By Isabella Mena

It’s safe to say that final collections for graduates are an open door for professionals in the industry, to make an impression and window shop what would be a future brand before the garments get archived once again. Some might run with the luck and get spotted right away but the reality for most is to begin planning and searching from square 1.

So what type of navigations can graduates have for their creations to be on the fashion lens with longevity? Making available more opportunities and platforms for these designers to choose how they want to be visualized as, seeing how it can translate to the growing audience and potentially start networking and creating relationships that can lead to a hire.

As for any creator who is trying to establish themselves in the scene, publishing portfolios and using social media is a good way to start, as well for people to see your work, skills and creative process. Having interactions with stylists, photographers or even creative directors that might be interested in working with you hand in hand and spand the platforms where you’re seen.

At the end of the day fashion design is not just going to school, getting a degree and for garments to disappear In the closet. There are a lot of talents in the street that could be bringing amazing visions and original ideas to companies. Fashion shouldn’t be about privilege but about talent, skills and a deep perspective of our culture surroundings.

Being in the topic of graduates aiming for bigger and better options it felt pretty much natural as well as a great opportunity to ask one of my most recents friends Juan Varela who is not just a upcoming fashion designer but as well someone who ventures on other disciplines inside fashion what point of view he had into the matter and give him the space to showcase his last recent editorial ‘varela’ where he decided to acknowledge his own comunity of queer black and brown people of our society.

Varela x Juan Varela
Creative Direction: Juan Varela (@juanvareladuarte)
Photo: Carlota Olmo (@carlota.olmo)
Art: Laura Doublez (@lauradoublez)
MUA: Amy Lezaun (@amy.lezaun)
Prints: Eguen Yeregüi (@evioletti)
Fashion Designs: Juan Varela
Models: Megane Mercury (@meganemercury), Jennifer Acst (@jenniferacst), (@tadinosaurio), (@p0lemik), Juan Varela (@varela______________)

Isabella: For the people who don’t know you, what does ‘varela’ represent?

Juan: ‘Varela’ to me is a way of externalizing my artistic creations in a project that’s going to explore different routes of creating fashion. I feel like I’m looking for a formula. I’ve always presented my work as myself, me being the author, but now I want the projects to be outside of myself, to be something thats by my side and grows next to me, kind of detaching myself by pouring my creativity into something that’ll grow, and I don’t know yet in what shape, color or size.

I: What creative row do you usually take at the moment of creating your designs?

J: To create my garments I always think first about a deadline, ¿when is this coming out and what will people want in this period of time? Which situates the fashion in a period of time,

context and scenario. That’s also why my clothes and the images of how I present them always go hand by hand, because both ideas develop at the same time.

I: Now that you’re pretty much officially a graduate, what are your plans and what do you think you could bring to the table?

J: My plans right now are to explore more in depth different artistic expressions that I’ve already touched, I want to feel good with what I always do. Styling sometimes is very hard on myself, and designing feels good but selling not as much… I guess I’m kind of in a state of limbo, but I’m trying to enjoy as much of the ride as possible. Of all the things I’ve worked on, working on a costume design team has been the most fulfilling to me, and I want to get to a point where my designs and this type of work merge together.


I: Have you ever felt like people didn’t take you seriously enough in the creation of your brand?

J: There will always be people who will take your work for granted, not knowing how much you’ve had to invest, time, money, creativity… etc. I would say I’ve probably had this situation happen, but I’m a person that’s really focused on my craft and my own success. And just seeing how many people have supported me, even if it’s just by sharing my work makes me feel really grateful and accomplished. I mean there’s people wearing my creations, that’s crazy to me.

I: Can you point What is it that you like and what it is that you don’t like about working in fashion?

J: I’ve always felt like fashion was an extension of myself, dressing however I want and switching up my looks in the most extravagant way is something I’ve always done ever since I was young. I didn’t even realise how different I looked from everyone else, because in my own world this just gave me confidence and helped me face my day to day in a different way. I want to transmit the same feeling to everyone. I want to dress the people that walk next to me in the same streets we all walk in, and that’s what I like about this. Working in fashion there are so many things I don’t like; the elitism, the egos, the cultural smudging of people’s creativity… etc. But I’m not focused on all of that, I’m in my own lane with people that are in the same mindset as me.

I: Do you think there’s another way for fashion graduates to navigate and be able show their work?

J: I think it’s really hard for newly graduates to get exposure, and specially to make their coins. There needs to be a change in the way we consume and that might be coming, but I don’t think it’ll be soon. It’s like okay now I finished school, how is little me going to compete with Shein?