Catalonia's cutting-edge fashion builds on rich industrial heritage

080 Barcelona Fashion director Marta Coca explains what sets the city apart from other fashion hubs

Escorpion brand models parading at 080 Barcelona Fashion on April 9, 2024
Escorpion brand models parading at 080 Barcelona Fashion on April 9, 2024 / Maria Pratdesaba
Lorcan Doherty

Lorcan Doherty | @catalannews | Barcelona

April 14, 2024 01:00 PM

April 14, 2024 01:07 PM

"I think that the most important thing to be aware of is that here there is a real fashion ecosystem."  

Marta Coca, director of 080 Barcelona Fashion, is explaining what sets the city apart from other fashion hubs

"Since the industrial revolution, Catalonia has been a textile cluster," Marta says. "There is powerful industry here." 

The 080 Barcelona Fashion director is no stranger to that heritage, being from Igualada, a Catalan town famous for leather production and tanning. 

"It is natural that if you have the textiles, the fabrics, the designers and brands, to have this platform too," she says. 

That platform, 080 Barcelona Fashion, has just celebrated its 33rd edition, bringing together fashion brands – 24 of them –  and fashion lovers, in the spectacular surroundings of Sant Pau, the world's largest art nouveau complex.

080 Barcelona Fashion brings together fashion labels and lovers in the majestic surroundings of Sant Pau art nouveau site / Catalan News

"What we are trying is to put all the Catalan brands on the radar of international media, to help them with promotion at the very beginning." 

"Later on, they can commercialize their products and brands better, once they are more recognizable abroad." 

"Many of the designers here are local, but the platform is open to other nationalities and other brands from Spain or other countries." 

Sustainability and traceability 

Marta admits that Catalonia's rich industrial heritage wasn't enough to prevent most production moving to China, but in recent years, there has been a shift back, in line with a focus on values such as sustainability and traceability.  

"There's a new green deal coming from Brussels, and it says that all fashion companies between 2025 and 2030 have to accomplish certain sustainability processes." 

"For instance, it will be mandatory to have traceability for all fashion items. It's like a digital passport for the piece, to be more transparent to customers."  

"Customers will have the opportunity to know what has been produced in each country, or where the textiles come from."

Models getting ready to parade on the 080 Barcelona Fashion catwalk on April 9, 2024
Models getting ready to parade on the 080 Barcelona Fashion catwalk on April 9, 2024 / Maria Pratdesaba


080 Barcelona Fashion's audience are already "very well-educated" on such matters, Marta says. 

They know it's "better to buy less and better quality." That way "clothes last for many seasons in your wardrobe, rather than buying a lot and poorer quality, and in one or two seasons, that piece is not usable anymore and you have to throw it out." 

Online buzz  

During the pandemic, 080 Barcelona Fashion went 100% online. And although in-person fashion shows are well and truly back, word of mouth off the back of those internet campaigns has had a lasting impact on the platform's global reach. 

"It was very difficult for us four seasons ago to try to bring media or influencers from the United States to the event," Marta says.  

"Now, through Instagram, they are asking us: could I be invited by the organization to join you, because I have heard a lot about you?"  

Marta emphasizes that this is despite the fact that she and her team do not actively promote the platform in the United States. "They are just approaching us, and I think that this is good news." 

The 080 Barcelona Fashion director is understandably pleased with the platform's ever-growing success, but she is not letting herself get carried away. 

"Word is spreading and making the fashion week more renowned, although we are very conscious that we are not Paris, New York or Milan, okay? We are in another league, but it's our league." 


To hear the interview with Marta Coca and more from 080 Barcelona Fashion, listen to the Filling the Sink podcast below.