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LCI Barcelona students present at 080 Barcelona Fashion: “Unlike in other schools, our students make all the prototypes themselves”

By Veerle Versteeg


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The graduation collection of LCI Barcelona student Carla Lázaro.

Yesterday, Thursday October 28, was the last day of catalan fashion week 080 Barcelona Fashion. The students of the LCI Barcelona Fashion Design School were invited to participate in this year’s all-digital October edition of the event by showcasing their graduation show fashion film “Inner Worlds”. FashionUnited spoke with Estel Vilaseca, Head of the Fashion Department, about the extensive fashion design process at LCI, graduation shows in a digital format, well-known Spanish LCI alumni and how LCI distinguishes itself from other fashion design schools in Spain.

Is this the first time LCI Barcelona’s fashion design students have participated in 080 Barcelona Fashion?

“Each year, various local fashion design schools are given the opportunity to participate in the event. Our graduate students have participated in the event in the past, three times in total, but this was mainly in the form of traditional, physical catwalk presentations, which is what we had been used to before the pandemic hit. Covid-19 forced us to explore other options for graduation shows, especially since the most recent editions of 080 Barcelona Fashion have been in an all-digital format, with designers showcasing their collections through fashion films. In other words, preparing for this new format requires a different approach and it was very interesting to figure this out. In addition, the students really enjoy the digital format because it allows more room for their individual creativity than in a regular catwalk show. In the end, our interests are aligned: promoting creativity, innovation in fashion, local creations and production.”

How many students participated in the final fashion film that was showcased at 080 Barcelona?

“15 students, which are our fashion design students that have received the highest grades. We have 53 Fashion Design students graduating from LCI Barcelona this academic year, who are all showcasing their collections at our big graduation show in December. 080 Barcelona Fashion hosts two editions annually but our graduates are only able to participate in the October edition as students wrap up their collections in June of the previous year. The spring edition of Barcelona fashion week takes place in April so our students would simply not have their collections ready by then.

“The 15 students that are selected for 080 Barcelona Fashion have the opportunity to give the public a sneak-peek into their creations and into the LCI December graduation show as a whole. We showcase one version of this sneak peak at 080 Barcelona Fashion annually and like to refer to it as a “trailer” for the big show.”

A look from the graduation collection of LCI Barcelona student Neus García.
LCI Barcelona student Camelia Rendón's graduation collection.

How was the preparation process in the months leading up to the release of the fashion film?

“Our bachelor’s students’ final year is focused on their graduation collections, showcased in the final graduation show. Students are able to take some electives but the main focus is the show and the design process that leads up to it. From September to January, students focus on coming up with a concept for their final project and selecting the materials and fabrics they want to work with, as well as envisioning what the presentation of their collection will look like and developing the technical details of their concept. In the months after that, from about January until June, they initiate the long process of developing and making their prototypes, all of which I should note, they have to make by themselves, something that students in not a lot of fashion design programs in Spain do. At LCI, creating this all by oneself is a requirement.

“After developing and making all of their prototypes, students either execute these themselves or bring them to the tailor’s where they are also handcrafted.”

Looks from the graduation collections of LCI Barcelona students Regina Pera (left) and Silvia Martí (right)

How did the final graduation show film come together?

“LCI Barcelona does not just have a fashion department. We also have a graphic design school, an interior design school and a photography school for example. For this more unconventional graduation show format and the challenges that creating a fashion film poses, we asked the photography students to photograph the looks the graduates created and we compiled them in a lookbook. The interior design students helped with the set design and the graphic design students made the credits come to life. It was wonderful to be able to collaborate all together as an institution and prepare for an event as legendary as 080 Barcelona Fashion Week.

“Apart from students from different departments, our professors and staff also did their part. For instance, Professor Alex Llopis, who teaches photography and is also part of the fashion department, directed the photography for the designers’ lookbooks and Salva Elefante, head of the photography department, and some of his students compiled the photographs into lookbooks. A professional team then recorded and edited the fashion film to create the final product.

“Last June, we spent five full days-from Monday through Friday from 9 to 5- recording the Inner Worlds film and subsequently shared one version of it on our LCI platform.”

Could you describe the concept of the fashion film created by the 15 selected students?

“The graduation show ‘trailer’ is called Inner Worlds. The pandemic was a tough time for our students and the lockdown especially. They each coped with it in their own way. They more or less all lived in their own universe, in their own ‘mental world’, you could say. When lockdown ended, they basically had to create their collections right away.

“We filmed in photography studio Top Studios in Barcelona, in front of an all-white backdrop developed by Pedro Coelho, Head of Interior Design at LCI Barcelona, which enabled us to highlight each individual student’s collection, and with it their world, within the show as a whole. This is also why you see floating globes in the fashion film, these represent the different universes. The show is really an invitation to travel and discover all these individual visions and ideas. This is also why I am unable to choose just one or two of my students that stand out. Their collections are all very interesting and unique in their own way.”

Click here to see the LCI Barcelona graduation show trailer which its students presented at 080 Barcelona Fashion.

Is sustainability an important part of the classes at your fashion school?

“Definitely, and it has been an essential part of our program for the last several years. We have been teaching students to work with natural dyes, hands-on techniques for making and constructing pieces, how to incorporate natural materials such as wool, etc. This is reflected by many designers who participated in the show. To name a few students who incorporated sustainability into their designs in innovative ways this academic year: Jin Bing used natural dyeing techniques and reworked denim, Sara Bailac created a completely upcycled collection by reusing existing clothing pieces, Carla Calbet chose to reuse different fabrics such as deadstock materials and incorporated handpainted pieces into her collection. Students really make a case for craftsmanship, as creating garments by hand makes pieces last longer.”

Four upcycled looks from LCI Barcelona student Sara Bailac's graduation collection
Four graduation looks by LCI Barcelona student Jin Bing: reworked denim and natural dyes.
A look from LCI Barcelona student Carla Calbet's graduation collection which consists of creations made from deadstock material and handpainted pieces.

In your opinion, what distinguishes LCI Barcelona from other fashion design schools that also participate in Barcelona Fashion Week?

“First of all I would like to point out that on average our students’ collections consist of eight looks as this is the assignment they are given but there are always a few students who produce looks that consist of 30 to 50 pieces. As students from other schools tend to produce collections with looks that are a lot less complete, I would say that our students’ collections stand out for this reason especially. All of our students’ collections are developed very much in depth, different patterns and techniques are incorporated. Students make an effort to not repeat the same pattern in all of their pieces, but are encouraged to experiment, for instance. In the end, what we create at LCI comes very close to haute couture and we have a professional team that guides students throughout the design process.

“At LCI, we have been teaching fashion design for 92 years so we are really a pioneer in fashion education. Before the pandemic, when we held a physical catwalk graduation show, we would always invite a creative director to attend.

“Our fashion design school has some well known Spanish alumni, such as designer Dominnico who won the Vogue ‘Who’s On Next Award 2021’ earlier this week and graduated from LCI Barcelona only about five years ago, and designer María Escoté who is teaming up with Barcelona brand Desigual on a capsule collection. There is a full list of alumni on our website but I would just like to mention one other designer, Paola Molet. She showcased her fashion film at 080 Barcelona Fashion yesterday and is on the official calendar for the event but she actually graduated in the middle of lockdown last year. She has already participated in two seasons of 080 Fashion Week and for the first of these, she showcased her graduation collection, which really shows how complete our graduates’ collections are once they are finished.”

LCI Barcelona student Carla Lázaro plays with volumes in her graduation collection
080 Barcelona Fashion
Estel vilaseca
Fashion Education
Graduation Show