When one thinks of Spain, the usual imagery comes to mind: getting your passport stolen in Barcelona, fifteen-for-one questionable cocktails on the Costa del Sol, Benicassim, those weird red wine and Coca Cola drinks that actually taste quite nice, bull fighting, etc.
Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in all the stereotypes of Europe’s sunniest country but there’s plenty to be enjoyed outside of this. For a start, the vibrant cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Seville all inspire a huge range of creative artistry, including – believe it or not – menswear.
That’s right fellas, this week we look towards the land of Fernando Torres, sangria and the great La Sagrada Familia for a breath of fresh sartorial air.
So without further ado, take a look at our top five Spanish brands you should know about…
1. Massimo Dutti
Did you fall into the trap of thinking Massimo Dutti was Italian too? Yes? No? Well, you’re either as stupid (or ignorant, who knows) as me or you’re already in the know – if it’s the latter, bravo.
Massimo Dutti is a mid-priced brand that doesn’t compromise on craftsmanship or aesthetics. Pieces are timeless, simple and on point without the need for novelty or gimmick detailing – a depressingly common ailment of many other inexpensive labels.
The greatest strength of Massimo Dutti lies in their refusal to embrace trends. For SS14, classic blazers come in a vast array of different colours (with one very Spanish pop of orange) while chinos, trousers, shoes and accessories all hold much Riviera appeal.
Massimo is definitely suited to the sharper dressers of our kind, but they also provide an excellent selection of high quality basics that will slot seamlessly into any modern capsule wardrobe.
- Pin Striped Wool Suit
- Hounds-tooth Check Blazer
- Dyed Cotton Blazer
- Black Leather Jacket With Perforations
- Navy Reversible Raincoat
- Slim-fit Structured Dyed Shirt
- Needlecord Jeans
- Blue Suede Moccasin
- Embossed Leather Handbag
Created in 1998 and belonging to the same Inditex group as Massimo Dutti, Bershka is a truly evolutionary brand. More a retailer than a simple label, their vast collection spans a whole multitude of different styles, themes and trends in order to bring complete choice to the customer.
Casual wear often prevails within the brand’s collections yet the selection on offer caters to every taste. And, to make things better, it comes at an extremely affordable price point.
You might not be dealing with Lanvin-esque construction and the sharpest lines on the planet, but Bershka more than fits the bill when it comes to relaxed wardrobe staples and weekend daytime requirements.
Highlights from their new SS14 collection include an assortment of sports luxe garments and some very convincing imitation leather pieces for those on a budget. Ideal.
- Two-tone Twist Knit Jumper
- Two-tone Wide Stripe Jumper
- Floral Reversible Bomber Jacket
- Quilted Imitation Leather Biker Jacket
- Cotton Chinos
- Stripe Detail Buttoned T-shirt
- Piqué Blazer
- Basic Straight Jeans
- Slim Fit Jeans
3. Pull & Bear
After recently landing on UK shores, Pull & Bear is becoming something of a continental juggernaut. Launched in 1986, the label harks from the autonomous region of Galicia and soon expanded throughout Spain.
The only real UK comparison I can muster is Topman – Pull & Bear are a one-stop shop that caters to a wide variety of dressers. The heritage boys will be fans of inexpensive yet quality-looking Sherpa jackets while there’s plenty of varsity and trend-led alternatives for the youth market.
As we move into SS14, the brand has chosen to focus on simple graphic tees, on trend 1990s-inspired apparel and old school California cool, all at relatively affordable prices.
Wardrobe classics such as neutral long-sleeved shirts come in at as little as £19.99 – you just can’t argue with that sort of value.
- T-shirt With Pocket
- Print T-shirt
- Denim Jacket
- Fake Leather Collar Biker Jacket
- Basic Chinos Style Trousers
- Long Sleeve Shirt
- Denim Shirt
- Round Neck Jersey
- Sweatshirt With Pocket
4. Armand Basi
Channelling a luxury Mediterranean vibe, Armand Basi has been producing high-end clothing since 1987. Born in Barcelona, the label soon became one of the industry leaders within Spain and global recognition amassed from there.
A well-balanced mix of refined tailoring and casual wear creates an incredibly cohesive collection. Typical sweatshirts are given an element of prestige with clean, sharp lines while Basi does make some experimental leaps in the form of metallic accents and layers.
Although some of the pieces are decidedly Spanish, this label is ideal for those seeking a more refined edge.
Renowned For: Sharp, tailored pieces with a Mediterranean appeal.
Official Website: www.armandbasi.com
Although not currently available to purchase at online stockists, it has been rumoured that the brand is set to relaunch within the UK during 2014. For now, your best bet is to try eBay.
Established in Madrid, Loewe is the oldest label in our line-up and started out making leather goods for parliament-elected ministers in 1846 (or ‘cartero de ministro’ for those in the know).
Fast forward to today and the brand is owned by the LVMH Group and synonymous with luxury accessories, which range from small leather goods and bags through to silk scarves and sunglasses.
Offering the perfect mix of classic and contemporary, buttery-soft tan leather holdalls sit alongside bold coloured espadrilles, ensuring the brand caters to all tastes, confidence levels and requirements.
Away from accessories, the brand’s superb SS14 ready-to-wear collection includes plenty of Jil Sander-esque blues and Riviera-inspired pieces. A high-end entry on our list, Loewe is a thousand miles from typical high street offerings – it’s designer-level apparel that wouldn’t look out of place at Paris Fashion Week.
- Bag Horizontal Satchel W Flap Treacle
- 4 Stitchings Scarf Blue/brown
- Briefcase 38 Treacle
- Amazona 24h Bag Gold/brown
- Anagram W/border 70×180 Scarf
- Toledo Commuting Bag
- Zip Around Wallet Black
- Bi-fold Wallet Indigo
- Coin Purse
If Spanish architecture, art and culture are anything to go by, it’s no surprise that their fashion imprint is both creative and inspired. The fashion capitals of London, Milan and Paris continue to dominate European style but this series is all about showcasing other countries and brands that can offer something different to your current wardrobe.
The main strength of our line-up is versatility: trend-led options can be seamlessly paired with classic tailoring to create on point ensembles. Our Spanish cousins are also in no way afraid of colour – pops of bright blue, orange and emerald will help your outfits stand out from the crowd and brighten the January gloom.
So what do you think of the five Spanish brands showcased today? Are there any you would add (yes, we left out He By Mango on purpose due to their popularity)? Or any you would change?
Let us know in the comments section below…