Research and creativity is a very strong combination when it comes to a brand highly specialized in outerwear, which is constantly studying new fabrics and trends to bring comfort and style into a modern and timeless collection. Marta Ramos and Ale Gondra established BasCoat in 2014, proposing a new lexicon of outerwear, in A lines, parkas, hooded jackets, sartorial expertise and classic cuts, creating suitable alternatives – whether they're mastering sheepskin, suede, wool or leather –, heading the season and defining BasCoat as a brand completely worthy of investment.
Marta Ramos is a Spanish Basque fashion designer born in Bilbao, where she lives and works. She moved to London to study at London College of Fashion, as well as at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. She worked as assistant and collection illustrator for Stella McCartney whilst attending college and, after graduating in 2007, she joined Burberry to work as a visual artist and illustrator. Marta came back to Spain in 2008, and started working as a fashion designer for Zara Woman in La Coruña.
Two years later, she moved back to Bilbao, where she joined forces with Ale Gondra, establishing their design consulting firm for the high-end fashion industry, and collaborates since 2012 with the Dobert Textile Group from Barcelona.
Marta, you founded the company BasCoat this year with Ale Gondra. Two years before, in 2012, you also created an international design consulting service aimed to satisfy the demand in the high-end fashion industry. Do you combine both activities? Which kind of services do you offer to your clients?
Yes, we create outerwear pieces twice a year, and we also keep on managing the consulting service. We are specialized in the external creative direction. We develop textile collections, presenting trends and colour options in moodboards to our clients. Some companies are a bit lost with so many influences and options, so they need someone who leads them to get focused and to see the whole perspective.
How do both of you get involved in the processes of BasCoat? Are you on charge of the creative direction and Ale is mostly dedicated to the entrepreneurial part?
Yes, it's like that. But since this is a small company, the truth is that we both take care of the different aspects of the firm.
What about your experience in Stella McCartney and Burberry? What did you learn there? Any noticeable difference between the English and Spanish systems?
Both experiences were very positive. I knocked on Stella McCartney's door and it opened thanks to my drawing skills. I started as an intern, organizing files and assisting in the design department, until I signed my first contract as a collection illustrator. One year later I got my degree and joined Burberry, also as illustrator and visual artist. I realized that the market of luxury is highly competitive, and if you want to be part of that team, you have to work really hard. I learnt how to detect my strengths, which helped me find my specialization and opportunities to work as a professional in fashion. I think this business is about trends. In the UK, they know how to set them through their culture and how to export them to other countries. The English educational system provides more options in Art and Fashion Design, so the result has been visible through the years.
Why did BasCoat specialize in outerwear? Was your project clear since the beginning?
The market has imposed specialization. We think there are too many brands that offer a total look. So our intention, from the very first moment, has been to be specialized. In our experience as consultants, we´ve created outerwear pieces for our clients, so the birth of BasCoat was a natural evolution.
BasCoat is based in Bilbao, and it certainly expresses a Basque heritage in the grey and industrial colours, as well as in the warmth textures, and excellent raw materials –that rest on a classic basis with a modern tweak. How does it work? How do you mix urban and cutting-edge pieces without being repetitive?
Our starting point is set on classic colors, fabrics and materials, trying to adapt them into functional and contemporary pieces. We also have the opportunity of getting involved in the development process of the fabric, as part of our consulting service. This is exactly what permits us to select the materials we prefer to use for the BasCoat collections.
Your collection is very urban, reflecting both the winter and a warm spirit in perfectly straight coats, loose parkas, plain colors and a slight mixture of fabrics obtaining a timeless effect. When creating your designs, do you follow your own codes? Do you make any concession to ephemeral trends?
We didn´t follow any established code in our first collection. We developed fabrics for outerwear according to the trends that already existed and which were on demand by the market. We've followed the same method in our next collection. I guess this is our code.
The cycle of fashion goes really fast. The outerwear, however, is a very seasonal piece of clothing. How do you make the planning of the collection?
Our planning strategy is a parallel process to our outerwear consulting services. Once we've presented the trends in fabrics and colours to our client, we select the qualities that suit best BasCoat. We also take care of the production processes – that take place in Spain entirely, so we can take control over it in detail.
The product of BasCoat is quite selective, aimed to a demanding consumer who knows about design and fashion. Which are the core values of the brand? And who is the kind of person who inspires you?
Our challenge is to create timeless pieces for BasCoat, very classic and easily adapted to the requirements of a contemporary and demanding woman who values quality, exclusivity and functionality.
Marta, at the moment your clothes can be acquired at Le New Black. Are you also developing your own e-shop?
Yes, you can acquire the winter collection at Le New Black. The spring/summer 2015 collection will be available online very soon, and also in different Spanish points of sale.
Where do you foresee that BasCoat will be in five years?
We'd love to continue on developing BasCoat, as well as our consulting services.