Now that we seem to be relatively settled, or settling rather, into the new normalcy, it seems like fashion start-ups are being bathed with the sun rays of opportunity. People are out and about, eager to live, and eager to be seen after years of hibernating in sweatpants. While it is true that under the crushing crisis of the global pandemic many fashion brands crumbled, those that managed to prevail have before them the promised land of opportunity. That is of course if they know how to make the best of it.
Such is the case of the Spanish born brand ZAGV. A brand that saw its revenue diminish by over 50% in 2020, and yet has only just opened its fourth branch, in the remarkable location that is Dubai.
It goes without saying that COVID was a low blow to most enterprises, particularly start-ups and small-scale companies who don’t particularly have a safety net they can live off for over two years. Still, we would be amiss if we didn’t note that there have been companies that have taken these savage circumstances and have managed to twist the odds in their favour.
For example, ZAGV realised that most of its clientele was foreign, British to be precise. When the pandemic came along, sales in their original Barcelona store were severely impacted. And so in the midst of a pandemic, they decided to open un a shop in the UK.
It is this sort of forward-thinking attitude, daring action, and faith in themselves, that has driven ZAGV towards success. In a world where the unknown hold an unparalleled paralyzing power, the minimalism infused brand keeps moving forward.
So what are the core beliefs and philosophy behind a brand as determined as ZAGV? We asked Founder and Designer María Zaguirre about it.
We hear the story of your brand’s inception is quite awe-inspiring. How did ZAGV come about? Has the way it all happened changed your beliefs in fate or destiny?
When I was in high school in my hometown of Almeria I was studying Science and then went onto University to study phycology. However, I didn’t feel connected to it and I felt lost which then made me search for other avenues. Shortly after, I joined a tailoring course where I fell in love with the traditional way of making clothes. Two years later I moved to Barcelona where I continued my studies as a fashion designer and stylist. During this 8 year period of fashion education I worked with a number of small brands as well as some big international companies which then gave me a wealth of experience that then allowed me to create my own brand ZAGV.
The biggest lesson I have learned from ZAGV is to always believe in myself and the vision. No matter what you do, there will always be positive and negative feedback so it’s very important to stay true to the brand’s values and to continue pushing even through the toughest moments. It made me realize that consistency is the key to any form of success. No matter where you come from or what you have, it really doesn’t matter as long as you keep pushing. I really believe that we write our own destiny and it’s the decisions and choices that we make that lead us to achieve our goals.
What is ZAGV’s philosophy as a brand?
We represent those who don’t conform to the mundane. Those who don’t try to fit in with the norm. Those who don’t follow life’s pre-established stereotypes and patterns. Active people that are filled with creativity, work ethic, effort, self-improvement and resiliency. People that don’t feel the need to wait for outside approval in order to achieve their goals, they believe in themselves because:
Their BELIEFS become THOUGHTS
Their THOUGHTS become WORDS
Their WORDS become ACTIONS
Their ACTIONS become HABITS
Their HABITS become VALUES
And their VALUES become their DESTINY
We bring an elevated outlook on fashion into the space making design and differentiation possible, following trends in a different way. We see each garment as an individual piece, taking its versatility into consideration when allowing it to enter our closet. This makes it possible to create multiple combinations. Achieving as a result the maximum usability with the functionality, minimalism and elegance of having a unique and special piece that gives us the power to show everyone who WE REALLY ARE.
ZAGV has a very strong stylistic expression, what are your inspirations? Any particular creatives or elements you use as a reference?
What I love the most about my profession is to create new pieces that are completely unique. I see every piece as a challenge. One of my favourite parts of the design process is to creating hybrids where I combine classic icons in fashion with very new and technical fabrics. It gives me huge satisfaction when my clients explain to me that they have never seen anything like it before.
What is it about minimalism that draws you in when designing a garment?
The interesting yet challenging factor about minimalistic design is that it’s completely detail orientated. When the item is simple, the construction has to be technically perfect. This is why today, the knowledge I gained from tailoring many years ago plays a very important role in the creation of our items.
How does ZAGV differentiate itself from other brands? What is it about the brand that makes it stand out?
ZAGV offers unique pieces to people that really love fashion at a reasonable price. We make high end quality garments with very versatile designs that suit any age and style allowing the clients to give their own personality to the clothing.
Lately, you’ve opened new shops around the globe, partaking in quite the expansion. Tell us about the process of growing your brand. What challenges and satisfactions have you encountered?
The beauty of expanding the brand has meant that we’ve learned a lot about other cultures and lifestyles in different countries. It´s really special to add the essence of the brand to new markets. For example, we recently launched ZAGV in Dubai where we are planning to expand the brand throughout the whole of the GCC – Launching a first collection inspired by their culture creating a beautiful synergy with our local partners.
When you find your passion, you don’t really need encouragement as it’s something that lives within you and seeing it growing is the most beautiful satisfaction you can have.
ZAGV was founded in Spain, but you now live in London. How would you compare the Spanish fashion scene to that of the UK?
I live between both Barcelona and London. London gives me a lot of inspiration as it´s more fast paced in terms of the development of the fashion scene whereas Barcelona is where our creative studio is based. This allows me to stay close to the creative process with our design team.
Do you find that ZAGV has had to shift, change, or adapt the way they operate or present themselves in order to successfully enter new markets?
Fashion is constantly changing and I think that the beauty of it is how ephemeral trends are. I don’t see it as a change, I see it as evolving towards what is happening in fashion but also connecting with society. As a designer I am inspired and motivated by analyzing and studying what is surrounding us in order to create a product that enhances us. When the world is going through tough times, as it has done over the last two years, Fashion brings back happiness translated through shapes and colours which connect with our emotions to make us feel better. For this reason, I personally think that fashion should change and adapt to the moments we are living, instead of sticking to a certain aesthetic.
What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created? Is there a particular item or garment that has become a staple in your wardrobe?
I have two pieces (hybrids) that have become ZAGV icons. The first is our men’s shirts that we have been producing since our first collection in 2015. They are a combination between a classic jacket and shirt closed with a zip which give our shirts a particular look.
The second item is a combination between a puffer jacket and kimono. This was created three years ago and has become one of our best sellers.
Why do you think fashion plays such an important role in making us feel more like “ourselves”?
Fashion is the way in which we introduce ourselves to others. It’s like a presentation letter – every time we are introduced to someone new, we send a message with the way we look, with what we are wearing. It also allows us to re-invent ourselves throughout our lives.
What advice would you give to a young passionate creative trying to break into the fashion scene?