Fashion Crush: Paula Nadal

All Images: Paula Nadal

Sustainable fashion often has a boring ‘minimal’ connotation, but we know there is so much more to it than this. Paula Nadal is designing the clothes we want to wear, both for day and evening.

Paula Nadal is the creator, designer and the founder of PAULANADAL. A young designer, she was born and raised in the small Catalonian city of Girona. Later she moved to Barcelona and Madrid before finding a home in the UK capital. For four years she has been based in London, where she opened the doors of her own fashion house. Paula’s collaborator and The Vendeur’s Contributor Cecilia Mezzi had a (virtual) chat with her about being a businesswoman, a fashion designer in the midst of a pandemic, and being a sustainable fashion advocate, ça va sans dire.
The Vendeur: What was your first memory of fashion?  Paula Nadal: I must have been 10 years old, I was reading a magazine where I saw a picture of John Galliano’s latest show at Dior and this one image just captivated me. I remember thinking, what IS this, why are they doing this? Back then I didn’t know anything about fashion or clothes. However that small picture made me feel so much. I just felt very connected to it, and I stared at it for a very long time.
TV: Where do you draw inspiration from? What’s your creative process?  PN: My inspiration comes from an obsession, and this obsession can be anything. It becomes something extremely powerful inside my mind. I (quite classically) still sketch and work with textiles that are available to me to create an idea of these obsessions. Then I start physically toiling (pattern testing using fabric). At the same time, I will dedicate some energy to creating paintings of the muses that I envisage for these creations. They are always fantastical strong women.
TV: Which are your style references? Do you have a style icon?  PN: For me, style is personality and clothes are physical expressions of our personality. I like to focus on the glamour and elegance of the old decades. The Golden age of Hollywood is a big reference in my work. In addition, the design and advertising of the ‘70s, creativity was everything back then! When it comes to a style icon, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. There are lots, old and new.
TV: How do you implement sustainable choices within your label? Do they affect your design as well?  PN: This is one of the most exciting and challenging parts of my business. PAULANADAL shows two main collections a year with 15 full looks. They range from day to evening-wear. Thirty percent of each collection is made from upcycled materials. To do this we purchase leftover metres of fabric from suppliers. The rest of the collection is made from natural fabrics, with 90% of the fabrics coming from England. All of our suppliers are local. We don’t use plastic, and if by any chance we find some in the studio, we will reuse it as much as we can. Our productions are very limited, we don’t want any unnecessary waste in our house because we don’t do mark down sales at all. The only discount you can find with us is in our pre-orders! We take our ethical impact very seriously during the creation of our pieces but, in the end, we are also speaking about design. Everything in the pieces matters. Just like it should.   
TV: How did the pandemic affect your business? Do you think it should be a trigger for a more ‘slow’ fashion system?  PN: Our physical retailer closed their doors, our factories and some of our fabrics suppliers did too. So, yes, indeed it’s been a challenging moment for the business. However, the more limited I found myself, the more creative I have turned out to be! I think it can definitely be a defining point that triggers a change. I hope this break will help to slow down our electric and overloaded fashion calendar and make design a special, slower choice again.
TV: Can you tell us a bit more about your Remote Workshop?  PN: Oh yes, the Remote Workshop! This is something new and awesome! Last December I started a series of workshops for beginners in my studio, where we learnt how to create our own Tie-Dye design. In light of the current situation we mentioned, I decided to continue doing it remotely so we all have the same opportunity and could get back together once more. It’s just been amazing. Now I can reach out worldwide, it’s an extraordinary experience. I think it’s a perfect craft to disconnect, relax and just be in the moment creating with your hands. Tie Dye is something very special and I recommend everyone to try it. I deliver a box to you with all the materials and instructions to set up your table, you only need an internet connection to do a video call with me. It’s just so fun.
TV: What are your future plans for the label?  PN: I am launching a lounge-wear line soon! Personally, I got exhausted using my “comfy clothes”. They don’t flatter me and don’t enhance my personality, they look lazy and this is not me. So I decided to launch this beautiful capsule collection, elegant and chic enough for all occasions and comfortable enough to be at home. Which currently is our priority!  I do also have my PEACEMAKER line within the brand. I am planning to develop this project as a way to spread a different message, to connect with people and spread awareness. Hopefully, we can start positive change. I will keep you posted.