Ethical, sustainable and contemporary brand based in Barcelona: Gina Cusachs
Inspiration is definitely a key concept in fashion. Yet, it can be as broad as the Universe and as subjective as the mind.
How do we find inspiration? Well, we find inspiration when we talk to people who follow their dreams, people like independent fashion designer Gina Cusachs.
In the field of fashion since 2005, when she began her degree in fashion design at IDEP Barcelona - Escuela Superior de Imagen y Diseño, Gina has walked a long journey in the European fashion industry. Straight after finishing her degree at IDEP, she went for a Master’s degree in Fashion Marketing and Communication at ESDI - Escola Superior de Disseny. In her own words, “during my fashion design degree I learned a lot, everything from sewing to constructing and researching, expressing my creative ideas and bringing them into reality.”
After a three year break from studying, she left Catalonia to take a Fashion Media Styling course at the London College of Fashion, which helped her acquire essential tools to being a stylist in the fashion media, such as how to spot trends and incorporate them into her work.
Then, Gina went for a short course at Central Saint Martins, at the University of The Arts London to study the making of shoes, accessories and bags. “The combination of all my different studies has given me a good eye to catch the perfect color and the right fabrics for my designs, developing creative prints, drawing technical skills, attracting commercial market awareness, as well as finding the best styles and cuts for each season,” Gina says.
Gina’s studies spanned nearly a decade, during which time she also had various jobs in the fashion industry, including a position as a designer for shoes at Armand Basí and Siu Fashion.
“During this job, I had a wide range of responsibilities. To start with, I had to research up and coming trends, and new and innovative colours and silhouettes. For inspiration and education, I often attended industry fairs, events and conferences in major cities. I then had to present these ideas and draft technical specs and colour ups by hand or digitally. Next, I had to ensure the products would fit correctly, and ensure we were happy with all the measurements and dimensions which was often a lengthy process. Finally, I would begin communicating with worldwide manufacturers and suppliers, sourcing the perfect materials and contracting high quality garment workers." Gina states.
Since she left the academic environment, Gina has worked as a stylist at well established brands ASOS, Farfetch and Desigual, among others.
In her own words, “my experience as a stylist gives me a wider view as a fashion designer. In my creative process, I develop garments and accessories that are meant to interact with the end user’s wardrobe, transcending time boundaries that we now understand are not sustainable. My clothes are made to last.”
Speaking of sustainability, Gina Cusachs strives to keep her eponymous brand sustainable and she does a terrific job at it by using natural materials such as linen, silk and cupro. She also makes sure her production chain is ethical by working with ateliers in Barcelona which she can visit anytime and make sure her designs become clothes in a socially responsible manner.
The brand’s philosophy is based on timeless silhouettes using natural, vegan and recycled materials of the best quality to create something unique designed to last and reduce rapid consumption. Each garment is designed and hand-sewn with love by artisans in small ateliers in Barcelona, empowering artisans in local communities. We focus on producing pieces in limited quantities to conserve resources and avoid waste. We work closely with our manufacturing partners to have full control over our production and offer conscious designs made to last. The fabrics get their bold color designs from OEKO-Tex certified environmentally-friendly dyes. Moreover, she only produces small batches and uses natural, organic or recycled fabrics that endure, ensuring that each piece and print have a special, bespoke feel.
It’s no secret that sourcing fabrics is a major hurdle for independent designers, as they can’t even get close to reaching the MOQs (minimum order quantities) necessary to place orders directly with fabric mills. Fortunately, FabricSight was established at the end of 2020 to help tackle this issue by functioning as a bridge between several European mills and smaller brands such as Gina Cusachs.
Helping make fashion businesses viable is our passion. We were delighted when she told us that she “really likes our fabrics and that [we] have the best blue cupro she found” and that she “found FabricSight by searching on Google for ‘sustainable fabrics’”, as that comes to show that the almighty oracle of our age has acknowledged us. This will allow us to be found by an ever increasing number of independent fashion designers who are looking for the main material for their creations. This is our ultimate goal: to help steer the fashion industry into a more plural path, giving a voice to the uniqueness of small brands and independent designers who produce their collections ethically and sustainably. The world needs more brands like Gina’s, brands that offer high quality and unique clothes and accessories, so that people stop purchasing cloths that are produced in mass.
Inspiration behind Viola Maxi Silk Scarf's of Gina Cusach's garments
Gina’s creation process in bullet points might help inspire fashion design newbies out there, so:
“First of all I research patterns I want to use. The majority of the time I am inspired by the outdoors, and I conduct colour research to find tones and hues I find in nature. I also spend a large amount of time sketching until I am happy with the shapes of my designs.
I then begin to source fabrics and trims. This is often quite a detailed process, and once I have found a fabric I like I then need to conduct testing.I send the printed designs to our supplier in Alicante to cross check them with all the fabric materials I have chosen for the collection, and see how the prints and colours turn out. Multiple tests are often necessary until I achieve the desired results and I may have to edit my fabric choices.
Once I am happy with the materials, I have to create a detailed tech design that includes all the specifications for the product. This is then sent to the pattern maker to create the first physical prototype, when we actually see the garment come to life for the first time. The prototype is often revised several times, and we edit the fit and design. Next, the patterns are graded to the full-size range, and we create samples of these and again check the fit of each size.
Once I am completely happy with all my samples, full production starts, and we ensure we implement tight quality controls for each and every piece that is made”
When she receives her final products, there comes a part of the job that demands the control of a whole different type of knowledge: marketing and sales.
When the time came to generate sales for her brand, she found support from her life partner, Tim Brown.
During his years working in the hospitality industry, Tim sharpened his people skills, which made him the perfect fit when Gina needed help in sales. But he doesn’t stop at that. “He comes with me to the production lines, helps me spot problems in the garments being delivered and even helps me in the creative process.” And that’s how we learned that Gina Cusachs is a brand made with love and companionship. “I believe in her brand. I believe in what she does. I’ve never seen someone as passionate as Gina is. It takes a lot of courage to launch your own brand, your own business, especially in the fashion industry, which I didn't know before. Big brands are the main deciders and the main leaders and this configuration makes things even harder. As her partner I see all the time how dedicated she is to her brand. She never gives up, always wants to improve, and I am so proud of her. It's easy to give advice when you are not involved, it's another thing when it comes to making decisions that can change your life”, Tim says.
At one point during our interview with Gina and Tim, I had to ask a question that I always feel compelled to ask: “What are your sources of inspiration, Gina?” to which she answered: “fashion magazines, arts, a landscape, the shape of a flower, a sunset".
We asked her to send us some pictures to reflect what inspires her, and this is what we received!
Thanks for reading, don't forget to follow her on Instagram!