What will have the illustrious Manchegos, from Don Quixote to Pedro Almodóvar, who bring the whole world. It will be its mountain ranges and plains, its extensive vineyards and medieval castles. Or it will be, perhaps, the wind that lifts in its wake an artistic sensibility rooted in your lands. Some of these manchegos, touched by the wand of genius, sometimes pack up and launch themselves into the conquest of new worlds. Such is the case of José Luis Díaz Megías, a revolutionary of the fashion world who with IT-SPAIN has conquered the Chinese imperial. His recipe? Freedom, onirism and, above all, the most absolute rejection of all that oozes vulgarity.
Q.- It-Spain is fantasy, strangleness, unusual beauty, but… how is this brand born?
A.- It’s a way to put my creativity in order and give it a commercial form.” “It is a brand governed by the principles of freedom and expressiveness, so we flee from the times often imposed by the world of fashion. I understand fashion as an artistic expression, not as an industry. Take care of detail and individuality, make every story a different paradise, that’s where I find myself comfortable. We like to work the pieces in a unique and artisanal way, giving free rein to the imagination, which is incompatible with drawing fifty collections a year. I prefer to impose my own times and be free to create.
Q.-There is only a look at his creations to appreciate a taste for the mixture between the classic concepts of precision and feism. What are your references?
A.- My references come from the classics. But I always try to take it all further. Clothes will always be clothes, but what I try to get is closer to an experience than to a garment to use.
He has no academic background in fashion design, but it doesn’t matter when she has had a much more influential school in her career: dance. “I started professionally when I was 14 and left at 28, when I was at my best,” he says. “I really liked spending time in the dressing rooms with the tailors. It was a wonderful school: seeing fabrics, seeing how they worked on the stage, how they interacted with light… that visual impact is what interests me, as well as a certain sewing technique.”
Creativity often doesn’t start with planning. For ideas to flow, you have to get rid of bonds and embark on adventures you would never have imagined. This was more or less the landing in China. “I came from working as a creative director in the evenings of Ibiza or Barcelona, but the body and mind asked me for a change. Then the Asian option arrived and my partner and I didn’t hesitate a moment: We took our bags and stood there without speaking a single word of Chinese. The reception has been wonderful, they have always conveyed a deep respect for our works.”
The Manchego designer shows us a work from his Cocktail collection. An amazing, Renaissance garment with a certain Asian touch. I’m really impressed. “Cocktail is my zero collection,” explains Diaz Megías. “It’s a garment with the structures pulled out, it has some dark romanticism. I love getting into surrealism and artificial landscapes, so I don’t treat women as a woman or a man as a man. I’m talking about non-gender.”
I tell you that this has been a conflict that has governed my life since I was a young woman, as a trans woman. A constant struggle being the youngest of several brothers. “Clothing is clothing,” he says, “Fashion must be seen from an artistic filter, not from a gender.”
Q.- After 90 days of isolation, it gives the impression that consumption habits have changed and the industry has suffered a forced standstill. How does someone like Diaz Megías carry it?
A- “It has been a hard blow for everyone, but I haven’t stopped, in the end one gets used to everything. I am a very constant and hard-working person, I am always looking for unusual materials to play with and to give life.”
Amaral, Monica Naranjo, Laura Sánchez… are just some of the very names José Luis has worked with in video clips. “I have had the fortune to collaborate with great music or fashion artists, although I have to admit that I like live more than video clip. I come from dance, I love contact with dancers and singers. There I feel more I, that has made me personality. In my shootings I take care of the details, from faith to extreme beauty, everything must be in place. The same is true of my garments: even the most illogical structures, those details that seem unfinished, are conscientiously calculated to produce that effect.”
Q.- A mind as restless and unusual as yours always has a project on its hands, although I know that it has rejected offers from important British fashion houses…
A.- I try to be faithful to my character and personality. I am more interested in continuing to work from my freedom. Of course there are jobs for customers, but I don’t want to marry anyone. I want to be free.
Q.- However, it does work closely with brands like Budweiser in Asia…
A.- Yes, because they offer me the creative freedom I seek. I have been an artistic director for 6 years, creating campaign and development concepts. We’ve done amazing things like bringing Halloween to China. We rented a hotel, took the industry elite like Zombie Boy… We have also been with the theme of music festivals, creating campaigns with festivals. I had experience behind Barcelona and Ibiza, but this is something bigger, really amazing.
Q.- Has the pandemic changed us as consumers and human beings?
A.- As consumers, I think that digital is temporarily satisfying us, but in the long run we will feel the need for direct again. And, as human beings, I think we are recovering the desire to live. I have political guerrillas left me, we have to appeal to union and humanity. And with creativity, we can achieve this, because creativity is the ultimate cure for the setbacks in life.
Q.- When one approaches the works of José Luis Dias Megías, he is assaulted simultaneously by two moods: Fascination (for the tremendous imagination and art that distil) and disappointment (because one would like to buy those wonderful garments, but they are not for sale!)
A.- The people near me always wondered why I didn’t put my clothes for sale, but it was something I hadn’t been interested in. My thing is more performance, to expose the work. But… and here comes the “but” that I was so waiting for:…I decided to create some capsule pieces and put them on sale. They are made in a handcrafted manner and at a reasonable price. It is getting started and the results are being good.
Q.- What can we expect from these capsule parts?
A.- I’m making a collection of unisex corset, all non-gender. It’s all done by hand, so there are no two pieces equal. I have a large studio, I have creativity and above all I don’t lack the desire.
For the reader who, like me, is eager to pick up some of those pieces, I would remind you that the Instagram page is: panda.shoponline.
It is a pleasure to talk to a pure-race creator, an artist who shapes reality through the filter of his vision of the unique world. José Luis Dios Megías is manchego, yes, but he always keeps a foot in the country of Wonders, where nothing is what it seems but everything is fascinating in his intoxicating imagination. We will be back to see you soon, for sure, whether in Spain, China, or beyond the rabbit burrow.
Text: Alex Merino Aspiazu
Tambien podeís ver la entrevista en el siguiente video: