Lucia Vergara | INTERVIEW
I think it`s important to wear and like your own accessories
Lucia Vergara, Barcelona-based accessories designer and the owner of Après Ski shop
I was walking the streets of Barcelona trying to find Après Ski shop when I suddenly bumped into it. I came into a cozy studio and was completely certain that it`s the right address: around me was a variety of stylish earrings, necklaces and sunglasses. Two women were sitting at the desk: the owner of the shop Lucia Vergara and her manager Ingrid Pratmarsó. We said “Hi” to each other and went with Lucia to the lovely coffeeshop where we talked about her brand, inspiration and upcoming collection.
How did your passion for accessories start?
In the beginning I was working for designer Lydia Delgado. She taught me how to make accessories of the brand. I also learned a lot myself: spent hours in different shops trying to figure out how to assemble, create different types of accessories. At that time I realized that really like manual work, so I continued working with hands even when I opened my own brand.
When did you open it?
It all began about 11 years ago. I still worked for the designer but started making my own necklaces. Some friends asked me to make accessories for them. The orders were growing, more and more people became interested. I sold my work to a few shops in Barcelona, then my geek boyfriend created a web shop for me. That`s why first online shop appeared and only later a brand`s studio in Barcelona.
To say honestly, I never planned to have a brand, a proper business. I thought: “Now I do not have a job, so I will do it for a while”. It was natural, but from the beginning it worked really well and turned out to be successful.
Why did you decide to name your shop Après Ski?
When I still worked for other designer, I had a Japanese college with whom we were good friends. During designing process we found inspiration from the aesthetics of “après ski” in the
1950s, taking its retro touch. Later she moved to work for Carolina Herrera, I founded my own brand and asked her if I can name it Après Ski.
Do people buy more on your website or in a studio?
I think half of the sales comes from retailers and the other half is divided between people who visit my studio and who buy online on my website. What concerns Instagram, it is not a trade source for me. I use it to create the image of the brand, to show my world. By the way, a lot of retailers also find me through Instagram.
Where are you taking the inspiration from?
After travelling I always come back with lots of ideas. When I am designing, I go to the library and spend a week there, surrounded by books. I really like to spend time in a library because during designing process I need to be alone in a quiet place. What is more, in a library there are many interesting things which you can`t find in the internet.
Do you create a collection for every season?
In the beginning I tried to avoid it because never wanted to be inside the fashion world. Now I have collections every 5-6 months as retailers are waiting for them and people always want something new.
From which countries do you have a majority of retailers?
A lot from Asia, Japan and United States. Also, we have many retailers from Belgium, Australia, UK.
Do you have any retailers from Germany?
Yes, my accessories are represented in VooStore and CRUBA in Berlin, Ave and The Local House in in Stuttgart, Mili and B-Lage in Hamburg.
Which accessories you like to design the most? What is your favourite part of designing?
I can`t name a concrete item. If I work with necklaces for a long time, then I decide that I want to design earrings for a while, then sunglasses. I always change.
By the way, now I`m launching a small collaboration with my sister Julia, who is a pattern designer. We are going to make not only accessories but also clothing. We will do a collaboration for the first time.
You told that you love to travel. Which country made the biggest influence on you?
I really like the central Asia and want to explore more countries. I am attracted by the places, about which I did not hear a lot. One of the best trips I ever made was to Uzbekistan. When I went to this country, I did not know anyone who was there before.
I`m eager to discover something new, to look at traditional cloth and artworks. My aim is to find artists from different parts of the world, to buy their work and present it in my studio in Barcelona. I want to do that because many of these artists are old people and don`t have the way to show their creations. I already have accessories of Turkish artist in my shop and I want to continue this line.
Do you wear earrings and accessories which you made yourself?
I think it`s important to wear and like your own accessories. Only trying accessories yourself, you can understand if they are comfortable and with which clothes you can combine them. My earrings are quite light because I can`t stand heavy earrings.
How do you create all visual content (for collections etc.)?
I love making still life photos myself with an analog camera. For my collections I prefer to capture ordinary people who are not models. I work with some photographers. For example, with my good friend David Urbano. What concerns my latest collection, photos were made by photographer Alba Yruela.
Can you tell a few words about your upcoming collection?
My new collection is inspired by Victorian jewelry, patchwork textiles and flowers.