IEU Experience

03/10/2023

Many hot topics made a splash at this edition of Madrid Fashion Week, but the biggest winners were creativity, sustainability and inclusion.

What does Fashion Mean to You?

When students and interns from the IE Marketing department posed the question, it caused quite a buzz at the second installment of this year’s Madrid Fashion Week. Designers, stylists, fashion lovers and visionaries from all over the world trooped to the city for the industry’s most anticipated gala.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid is the premier platform promoting fashion in Spain. It’s evidence of the creative depths pulsing not just through the country, but on the global stage. Every year, beautiful creations from both established and promising designers hit the runway, showcasing the styles that will define upcoming seasons.

The Catwalk Takeover

Fashion has become one of Spain’s biggest exports. With world-leading clothing companies like Inditex and its flagship brand Zara, the country has cemented its place as one of the drivers of global fashion.

That’s one reason why we just launched the Bachelor in Fashion Design at IE University. The program blends classical methods and new technologies with sustainability, gearing students up for the future of the industry. As opportunities in this space grow, ambitious creatives passionate about fashion can find an inspiring space to hone their craftsmanship, individual expression and business management skills.

We were able to get some of our students behind the scenes for this edition of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid. Through the glitz and the glamor, they managed to get the scoop on the latest trends shaping this dynamic industry, proving that the Bachelor in Fashion Design is more relevant than ever before:

  1. What’s in a Name?

“I’m not one of those fashion people who’s into brands and designers,” says Jada, a student-artist and one of the attendees of Madrid Fashion Week. “I’m more into the overall look and vibe.”

Jada represents a growing sentiment, especially among younger fashionistas. Unlike previous generations, millennials and zoomers don’t hold the same reverence for exclusivity and name brands. Instead, they see fashion as a very personal expression of identity, beliefs and even community, just like the goths or punk rockers that emerged a few decades ago.

“It’s not just fashion, it’s art. It makes you feel things and it makes you understand things.”

Jada

Designer Alberto Roa Batres’ inspiration is rooted in Andalusian folklore and a lifetime within the LGBTQ+ community.

“For me, fashion is, above all, a declaration of intention. It’s a way to break with gender roles and make a claim: what I wear is not just a garment but a way to change the world.”

Designer Alberto Roa Batres

As fashion continues to adopt innovation from other fields like chemistry, 3D design and more, creative professionals will find more new ways to express themselves and their artistry. With the Bachelor in Fashion Design, students take a multidisciplinary approach that positions them to develop innovative creations that will shake up the industry.

“For me, fashion is an expression. More than just dressing yourself, it’s like another language; something that speaks about who you are, how you are that day and how you communicate with the world.”

Carla Paucar, Fashion Stylist
  1. Increasingly Inclusive

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, the fashion industry is often seen as lagging behind. Plus-size fashion has taken a quantum leap forward in recent years, but curvier individuals still find it hard to shop. Similarly, runways around Europe have generally grown more heterogeneous, but there’s still more space to include people of different ethnicities and preferences.

However, a new push toward inclusive fashion is changing the game, recognizing people’s desire to be seen, heard and, most importantly, represented. It’s all about being “perfectly imperfect”, and garment designs that embrace the wide spectrum of body types, colors or genders. Jada sums it up perfectly:

“If fashion is who you are and it’s a way to represent yourself, then everyone should have the ability to do so.”

Jada
  1. Sustainable Chic

Once the darling of the industry, fast fashion is quickly falling out of favor around the world. According to the latest figures, it contributes 10% of global carbon emissions while up to 85% of garments wind up in landfills every year.

So it comes as no surprise that many environmentally conscious trendsetters are jumping on the sustainability train. Designer Pepo heads Estado de Ruido, a fashion house that gives new life to surplus fabric stocks from other brands. They also transform vintage clothing into small, exclusive capsule collections. As Pepo says, this circular model fulfills the brand’s goal to “recover the essence of well-made garments that last a lifetime.”

The cyclical nature of fashion means it will always be trendy to repurpose old, high-quality garments. Right now, the younger crowd has finally discovered the classic retro style, immersing themselves in the vibe of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. But these changing perspectives are also leading to an explosion of innovation around sustainable fabrics, in part to meet the rising demand.

Through the Bachelor in Fashion Design, students learn the true meaning of purpose-forward fashion. They gain the tools to effectively embed sustainability, circularity and socially responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices into the global supply chain.

What does Fashion Mean to You?

At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, our crack team of student correspondents got a wide variety of answers to this question. Some called fashion the ultimate form of expression. Others said it is a kind of progress tracker marking periods of societal evolution. Jada described it best, saying, “Fashion to me is the ability to present yourself and all the nuances of who you are with an outfit.”

The Bachelor in Fashion Design offers a complete, 360° view of fashion, breaking down not just what it is but how to turn an understanding of market trends into creative acclaim. And as fashion continues to evolve, our graduates will be at the forefront of exciting developments in a dynamic industry. As Pepo notes, “I expect the same from fashion: that it changes and that it amuses us all a little.”