneakers. "The Brandery symbolizes the ambition of Barcelona and will permit us to project Barcelona to the world as a city with a strategy for the future based on creativity in different sectors, one of which is fashion, said Barcelona Mayor Jordi Hereu, adding that "Barcelona generates trends."
Oh, and the shops! From local clothing stars Zara and Custo to whimsical design objects at BD (Barcelona Design) or Vinçon, to old crafts standbys such as La Manual Alpargatera or Cereria Subirà, Barcelona may end up as famous for shopping as for architecture and design. El Born, the old waterfront district tucked in behind Santa Maria del Mar in the Barri de la Ribera, teems with young artisans and designers; the Eixample, the midtown grid labyrinth of Art Nouveau architecture, is rife with innovatively designed shops selling equally original items of all kinds; and the outlying villages of Gràcia and Sarrià are becoming bite-size boutique havens with much more to admire than quiet streets and leafy palms.
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