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Gabriel Nogueiras, founder of the Spanish-based brand, Rubearth, recently won the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent 2021 award with his collection entitled FAT MAN — inspired by the atomic bombs that fell on Japan during the Second World War. Tired of how monotone fashion is becoming, he feels it necessary to use the stories of the world to inspire collections. Nogueiras talks about his label’s portmanteau name, blending words which he ultimately feels could be the solution to sustainable fashion.
First of all, congratulations on winning the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talent 2021 award with your collection, FAT MAN. Do you already know where you want to take your brand with the cash prize that you received?
Thank you very much, I can hardly believe it happened! My plan is to invest every last euro in continuing to expand the brand. My current ideas and work are focused on developing the website to serve as a showcase for my work and create a sales system for collections and other products I am creating.
This is the second time you presented a collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid. The first time you entered, you presented your collection entitled Landsketch. What do you think FAT MAN has that your previous collection doesn’t?
Landsketch was a presentation to the real world; I was so nervous when I was there since it is my most experimental and personal project. On the other hand, FATMAN is my most ambitious project both in concept and textiles. It’s a unique new aesthetic for men that supports a powerful imagination, with a particular and careful way of doing things. The collection also never loses sight of ecofriendly practice, research in pattern making and inventive use of fabric.
This particular collection covers quite a controversial topic. In your opinion, do you think that fashion should be more controversial?
Yes definitely, I do not know if this makes me a rebel (hopefully) but after 10 years in the textile industry, I ended up very saturated with banal topics that don’t contain another discourse other than different forms of flower or animal print in trend that season. The world has many interesting stories that although harsh or tragic - why not tell them? I am bored by fashion that does not have something new to say to me.

You initially studied Advertising and Image Direction. What made you change paths? Have you always had an interest in fashion or did this passion come later on in life?
I am one of those restless minds that want to create concepts and things all the time. But no, fashion was not something that captivated me since I was young, it was as you said, a gradual experience that continues to surprise me more and more today.
You worked for many years in the marketing sector yet in an interview you admit that you don’t even really believe in it. How does this affect the way you design and your production process?
My creative processes are totally detached from sales or product marketing criteria. That’s why my product stands out. It's not that I don't believe in marketing, we are surrounded by it. But I don't understand creating something to please others without making me happy and convincing myself.
Can you tell us more about your approach to sustainability in your designs and how you view ‘green washing’ in the fashion industry? Is it something that you feel strongly about?
RUBEARTH = REUSE / BEING / EARTH / ART. The name of the brand contains my proposal to the world. My idea is to recover textile waste or stock that meets certain requirements. (100% organic and recycled). Combining with a local production system and 100% handmade and made in Spain. After spending many years [in the industry], as I have, you get to see a lot of wrongdoings. I wanted to break away from all this. I think that, like me, many thought the same - the industry has changed due to the need to clean up its image, but even so, there is still 90% left to be solved.

Your AW 21/22 collection entitled FAT MAN is inspired by the atomic bombs used in Japan during the Second World War — Little Boy and Fat Man. As you were designing the collection, was this apocalyptic-like event mirrored in the experiences of the pandemic?
Yes, indeed I was immersed in an atmosphere as in a war movie; empty streets (it really seemed that a bomb had fallen), extreme isolation, devastating news, and with high doses of pessimism, it is currently our day to day so it is impossible not to be inspired by this particular situation. But, Rubearth with bright use of colour and clashing also has that essence of risk, optimism and vigour.
Covid has definitely made everything ten times harder to accomplish anything. How was it realising such an extensive collection regarding sourcing out the textiles and getting inspiration?
Well, I spent 6 months thinking about Rubearth from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm curfew. Then I would run back home and go to bed to dream about Rubearth. It was very hard but it was worth every second invested.
Given your recent win and opportunity to expand your brand, we can only expect great things. Do you have any big projects for the future that you can tell us about?
My idea is to start selling in big stores in Spain and across Europe. Right now I am immersed in looking for new lines of inspiration and materials to launch collections and continue to gain recognition and happiness.

India Gustin
Lara Abeledo
Creative director
Jorge Fuster
Styling and Cast
Alberto Vegue
Make up
Fany Mayo
Nicolas Sané & Antón Ponte

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