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This Emerging Fashion Designer Is Bringing Back the Art of Blind Drawing

Berta Cabestany, AW18 Lookbook, 2018
Berta Cabestany, AW18 Lookbook, 2018 | © In-addition PR
Berta Cabestany is a Barcelona-based artist and designer whose debut collection takes inspiration from family heritage and the techniques that she learnt at school.

Berta Cabestany is still within the throngs of her debut collection, so the fact that she has already established a signature design trait is particularly credible. Cabestany has practised blind drawing for 10 years, a skill that she describes as an exercise to ‘train the other side of your brain.’

Berta Cabestany, fashion designer, Barcelona, 2018 © In-addition PR

‘It’s done by focusing solely on the object that you’re drawing,’ she tells Culture Trip. ‘You can’t look at the page. When I first started, my pictures didn’t even look like pictures.’ A decade later and Berta’s sketches are strong enough to use as a template for embroidery, which she applies by hand to her summer-ready collections.

Blind drawing technique, Berta Cabestany studio, 2018 © Image courtesy of Berta Cabestany

This fusion of contemporary design and bespoke detailing reflects the designer’s personal style and comes at a time when couture-like craftsmanship is being introduced into ready-to-wear collections.

‘I’ve tried to add small elements of exceptional technique to streetwear,’ Cabestany says, describing her oversized tailoring, embroidered cotton T-shirts and statement lace blouses. ‘We shouldn’t have to wait for a particular occasion or event to wear something extraordinary. My collections are designed to encourage people to feel special every single day. If you’re going to spend money on something, then you want to be able to wear it.’

Fashion design essentials, Berta Cabestany studio, Barcelona, 2018 © Image courtesy of Berta Cabestany
Berta Cabestany creative studio, Barcelona © Image courtesy of Berta Cabestany

There’s also an element of personal heritage to Cabestany’s inspiration. ‘Family is very important to me’, she says. ‘It’s the reason I have based my label in my hometown and it seems only right to incorporate the idea into my work.’

The familial reference is subtle, and Cabestany has blind-drawn a series of motifs inspired by DNA to create an abstract pattern. ‘I also looked back on school books from when I was about five years old,’ she says. ‘I looked in my mum’s loft and found sketches that my classmates had done of me which I used as my embroidery and print template.’ The result is a series of sporty sweatshirts with a sentimental but beautifully artistic twist.

Berta Cabestany, hand drawn embroidered sweatshirt, AW18 © In-addition PR

‘There’s always a sense of playfulness to my collections,’ Cabestany says, ‘but there’s something vulnerable about the children’s drawings that I found – they present an unfiltered perception of who I was and that feels very genuine.’

The label’s personalised element doesn’t stop there: ‘I’m involved with every single part of the design and production process,’ Cabestany tells us. ‘Quality is super important to me and the artisanal techniques that I use mean that the collections will never be mass produced. I don’t see the brand losing its boutique sensibility.’

Fashion designer Berta Cabestany wears her namesake label at her workshop in Barcelona, 2018 © Image courtesy of Berta Cabestany

So what’s next for the emerging fashion label? Cabestany is adamant that blind drawing and embroidery experimentation will continue to define her collections: ‘I don’t think people realise how much time and skill goes into creating couture-like fashion pieces,’ she says. ‘I want to build on my signature techniques and tell people why they’re special.’

Want to learn more from Berta Cabestany? Read her guide to Barcelona here.