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Mietis, Barcelona. Opposing fast-fashion by eliminating the structure of the seasons

«If you want to control the quality of the product you need to be close to the manufactories», states co-founder and creative director Maria Fontanellas

Established in Barcelona, Mietis is a combination of contrasts, constructing leather with colors of pastel. It won the 080 Barcelona with its first collection. Mietis delivered outfits where leather was accompanied by organza and laces. Representing the collection, consisting of a leather jacket in white and gold with fringes on the back, a Sixte’s mini skirt and Marietta bag were donated to the Museu del disseny de Barcelona, where it is displayed to date. The brand was founded in 2017 through a father-daughter collaboration. Maria Fontanellas, co-founder and creative director of Mietis, trained in Milan attending a three-year course in fashion design at Marangoni Institute and specialized in Central Saint Martins in London and at Secoli Institute in Milan to focus on the making of a product. Maria Fontanellas values knowing the process in the steps involved. She has learned the know-how since she was little. Being raised in a leather tanning company, Fontanellas Y Martì, founded by her grandfather in 1954, where she took over a space and converted it into an atelier inside the factory where she designed the first collection. The company is specialized in working with cow leather used for accessories of brands that fall under the luxury sector. The family business was the stimulus from which the idea of founding a brand focused on leather was born.

«If you want to control the quality of the product you need to be close to the manufactories», declares the creative director. The flagship store is located in Barcelona. The tannery, the farms, the slaughterhouse and the companies that carry out the processes, lie outside the capital of Catalonia. The bags are made in the south of Spain. The expertise of Fontanellas y Martì in leather processing demonstrates the time it takes to produce a product. Mietis’ ethics are based on the production of pieces that stand the test of time. They oppose fast-fashion by eliminating the structure of the seasons. The life cycle of a product is not six months as for brands subject to fashion calendars. In order to educate the clients that the products are not going out of fashion, in the customization process offered by Mietis, customers can select an in-store jacket or one proposed for the runway. The service, reserved for jackets and skirts, lets the customer choose their silhouette, color and detailing. Stitching and finishing in gold or silver are added to the computer via a technical product drawing. The customer-specific production system delivers the products within a week and is a way to avoid mass production. In order to reduce waste, Mietis acts at the beginning of the process. Limited treatment of the leather allows it to be reused. If the material is chemically processed, the waste will not recycle. «Mietis and tannery Fontanellas y Martí (FyM) have decided to classify the skins at the beginning of the process, to ensure that it is the useful surface of the skin that is subjected to the finishing stage. In the pattern, between forty and fifty percent of the skin is lost, of which, twenty-five to thirty percent corresponds to its periphery. It applies the finish of the skin to the central part, discarding the periphery that has the finishing layer. The resources that would have ended up in the peripheral zone are saved. The finished cut cannot be recovered. The skin that has turned crusty once cut can be subjected to a process of detoxification and shortening. Consequent uses are skin extracts and the protein hydrolyzate obtained», said Maria Fontanellas. The upcycling process of leather is based on reaching a zero-waste capacity from the beginning and increasing the skins value at the end of the process. Mietis was awarded a prize by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 2020. The systems put in place, a fashion calendar that does not follow seasons of the industry and the process of coloring the leather is audited by the Leather Working Group which covers sustainability issues worldwide.

still life mietis bag collection
The Mietis design is a balance between retrospectives from the past and surrealism of the future

Time is invested in research developing a pre-order service to supply on demand, avoiding unsold stock. The products are handmade and the process ensures the bags are detailed. Before launching its store in Barcelona, Mietis exhibited in a showroom in Paris for its sales campaign in a pop-up store in Los Angeles in 2018, collaborating with the shop that hosted the collection. In May 2020 the brand’s flagship store, gallery, atelier and studio opened, built in a car park. Espai Mietis 62 is a volume divided by curtains. The showroom and gallery comprise half the store, and the other half holds the creative process. No part of the space is private; clients have access to the atelier to become aware of the manufactory. There are no walls that surround rooms and the furniture is mobile. These features allow the store to host events and exhibitions with artists and brands. In September, the cosmetic label Perricone set up a beauty atelier and a make-up artist created looks in line with Mietis’ style. The Mietis design is a balance between retrospectives from the past and surrealism of the future. The color dominates the ambience through nuances of candy. Mietis is a family nickname that Maria Fontanellas’ father used to refer to her as a child. Shapes and shades are inspired from art, design and cinema. The brand reflects the affection for Memphis, French films of the Sixties, Jacques Tatì movies, interior design from the Eighties and for local art nouveau and Gaudì forms that are included in the design. The Grand Budapest Hotel color palette by Wes Anderson is reclaimed in the pink that covers the store. The shapes are lit by neon lights and skylight over the arches covering the end of the space. Corrugated iron sheets, tiles and concrete make the store. The store has been designed as they would a product, using the language of the collection’s pieces. Mietis bags are displayed like sculptures in a gallery. The interior of the store is designed to point out the structure and concept applied to the bags. Smooth, but geometrical. Fontanellas completed her training in the ready-to-wear field, but designing bags was a challenge. The process behind the design of accessories and clothes differs due to the use of material: thick leather for bags and soft leather for ready-to-wear. The craftsmanship and design activity are dependent upon each other, aesthetic choices go hand in hand with practicality.

The house of the brand fits into a Barcelona context called Poblenou, near the sea. The district housed factories; today it is a design area. Offices, furniture shops, technology companies and photographic studios are awakening the neighborhood, with fashion, art and design schools including the Museu del disseny de Barcelona. The area is not commercial, but the art institutions bring students and artists that meet the Mietis clientele. Being in a district with cultural attractions, the space attracts tourists and visitors. Mietis is looking to evolve their concept to sell at pop-up stores. The strategy is to recognize the center of the brand in Barcelona and to recall it in other cities and international markets. According to the ethic of the brand, choosing pop-ups is a way to avoid constructions and proliferation of consumerism. Mietis will promote the eshop for an international clientele to improve the online language. Projects of social inclusiveness will be articulated in the organization of the team.

IMAGE GALLERY

Mietis
Carrer de la
Ciutat de Granada, 62,
Barcelona, Spain

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