Photography: Roberto Piqueras
Model: Davide Villa
Graphics: Eme Rock
Wardrobe: Roberto Piqueras SS ’15
London-based designer Roberto Piqueras is a proud product of the Internet-age with a growing brand built entirely on digitally printed streetwear. His clothes all have a polished cyberpunk edge that’s attracted a cult following, but the Barcelona-born designer’s intentions are rooted in a world beyond the web. There’s an allure about the grit and grime of London street culture, and Piqueras can’t help but feast on it for inspiration.
His SS ’15 PAOM collection, which debuted last October during Berlin Alternative Fashion Week, marries together glossy Internet aesthetics with more hard-hitting hip-hop nuances. “Roberto Piqueras” logos are stamped on slouchy drawstring joggers, bold newspaper prints cover easy collared shirts and bucket hats, and graphic iconography is plastered across loose cotton tees. In Piqueras’ campaign film, he’s shown pasting his SS ’15 lookbook across East London, while cheap Internet graphics flash frantically on the screen—a combination that further strengthens the cyber street hybrid he’s carved out in fashion.
We caught up with the subversive Spanish designer to discuss living in London, DJing on the side and religiously writing down all his ideas.
How does your Barcelonian background inform your work?
“Barcelona is my main inspiration, but not many people see it because I’m not referencing the folk part. It’s more about the post-Olympic games era when the beach was open to tourism and nightlife was the main reason to come party and celebrate. This is why my current collection centers on sportswear and beach clothing. Also, the colors and prints I use are really vivid—since I’m Spanish, I have to represent the energy of the Sun and street culture. I’m not German, even if that black-on-black mix is ‘cooler.’”
How did the move to London affect your aesthetic?
“I did a tribute collection for my first season—I was living in London by 2011, printing the Queen’s face for the Jubilee Anniversary with some references to the Nu Rave from 2007. Now, it’s more about my neighborhood Bethnal Green that inspires me by the way I can show my collections with street performances and online actions to involve as many people as possible.”
Where does your love for music and fashion interest?
“Music is everything—I’ve learned more about fashion inside a club than at University. People dress to go dance and show off their new look, so obviously fashion changes when music does. I started DJing for fashion events in 2007 and I’ve done gigs in Montreal to open for artists like LE1F or in Barcelona for PXXR GVNG.”
Bring me through the inspiration for your SS ’15 collection.
“Every collection is an extension of the last one, but maybe this season I referenced more from when I was a child and went camping in the mountains—when I was addicted to anime characters. I thought about my first time experiencing technology and how much I was interested in it.”
What’s your design process?
“I write a lot about my ideas because I have a really bad memory. A creative mind works 24/7, which is sometimes exciting, but it can also destroy my thoughts. So I write down everything that could someday be useful. They often make more sense at a later time than when I first wrote them. For winter ’15, I’m preparing a capsule collection and I want to create written manifestos about all the ideas I can’t express through just clothing.”
“I’d never do anything that I wouldn’t wear myself and this project has my own name because it’s all really personal. I come from a working class background, so that keeps me connected to street culture.”
How is the Internet an important tool for your work?
“The Internet was my main tool to promote or give voice to my ideas before any media was supporting me. From MySpace to Tumblr and now Instagram, I’m always trying new ways to promote my brand and reach a young audience. To me, the Internet is a tool still ready to explore. The only problems are limitations with the public and government—the public because it’s become too lazy and the government because it’s not interested in using the Internet to create a smarter society. Human knowledge shouldn’t be private—Wikipedia should by funded by our taxes and not private donations.”
Who would you most love to dress?
“I’d love to dress Hello Kitty because she’s a Japanese icon and a real symbol of society—would love to see her in a long workshirt dress with logo patches, landscapes in digital print and embroidered sentences all over.”
If money weren’t an issue, how would you like to see your brand grow?
“I would love to involve people from all around the world to make my brand global and free, like a ‘community’ brand where you can express your ideas. Production would be made local in the UK and Spain, and a gallery space would exhibit every piece in the collection as a final result from a larger process of work. I want to make people conscious of how much it actually costs to create a quality product.”