Spring is approaching and for the second consecutive year it seems that there will be no fairs or pilgrimages in Andalusia due to the pandemic. A dramatic situation for flamenco fashion and all the crafts that it entails.
The sector brings together around 500 companies and firms that have seen their activity stop overnight, with losses of 80% in the year 2020. All had their hopes on 2021, but the reality is this too is expected to be a year of drought. They have endured a year, but surviving two is impossible for many of them.
Some have been able to avail themselves of various aids, while still having to pay the self-employment bill, which has also gone up, and the different taxes. Added to this is the current obligation to pay social security to employees at ERTE and the prohibition of making redundancies that for many, in spite of themselves, would be inevitable. And all that without income.
The Junta de Andalucía has given different aids to which some of these artisans have been able to access, aimed at the self-employed in general. Manufacture of clothing, 300 euros; manufacture of other outerwear, 1,000 euros; manufacture of jewelry, costume jewelry, and the like, 300 euros; rental aid, 1,200 euros …
It is difficult to calculate the losses in the flamenco fashion sector in euros, because, according to Pedro GonzÃ¡lez, president of the association Qlamenco (Association of Business Designers of Flamenco Fashion and Crafts)To date there is no study in this sector. “It is very complex and we have been trying for some time to get an administration to do it, because you need to know the data of a sector to find solutions.”
When we talk about studies on the fashion sector we talk about textiles and clothing “and that is not fashion. Fashion is also culture. Everything is involved in that textile sector, from sheets to firefighter suits “.
Models exhibited in the first catwalk organized by Qlamenco at the Casa Fabiola in Seville.
Setting up a flamenco collection costs, on average, between 30,000 and 40,000 euros, to which must be added expenses for accessories, photographers, stylists and participation in catwalks. In 2020, all the work was stored and hung on the hangers.
They say that in times of crisis ingenuity is sharpened and creativity flourishes. And all of this was discussed at the round table online organized by Qlamenco, ‘La moda flamenca. Present and future of a conditioned gender ‘, moderated by its president, Pedro GonzÃ¡lez, and in which they participated Maripi Robles (director of the communication agency Not only an idea and director of Pasarela Flamenca Granada), Delia NÃºÃ ± ez (creator and designer of Flamenca Pol NÃºÃ ± ez), Esperanza M. Serrano (technical manager of CADE LUNAR, Andalucía Emprende), Juan Boleco (designer) and Pilar Torrecillas (creator and designer of Dalbat and member of the Association of Fashion Creators of Spain ACME).
Already in the afternoon it took place a catwalk show held at the Casa Fabiola Donation of Mariano Bellver, the first to be held in person since the beginning of the pandemic and with new proposals in the Covid era. Sixteen designers participated, each presenting a gypsy costume, which was accompanied by a new accessory: the mask, also with flamenco airs and designed to match each dress.
What all the speakers at the table agreed is that the pandemic has caused a brutal acceleration in the digital transformation of firms and companies. Many entrepreneurs in the sector saw that digital is more and more in command, but due to difficulties and costs they could not make up their minds. They started making robes, Epis and masks for toilets, then they commercialized them and later they looked for new outlets to move forward.
The crisis has forced them to change their business model and overnight they have had to start operating through websites and Social Networks.
The Sevillian Delia NÃez is convinced that “this is a war, and the post-war period will last more than two years, much more to return to what we had “. For this reason, it has opted to open new lines of business and propose new collaborations between firms. In its case, it has successfully launched home and fashion lines” comfortable and wearable “.
Pilar Torrecillas (Pilar Dalbat) stands out for her concept of a Sewing House made in Granada and handmade, with great ties to architecture and with a ten-year trajectory lived in various countries until she decided to return to her land and launch from her to the world her creations.
“Andalusians are creative and have always been used to working with few resources. We had to take action,” he says. For this reason, it turned its business around, opted for online – in addition to maintaining its physical store and its workshop in Granada – and turned its collections around while maintaining the good quality of its products. “And improving it, because the consumer has matured and has forced us to improve, which makes us differentiate ourselves”. In addition to searching new sales techniques, like through Instagram and the Reels.
From Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), Juan Boleco says that he opted for online and it turned out well. “I presented the collection on February 19, 2020; in twenty-four hours I had sold 65 suits and the video had 15,000 views”. The pandemic arrived and with it the panic. Of 90 dresses of mothers of communion girls he sold 13; of 8 brides, he only made one. Last Christmas he decided to create bags and handbags, and it is working good. “We set ourselves limitations. Now we are seeing new possibilities, “he says.
Maripi Robles, from the Granada Flamenco Show website, has promoted a new sales platform for designers and brands in the sector, also encouraging flamenco fashion “inspire to create street clothes”.
From the Junta de AndalucÃa, Esperanza M. Serrano explained the usefulness of the AndalucÃa Emprende website, where actions, objectives, queries or ways of redirecting business models can be learned. The platform also highlighted We are Emprende Network, in which information that arrives via the Internet is brought together in an orderly manner. Specifically, the Reinicia program helps to redirect and give impetus to new business models from all sectors, including flamenco fashion. One piece of information: during 2020, 525 inquiries from freelancers and 6,172 inquiries about financing were handled.
Along with the designers participating in the table, many others are transforming their businesses. Various examples. Lina1960 has launched Lina Global, with cosmopolitan Andalusian-inspired designs, and LeCOOP, a line of leather and decoration articles and accessories that they make in their own workshop in a traditional way.
Aurora GaviÃ ± o is doing urban fashion with new fabrics with original characteristics. RocÃo Peralta has designed accessories for mobiles and tablets, pajamas and robes and works in a new brand. RocÃo Olmedo designs practical and original bags, also suitable for some sports. Pepa Garrido has opted for garments with denim fabric, handbags, raincoats and is preparing new lines. MiAbril (Lourdes Montes and RocÃo Terry’s signature) has opted for household items (glassware, crockery, tablecloths …). MarÃa CaparrÃ³s (Voss Flamenco) readapts flamenco in garments and skirts that are crossing borders. And Pilar Vera, one of the most recognized, records online flamenco sewing courses.
In the words of Pedro GonzÃ¡lez, “I hope that flamenco fashion will continue to excite us and bring us the joy of always. And that at last it is declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.