TheConcrete Co, Real Luxury Made In Spain
I wanted to create garments previously ordered and customized for a particular person.
«TheConcrete Company Madrid was born in 2007 as a brand focused on a specific lifestyle, my lifestyle when I was 24 years old. In that time I spent my time skating and drawing. I met people in both spheres, skateboarding and illustration, so I created a line of skateboards and t-shirts with my own designs and illustrations created by friends. These products were sold in around 40 multi-brand surf and skate stores and I had sales staff employed all over Spain.The brand evolves and grows up with me» says Fernando García de la Calera, owner and taylor at TheConcrete atelier in Madrid, Spain.
In 2008 this sector was crushed by the financial crisis, both store owners and clients were young so they were specially affected. At this point I had to remake up the brand. I spent 2 years ‘hidden’ in a industrial unit in La Latina district in Madrid. There I had my home and my laboratory. There I learnt to cut and sew, as well as patterns design, mentored by the tailor Hugo Viscarra. He helped me to develop samples in the past.
«I was tired of having boxes full with 300 t-shirts or sweaters, all with the same design. Products that nobody had ordered previously. My idea was creating something that required no stock. I wanted to create garments previously ordered and customized for a particular person. The idea was not to have stock. What I wanted was to make the garment that the client wants, that’s tailoring, bespoke, ultimately. However, having a street wear background, with comfort values comfort ( jeans and t-shirt ), I could not go to a concept of classic tailoring. The idea was to make bespoke jeans, and doing so, offer the best denim in the world, the Japanese. In September 2012, I opened the tailoring shop in the center of Madrid» he added to me.
The Luxonomist: ¿Why?
Fernando García: Because I had the urgent need to do something by myself. The creative impulse and desire to do more than play a roll of fellow in a design studio. At first TheConcrete was something else, another concept. But the need was that, walk ,an do it on my own path without writing .
TL: ¿How many garments do you produce in a month?
FG: Depends on the month, but sales ranging from 25-50 articles per month. A significant amount coming out of my small workshop. It is not a factory, is a tailoring workshop and client must understand that the longer devote to his garment , the better the outcome. For me it is very important to control the creation process from start to the end and know what you are doing and for whom. This process is completed by one person, so knowing what you are doing in a total is important. To me, this is the luxury to choose every detail and know that all processes are unique , unique to that person.
TL: ¿Is the product totally handcrafted?
FG: Totally handcrafted, nothing in my workshop is produced in series. The fabrics are imported from Japan, USA and Italy. Vintage denim fabrics are made from old weavers like Levi´s did in early days, in a factory in North Carolina. They themselves rejected this process when production and mass distribution came, then they changed their fabrics by industrial double width. Currently this factory, Cone Mills Denim, still devotes part of its production to craft fabrics and is one of the providers TheConcrete.
TL: How long does it take to make a Jean?
FG: The process is long, that is not to make a pair of jeans and you’re done. It is to make decisions with the customer, cutting, basting, test, correct and undo the basting, and rebuild and put all the details that are handmade, from buttons to leather label . It took at least 12 hours.
TL: How Many fabric types and options you have to set up a garment?
FG: In TheConcrete the idea is that everything is unique. The fabrics are changing, the stock is enlarged but maintain the basic quality that always in demand. For example, the Japanese 14-ounce denim, is a bestseller and that tissue we have in continuity. Normally, I try to always have different weights of raw material ( unwashed raw) in indigo 14, 12 and 10 ounces, but I always have rareties, colors and textures.
My tailoring shop is not just jeans, it’s a casual or informal, highly combinable tailoring, elegant without having to carry a classic cool wool suit. I have cotton fabrics mainly. American Canvas (duck canvas), English waxed cotton(British Millerain ) such as the Barbour jackets, wool from Pendleton Woolen, who are known for their blankets with american native patterns, worm and witha formidable touch. We import chambray shirting fabrics, very soft from American and Italian manufacturers. In short, much of the process is to find the best cotton fabrics for my concept. A concept that, from my point of view, is that many look: elegant go without going with the typical business suit.
As for details, the customer can choose between zipper or buttons, and within these the wide range of choices: from handmade buttons of different materials like wood, corozo, mother of pearl, leather, coconut or metal classics. We also offer various fixtures and finishes as the thread color or interior. Anyway, the chances of getting a single unique garment are very high.
TL: ¿Average price?
FG: This kind of product has a price hard to estimate, because the limit is put by each customer, depending on the level of customization you want. From 150 € you can have a tailored shirt and TheConcrete Company bespoke jeans around 195 €. Prices of Jackets, coats and special garments, depend on the fabric and design
TL: do you wear Some famous with your clothes?
FG: We worked in a fashion editorials, but not, for the moment seems not to have been aware! I made garments for filmmakers, photographers, and musicians. TheConcrete client is heterogeneous, but agrees with the concept of exclusivity.
TL: Do you produce for any brand?
FG: No, now is not possible. As I say, the workshop is a tailor workshop and the infeasibility productions beyond samples.
TL: Number of workers?.
FG: Right now, I have Hugo, who is the tailor who taught me everything, Patricia is a careful and detailed seamstress, and David since September apprenticed me.
TL: Expansion Ideas?
FG: Yes, but it’s complicated. Today, the expansion is organic and controlled, time and work will dictate the way. Do not force anything, which I do have clear is that the concept can not be changed. Although it is hard to maintain, which is manufactured entirely in my workshop in Madrid, with raw material and staff costs very high. They are garments made by qualified professionals who work with me hand in hand. I like to look after them and convey my passion to live work with the same satisfaction with which I do. For me it is very important that TheConcrete keep those values and not produced in series, and look like a production line where depersonalization affects not only the product but also the worker.