The neighbourhood of Gràcia is admired by just about anyone who knows Barcelona. There, the city breaks free from its grid-like structure to become a maze of narrow streets, independent shops and unchecked creativity. We can’t imagine a better place for a fashion designer to hang out, and sure enough that’s where you’ll find Pilar García.
Pilar has been the head of fashion design at TWOTHIRDS for more than 6 years. Her vision is to create clothing that is "simple and comfortable. The goal is that within their simplicity, they feel good." With clever details - like two-way zippers - she often has commuters and cyclists in mind. Pilar enjoys drifting through Gràcia by bike, returning to her favourite shops and picking up conversations with the owners - “there arrives a moment when you count them as your friends.” Take: A Casa Portuguesa, the bakery that not only has an “authentic” taste and seductive aroma but sounds good too. “I love the portuguese accent!” Pilar muses, “it has a melody that I think is quite beautiful.” Before the pandemic, Pilar would make frequent trips to Portugal, staying in close contact with our factories. Whether for the textiles, accents or desserts, she’s looking forward to going back.
It’s telling that whenever she is asked about her job, Pilar switches to the third person. This seems to reflect a selfless mentality in which “we” always comes before “I”, as in her explanation of the collection process. “We receive new textiles, which have to pass a sustainability check” she explains, “we're always attentive to every innovation in this regard". Later “we look for colour trends” and “we work with stripes and prints to use with those trends.” Finally they settle on style. She’s incredibly proud of the team and the way they work, with each person contributing to the whole, “motivating each other to do better each time and make new designs”. But of course, there are limits to the necessity for new: “In fashion, there are times when you think: colors, designs… everything exists already. You say ‘what more can we make? A shirt with three sleeves?!’”
Such a statement would probably invite a raised eyebrow from her mother. “She was my first influence,” Pilar says, “the owner of a tailors shop” which made clothing for the entire town. School uniforms, wedding outfits and communions - her mother catered for everything and everyone. The shop had an almost mythical quality, with clients returning 20-30 years after having had their measurements taken. These surroundings can’t have harmed Pilar García’s development as a designer - except, at the time, she viewed it as “a kind of game” and was not led to think otherwise: “my mother always encouraged us to study more serious things". Pilar became a teacher and fashion was downgraded to a hobby. But she never gave it up and eventually trained to be a textile designer shortly after moving to Barcelona, 25 years ago.
Does she have any advice for the next generation of designers? “Well yes, I have three,” she smiles, “One: if you like it, don’t doubt yourself and enjoy this job. Two: whether you create your own brand or work for another, don’t be discouraged if the first projects don’t work. They always bring great lessons. Three: don’t neglect the technical part, it is important to be well trained in this area to help express what you really want to."
As for Pilar, it is sustainability that adds a fresh dimension to her work. She talks excitedly about textiles made from “things you would never have imagined could be recycled.” and views decreased impact as “a continuous challenge [...] one that I like a lot.” With a modesty typical of Pilar, she reflects “I think we’re only just getting started...”Interview material transcribed by Carlos Pernías, who provided helpful insight with the original Spanish.