Romina Cardillo(35) invited us to her study at the commercial neighbourhood of Belgrano, Buenos Aires. The building itself is a clear synthesis of her profile and story as a young designer. First you pass through the front door, full of glued images from international magazines fashion productions imitating a punk rock adolescent's room full of models to follow. Once you pass through the door you can see a well ordered massive pile of fabric rolles waiting ready to be cut and be part of the production as the enormous supporting structure her family mean to her life. Next, there's only one way up, the stairs are the spinal of the building that connect a few floors where you can find different items from the identity of 'Nous Etudions'; first a coat over a white board on the stair landing like a contemporary painting, and on the second one a piece of a laser cut accessory that appears on 'Nudite', her last SS16 collection.
While we get ready for the interview you can feel a very calm down atmosphere surrounded by the colours of the next winter collection waiting to be shown to the public.
MM. Who are you Romina? Where do you come from?
RC. Well, my mother is Estela Vazquez one of the owners of Maria Vazquez, my family's business where I started right from the bottom first as a hanger stocker, then as a cashier and so on until I got to the most interesting part, the design and communication of the product.
I appreciate the experience because this gave me the hole picture about a fashion brand management.
Unlike most of new graduates I got the fortune to live every stage of the administration before my academic studies in fashion design at UADE (Universidad Argentina de la Empresa).
Then I met Turquesa Topper, one of my mentors at school. She taught me that fashion design is a communication discipline and it has a strong social role. She introduced me to geniuses as Martin Margiela and Rei Kawakubo. That was the propitious space to grow on creativity.
MM. That was the moment to prove yourself with your own project right?
RC. Definitely. After my school years and my experience in business I created 'Grupo 134', a brand with eco and social conscience for men. In that moment the message was a little bit 'aggressive' (laughs). It was a project that was reflected on my punk rock years. I'm a huge fan of 'Fun People' a 90's argentinian hardcore punk rock band.
In that moment I used to be more rebellious and anti establishment. Even though I learned how to connect content and ideals like animal rights with fashion. Somehow I ended up working with Greenpeace. We even got to sell in Berlin. It was an huge enriching experience.
MM. What does it feel being a mother and a designer? How do you manage to play this new task in your life?
RC. I'm a new person. Since I decided with my boyfriend to become parents my general vision of the universe became more positive. Being a mother sensibiliced me and took me into a hole new world, my daughter's Filipa. Now I can walk on someone's else shoes and be more comprehensive. I'm in love with my child' perspective and kindness.
MM. What does 'Nous' represent for yourself?
RC. Nous reflects the maturity on my career. It represent my new research about my heaviest question, trying to find out a definition to my identity in the local market so I was curious about the art of the people of my country. that`s how I started to work with Wichis (an indigenous tribe who live at Chaco province at the northern part of the country).They craft 'chaguar', a textile they use to protect them selves from the wild crafted by an ancient textile technique made out a plant that grows in nature. This resistant fiber comes from a plant found in the semi-arid Chaco, the provinces of Salta and Formosa, which is used since immemorial times. Wichí, a nation of hunters-gatherers, craft it for making bags, ponchos clothing, nets, ropes, and their subsistence activities, even for cosmological use. It is much more than a fiber, it is a connection with nature and the universe. This exchange of reciprocity has its own rhythm that has nothing to do with fashion scheduled as we all know it. Two worlds meet, it is not colonize another culture, but an exchange; there must be reciprocity, there must be a mutual benefit for both sides.
MM. After the presentation of 'Nudité', in BAFWEEK (Buenos Aires Fashion Week) You had great press repercussions and lots of promotion. How did you passed from being the Eco brand to the poetic minimal brand working with celebrities?
RC. Well it was part of my maturity process as a commercial brand with a sophisticated product for consumers who respect nature. I understood that I don't need to be reiterating with the same speech about being eco friendly or else. That's something that works for myself and my method of production. I want to let the public to discover the product in a connection between clothes and feelings. That's how I get in a third place as an observer. I love to see how the fall in love.
My last communication strategy was working with influencers as 'Calu Rivero'(28) a young actress, dj and model who linked the brand with the ideal of women with that particular beauty and body I design for. But the quality of the product speaks for it self so I enjoy how people connect to my design in a much more easier way.
MM. How do you deal with the idea of selling outside the country?
RC. The opportunity is always present. We have public interested in the label from different part of the globe. In South America the first optional countries are Chile and Uruguay. Possibly we get an store in Spain.
In this aspect, something positive happened after I worked with a friend of mine, Clara Deshayes (26) a french young dj and model who worked for Jaquemus, Vetements and Acne. People from different sides of the planet showed interest right away.
In the end, my priorities are here in my country. I want to keep expanding and growing strong here. Next month we are opening our first store in the neighbourhood of Palermo Soho. We are working on that.
MM. After Grupo 134, Will you ever design for men again?
RC. Maybe next summer but not for men specifically. Nous is not even for women only. My boyfriend, male friends or even the photographers for the campaigns they all tell me they would wear some items. I don't design for the old conception of latinamerican women body with curves. I'm focused on an unisex androgynous kind of beauty. The silhouettes of my preference are adherent and oversized. But everybody is invited to try 'Nous' without prejudice of getting dressed.
MM. Do you see yourself as a fashion design teacher at any university?
RC. I don't feel I have the energy to be a a Design teacher. But never say never.
People invite me for different sort of talking about fashion and social ethics.
A few months ago I participated in 'Generacion Vitnik' as a mentor. It was a contest for new designers. My contribution is my experience for the young community of designers.
What I concern the most about fashion school and business is the lack of consciousness about the creativity in business management. Both concept must work together. Product can't be pure experiment but has to have functionality. During my talks, I always tell to the young designers let's see how we dress. We can make design with content but we must lose fear to massive production.
MM. How do you describe your creative process?
RC. My process is caos (laughs). It depends on my humour. But my constant is a social matter narrative.
For my next AW16 I took as a reference the Tibetans and their characteristics uses in clothing. I'm always about function. I'm not pretentious about the form.
So the main idea is to go with this new kind of humanity of the world who isn't particularly from one place but is part of the whole planet.
All we can see on social networks about war in Syria, terrorist attacks in France, natural disasters and many other examples of violence and urgencies are part of all of us. No doubt this is something we all have to take care about and affects me so I have to talk about it through my discipline. I want to believe that we can change for good. I need to do it for my daughter.