Hi TUC family. My name is Marie and I am a contributing writer at True Urban Culture Magazine. Welcome back to our Behind the Seams interview series. Our latest Behind the Seams installment features Cherry Massia, a prominent fashion designer based out of Seville, Spain.
So how are you doing today?
I’m doing okay. I’m actually really tired. Because I came back yesterday from our last show. So really tired, but so happy because everything went well. And listen, actually, I was overwhelmed by all the people telling us that they loved it. It was amazing.
Wow. Nice. So, I was curious to know, what is the meaning behind your brand name. Cherry Massia?
The brand name is actually a cute story. I started my brand when I was really young; I was 22 years old. And, when I was a kid, we all hung out with our friends and they were changing their names. It sounds cooler, so I changed my nickname too. And when, when the time of making my brand began, I was thinking that I wanted to put my name on it, but not my actual name, which is Romero. So I decided to use my nickname – Cherry and combine it with my surname- Massia, my mother’s surname.
If I gave you three words to describe your brand what would they be?
I will say feminine, because my brand always reflects women. I would also say powerful, and underground.
I saw that you’re based in Sevilla. Our audience is predominantly from the US. Could you tell our audience how is life in Spain? And what is the fashion scene like, compared to other European cities such as Paris, Milan, or London?
I love living in Spain, specifically in the south of Spain. It’s a beautiful place. And the people are really nice. And, you know, the fashion world in Spain is really small. We all know each other, but it’s a country where we have some issues sometimes when related to the actual industry. I don’t know if it’s good to say that but I think in other countries, they support fashion more. Here, I feel like you have to fight and fight for us but people really love having a fashion scene with young emerging designers. People here are really keen to support your brand as much as they can.
I saw that in Spain, there are not so many fashion schools. Can you speak to that?
I studied in a fashion school here in Seville, and they are a really good fashion school. But I think it’s more of a problem about the ability to actually grow. If you start from the bottom, you know, and you don’t have a huge team who helps you, you need to put a lot of investment into actually showcasing your project. Here it is more complicated to have people who are more powerful than you that say, like, “We believe in your project”. It’s more like speaking to everyone and everything. Yes. Yeah.
What do you mean by every designer knows each other?
There are two important spots in Spain related to fashion, which are Madrid, and Barcelona. And I was in Madrid for a few years, and everyone knows you because you go to the events, and you hang out. And, and, when you’re young and you’re starting, a lot of us are always helping each other, like, and learning from each other. We are a nice community, I have amazing friends who are also emerging designers and we always help each other. hyping each other up.
Speaking of Madrid, I saw that you showcased your first collection, like five years ago, right? Fashion Week?
Yes, it was my final project for my fashion school, and they loved it. I just started the brand fresh out of the fashion school with no idea about how everything was going to be and how it was going to go. I started like that.
Wow. Okay, amazing. And what was the inspiration behind it? Like, how did you get inspired to create this collection?
Well, it was inspired by the myth of Sisyphus – a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. And I think it was so interesting to translate concepts of philosophy into fashion. You know, because that’s stories about the man that goes with a huge rock in the back and tries to climb a mountain and every time he’s going to arrive at the top of the mountain, the rock goes down. So I was thinking about that idea in parallel. Sometimes we have that feeling in our lives, you know, that we are like trying to get to a point. And for me at that moment, at that point, it was for me to be able to actually be a fashion designer, I was like studying in a small city. They didn’t know anything, nobody in the fashion industry. So I thought, oh my god, if I were to showcase my designs on a huge platform like Madrid Fashion Week, that would be my dream. And it was really cool because I did the collection thinking about that idea. I was able to show the brand to a lot of amazing people and stylists, and it was the beginning of my career. I remember we used crystals, and when I was a kid, I used to collect them. I embroidered every piece of crystal by hand in all the pieces. The crystals were amethyst and quartz.
That’s such a cool story behind the collection.
I remember I was like, really young when I already had this as my dream.
But it took like, it should have taken much time to put all the different crystals and everything…
Oh Yes. All of my collections are a tough process because I made all of the pieces myself. You have to make them from the beginning with the patterns and stuff. I was just praying that no crystal would fall during the show, you know?
So, I guess that you have wanted to be a fashion designer since you were young?
Yes, I never understood why, but since I was a little kid, I was always watching magazines and dreaming about becoming a fashion designer for some reason that I don’t know. I was drawing and drawing and drawing every day, and my mom had to say, “Okay, no more drawing. Like, we don’t have any more paper today”. I think I had a clear idea of making fashion since my early years. It was important for me.
Wow, that’s cute. And speaking about drawing and everything, how does your mind and body respond when you’re designing and crafting new patterns? And how would you get most of the time inspired to create?
I think my main inspiration comes from within, in my own feelings and how I view the world. There are some points in my life where something just bothers me or it’s in my mind all the time, or I just think that it’s important to speak about that. And I just start to develop the ideas. I usually get inspired by emotions or stories from the past philosophy, or mythology. I then try to put that together with an aesthetic that represents what these concepts mean. But I have a lot of references, not only from mythology and things that you cannot exactly put into an aesthetic, but I also love clubbing culture. I love Japanese aesthetics and my Andalusian roots. I have Andalusian roots, you know, so I love fabrics that remind me of my hometown – lace and stuff like that. I always started with feeling what is going on within me. And then I started to develop that idea piece by piece in my collection. Each of my collections are usually a progression of the story I want to tell.
In Spanish, I would say camino- “the path”. The world is a path where the character that embodies the brand – which usually is for me a superhero, a super powerful woman – has to go through different stages of her life, which is represented through my collections, using different colors and textures, etc.
That’s interesting. Which of your designs or projects are you the most proud of?
I would say the one that I did literally two days ago. You know, I started so young, I was like, discovering myself through every collection. Of course, I really loved my very first collection too, but then I just started to think of what people want to actually wear. I honestly think the last one is my favorite, because I put everything I had in me to do it; I did all the patterns myself by hand. Since COVID, I feel like the world has become a weird place to be in with everything that is happening in the world right now, so I just need something beautiful to put my mind to. And it wasn’t like a great moment in my personal life. So I just used that collection to focus on and I really loved it because it has helped me grow as a professional and as a creative and I am a little bit proud of myself for the first time.
Nice, big applause for you.
Yeah, I think I am always really critical of my results with my work, you know, and I’m never saying things like “oh, you did amazing!”. In this collection. I think I did everything I could to make this beautiful.
And does your family support you in being designer?
I have no words to thank them for everything they do for me. For example, my older sister – I have two and they both always helped me with the shows and stuff – came with me to Barcelona, and I couldn’t have done it without her. My mom, and my dad, are also really supportive, they always help and believe in me, and in my vision.
That is really important to have a supportive family.
Yeah, it’s a bit complicated when you don’t have maybe some kind of good relationship with your family. They are always so happy to help. I feel like the fashion world is kind of tough sometimes.
I saw once that Nathy Peluso and Sophia Gabbana and other like artists wore your creation. So right now are there any other artists or models you’re particularly keen on collaborating with in the future?
Well, I live in my little bubble. I’m not really the kind of person that is always trying to know who’s in right now. Sometimes I receive invitations to dress someone who may be huge and I don’t even know it because I’m not that interested in knowing what is cool at the moment. I have to admit I love keeping up with the Kardashians. It’s always a pleasure to dress artists that believe in their works. When we talk about the music industry, or even cinema you know, I love to raise people that started from the bottom, artists that are more underground. Are we here in Spain? That is a really cool artist I’d like to collaborate with she has a really cool image, or also a friend of mine Milena Milan – she was working in a hotel and she got a part in a Moldova film, so she just did a movie with Almodovar become like a huge Nether star. Yeah, and it was so cool to see that because we dressed her when she was kind of starting in and it’s so beautiful to have the opportunity to dress those amazing women that have these cool stories about growing and becoming the person that they want.
So yeah, I always try to support emerging artists and not every time to think about the big names. Because you never know. And sometimes you dress a girl who is starting in the music industry, and then later you see her in the Grammys. That’s awesome.
It’s so nice to see someone growing. And maybe one day, the Kardashians will contact you to dress them up.
We almost had the opportunity to dress them! But they may choose another thing, another person, but we were almost there, twice. In Spain, we have a saying that declaire “never two times without a third one.” Next time is going to be my turn. Sometimes that happens, you have huge opportunities, and maybe it’s not the moment but it’s amazing that they even call us, you know?
What are your short-term goals for the end of the year? Do you have some goals you want to finish this year?
For this year my biggest goal was to showcase my collection on the platform and that everything went well. COVID was like a turning point for a lot of people, I think. Because we couldn’t do anything, so everything has stopped. And for me as a creative person, I was a bit over, and I needed to pull back a little bit. I stopped dressing people and needed some time for myself to reconnect with my practice and my creative universe. But now I’m back and I’m stronger than ever. So I hope that you are going to see my new designs in other places, and we are actually working on it. Keep growing, this is my mantra.
Was COVID one of the challenges for you? Or did it help you in a way of going to the source of yourself and finding new inspirations?
At the moment, I didn’t see it like that. At the moment, I was super stressed. I was so lucky because nothing happened in my family and nothing happened around me. And then everything changed a little bit from my perspective. So at that time, I think I was sad – I didn’t know where I wanted to go. So I came back to my hometown to try to do exactly that. And at this moment, when I think and I think back about what has happened in these years since that happened and at what point I am in right now. – I see that it really helped me. It really helped me to understand myself and to know what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.
Designing is really something you need to love. For example, I love designing, but I don’t really love sewing, but I need to do it sometimes. You have to love it because it’s complicated and it’s frustrating. And then you try to sew something, and the machine gets stuck. And then you have to start from the beginning. It’s a complicated skill to have. But I’m learning to love it and to be patient because it’s so precise. I feel like you need to put your whole mind into that, which is really good sometimes.
So even envisioning the future, where do you see yourself in five years? Do you see yourself as a designer who will put Spain on the map as a fashion capital, as seen in the light of Paris, Milan, and London? Or do you think you will move to one of these capitals to grow yourself?
Yes, that’s a huge question that I ask myself a lot. Actually, I really love Spain, and I think that in Spain, there’s a lot of talent. And there are a lot of people who are doing amazing things – not only artisanal things, but also thinking about the future, technology, and inventing new stuff. However, I’ve actually started to think that for me as a creative person, maybe I would love to go outside for a while and try to see how everything works in another place, but only because of my own personal growth. Like why not? Here in Spain, I did pretty much a lot of the things that I dreamed of. The recognition from the professionals in your industry that you admire is something important to me, and I think I received that recognition. The press always supports me, and I feel really appreciated here. But I am curious to see what my life with my creative work will be in another place too. I still don’t know where I am going to be, but I am open to some opportunities that might come along the way.
If you don’t have a favorite city, would you like to live in Europe, or maybe the US?
I would actually love to go to the US, despite the fact that I think it’s a bit more complicated. I should do some research first. I’m not close to anything. Since I am back from Barcelona and released this latest collection, I’m starting to reflect about what’s going to be next? Do I want to go to a big city? Do I want to stay here? Because sometimes here, living in a small city has a lot of possibilities too. I need my green piece, seeing the fields and green areas; the nature.
Alright, many possibilities. So now we’re approaching the end of the interview. I have one last question for you. What does True Urban Culture mean to you?
I think it’s so cool. Because everybody, all of the media that interview me, they always say that my collections, for example, have a lot of urban feeling to it. It has to do a lot with the underground and with the precision of the street, and of what’s happening in the streets, in the youth. I think that it’s important to have an eye on what’s happening right now. In the world, in the streets in New York …
I love your answer! Do you have anything to add?
I just want to say thank you; It was an amazing talk with you. You can check out my brand, everybody, on cherrymassia.com or on my Instagram @cherrymassia. I think that I can make a very interesting connection between fashion, the underground world, nightlife, and the art of philosophy to psychology. I’m so grateful to have this talk with you. And I hope you like my new collection, which we have showcased today.