La Vida London

Southern Spain’s rocky mountain roads are littered with white-washed houses like sugar cubes. The Mediterranean shores are awash with sunrays and swimmers. Madrid is its metropolis, Barcelona its bay. When we think of Spain we get hot flushes, flamenco frills, Catholics, castanets and ice cream. When we think of Spain we get siestas, Costa del Sol, coal-black eyes, bullfighting, Costa Brava and Costa Blanca. It’s historically the power force that brought us Christopher Columbus, Picasso, Antonio Banderas and tapas.

But ever since the economic turn of 2008, the Spanish have been struggling to keep their heads above water. Spain is in a slump. Unemployment rocketed, suicide rates soared, and everyone who could get out, did.

These shoots were imagined by Fashion Art Director Gumer del Olmo, who moved to London 2 years ago. A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s originally from Ciudad Real, Spain, he wanted to create a project which played homage to his old home, and his new.

His aim was to put together 3 photoshoots with participants all of Spanish heritage, individuals armed with dreams and university educations who, in seeking their fortunes here, have been forced to take low paid jobs such as babysitters, kitchen porters or sales assistants to tie them over. Gumer sought out Dani Ramos, a fashion photographer he’d once worked with on a shoot back in Valencia. Dani had since also moved to London and was working in Pret. Of Dani’s skill Gumer says “I’ve always believed in him. You know when you work with someone and can feel their passion. He is still very young but has an incredible taste for fashion.”

Having met many of their natives here, they wanted to concentrate the talent from their country, creating a project reflecting everyone’s abilities. There is an unerring sense of reclaiming community in an idea like this, a feeling of family found again.

So next time you think of immigration, the closed doors of the creative industries, the over-saturation of the job market, the difficulties of leaving home… all the themes of this editorial that I want to leave you to visual explore yourselves, think also how it channels the Spanish ‘furia’, their famously passionate nature, their ability to survive, their skill and taste and fuse it with the cold, competitive backdrop of our Capital.

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  • Gumer del Olmo (Ciudad Real-Spain, 1977 currently working as Stylist in Luxury Retail) as Art Director based in London since two years ago and graduated at Central Saint Martins .
  • Photographer Dani Ramos (Valencia,Spain, 1989 working as restaurant manager) and Make-up Artist David Sesmero (Madrid, Spain, 1988 working as kitchen porter) complete the permanent team.
  • Location: Paddington Basin
  • When: February 2015, 4C
  • Designer: Esmeralda Dominguez (Spain, 1990 currently working as designer for another brand) her clothes have a simple and clean aesthetic, with occasional political inspiration.
  • Model: Raul Cervetto  (Malaga, Spain, 1991) BMA Models London
  • Styling Assistant: Lucia Garcia Manso (La Coruna, Spain, 1985 working in retail)

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  • Location: Chiswick Park
  • When: March 2015, 2C
  • Designer: Elsa Ruiz (Zaragoza, Spain, 1992 currently working as designer for another brand) bases her collections on dramatic and exotic prints, as well as creating jewellery with volcanic stones in vibrant colours.
  • Model: Paula Dolcet (Valencia, Spain, 1987) NEVS Models London

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  • Location: Soho London
  • When: April 2015, 10C
  • Designer: Alejandro Palomo (Cordoba, Spain, Has been working on his own brand since 1990 and more recently, its upcoming launch in the UK). He creates a Menswear collection’s with a very evident Spanish twist.
  • Model: Jorge Diaz (Murcia, Spain, 1994 studying at University in Manchester)
  • MUA and Hair Stylist: Maria Starlik (Valencia, Spain, 1980 managing her own project)

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