behind the brand
We spoke with Paloma Vázquez de Castro, founder and creative designer of Psophía, to ask her about the story behind the slow-fashion label. She explains how her designs are a reflection of self-expression and how she tries to stay away from current fashion trends.
Paloma Vázquez de Castro
First of all, how are you doing?
Very well, I’m very happy with the success that the brand is achieving and very excited about the new campaign that we are designing: the Spring/Summer ‘22 collection.
What was the initial idea behind Psophía?
The project was born of the need to produce something which reflected my personal vision of fashion. After spending a great deal of my professional life working for another brand I’d become determined to pursue self-expression in my work.
I was well-placed to do so as I already had the support of like-minded people who would become part of the Psophia team. We had the same concerns, the same taste for detail and shared the same way of understanding fashion. That shared vision and taste allowed us to launch Psophía-team with great effort and enthusiasm.
How would you describe the aesthetic identity of Psophía?
I think the important thing is to be able to faithfully project an aesthetic vision with a taste for details that excites us as creators. The more subjective and faithful to these values our work is, the more different or special it becomes. We also avoid following current fashion trends if they don’t appeal to us. However, we’re not motivated by the need to be ‘different’ or by novelty for its own sake. If we stand out, this is the organic result of commitment to our values. The sense of colour, volume, and carefully selected qualities results in a unique aesthetic. The way we interpret all these elements is what imbues our collections with their own special identity.
"The sense of colour, volume, and carefully selected qualities results in a unique aesthetic. The way we interpret all these elements is what imbues our collections with their own special identity."
Where do you find your inspiration? Has this changed over the past year?
Creativity is a difficult thing to explain. Inspiration can come in a thousand forms, at any time and in the most unexpected ways. I’m not able to sit down at a certain time to ‘create’. That’s why I always carry notebooks where I capture ideas that come to me in the moment. Later, these ideas can be experimented with and refined so that finally something mature and fully-realised is produced.
Is there a special way you develop the prints for the collections?
We take great care over detail in our work, some of which is produced by hand. Craftsmanship is key and we also paint our prints by hand before printing them on fabric using digital techniques. When we approach a complicated design, we use - as they did back in the days - a modeling mannequin. Our creative process is an amalgamation of manual craftsmanship and contemporary technology.
Do you have a specific Psophía woman in mind while designing?
Any woman who matches our spirit and who appreciates our work is welcome. We do not seek to exclude anyone. In each collection there are designs for women of different personalities, tastes, shapes, heights etc. The creative team is female and when designing a collection we think of our sisters, friends, women we know. There are many different types of women who can find something in Psophía.
How did you end up in fashion? Is it something you were always interested in?
From a very young age I spent hours painting and drawing; my mother made tapestries on a loom and we dyed the wool she used together. I started to paint silks by hand and started making clothes for myself. That's when I decided to train to dedicate myself to design professionally. It wasn’t clear if I would end up designing for the cinema, theatre, or the world of fashion.
"The creative team is female and when designing a collection we think of our sisters, friends, women we know. There are many different types of women who can find something in Psophía."
What do you think when you see someone wearing Psophía?
I’m very proud of the work we’ve done. It’s a reward for the effort we’ve made to know that clients feel good wearing our garments. Every time we are chosen, out of all the brands on the market, it means that we’ve been able to communicate our essence and philosophy. It’s a very gratifying feeling.
Do you have a favourite design from the spring/summer collection?
It’s impossible to choose just one from the embroidered tunics, the dresses, the garments with an oriental aesthetic, to the tailoring style of garments with more modern cuts...
What did you learn from having your own business?
I opened my design studio to recapture and make sense of what really motivated and excited me in the world of fashion. It’s a great adventure to start from scratch and above all I’ve learned that no matter how complicated it may be, enthusiasm and professional excellence triumph above all else and give you an immense sense of well-being.
What does Psophía contribute to sustainability?
Psophía is a Slow Fashion project, we don’t believe in the impulsive consumption that fast fashion has generated. Our garments are created to last! Regarding our production process, we work with suppliers that strictly comply with all international quality regulations and that incorporate systems in their production processes that reduce the impact on the environment.
"Psophía is a Slow Fashion project, we don’t believe in the impulsive consumption that fast fashion has generated. Our garments are created to last!"
Any future plans you would like to share with us?
We plan to expand our markets and are currently developing a strong international strategy. Likewise, we would love to open our own space to offer our clients a direct experience.
Discover the Psophía collection in our stores and online at Pauw.com.