Laia Roca: “What I do is sell”

10 Apr 2013 - 00:00
Designer Laia Roca. Pic: Marc Gonzàlez Camps

Interview by: Maria Almenar


Creative and determined. Chaotic behind closed doors. Methodic beyond the gates. Designer Laia Roca knows the framework of the textile world first-hand, and has continued the family business with the brand Who. True to her personality, the firm, which she has led since 2000, is synonymous with sobriety, timeless design and volume.


This is a minimalist but effective formula that, in spite of the economic crisis, has yielded good results. Laia has no doubt about it: “sale goes first, the show comes after”. The brand Who celebrate their first year of activity at the 080 and their “aim is to carry on”. Next season, the designer will surprise us with an electronic dance show, in which music will set the beat of the fashion steps. Word of Laia. 


Who is is synonymous with sobriety, timeless design and volume. Pic: Marc Gonzàlez Camps

Design is in your blood.

Yes, I have always been surrounded by it. My parents are designers and they own a brand called Roger O. When I was young, I saw them work in this field and all the processes were transmitted to me. After so much time of seeing it, I felt like doing the same and, in this aspect, it was quite easy to study design and make a career of it.


Is Who a line that maintains the status quo or does it try to break the rules?

It doesn't follow a similar design pattern and it doesn't seek the same target group. However, I have always experienced design in may day-to-day life and my parents have influenced me. It isn't strange that both brands are similar because we work together in the same space and we share resources, like the fabrics we use. We are not independent of each other.


What have you learnt after 12 years in charge of the brand?

I have learnt how to manage everything, how to structure a collection, how to present it, how to make the most of it... I'm also more efficient and I don't care about trifles.


Don't you? What things do not affect you anymore?

Criticism. Over the years, you learn to filter what people say about you and to appreciate the positive and important comments. In the end, you mature.


Creativity or commercialization. In your case, which one tips the scales?

Commercialization, absolutely. What I do is sell.



Who is a minimalist but effective formula. Pic: Marc Gonzàlez Camps


Business rules your world.

Yes. When I was young, I realized that design is an enterprise and this idea marked my own point of view of the business. There are people who find that this is a derogatory approach. On the contrary, I'm completely satisfied when my collection is described as commercial, as this is always my intention. I want the people to wear my clothes on the street, that the public like them and make them their own.


However, since last year you take the 080 as a tool to promote your work. Image has to matter somehow.

Of course! I decided to opt for the 080 because it's a close event and a professional platform for national creators, so I wanted to be part of it. The only thing that bothered me was the fact that I had to design special garments for the event, which had to be wearable. But, in that sense, I was wrong.



Because you don't have to make extra efforts to present a coherent collection that adjusts to what you are. Every brand has its own identity and I wanted Who to be reflected as in the 080.


How does the soul of Who look like, apart from practical and commercial?

Who has a personal design that makes it easy to recognize and get easily identified on the street. The garments are versatile and timeless. It is also characterized by the volumes, colours (I really love black) and the pattern designing. I like to work with geometric figures and, regarding fabrics, I tend to contrast the rigid ones with the softer ones.


By the way, what will you show at next 080? What are you up to?

I have already started working on the new collection, that will be probably named 'slow Dance', like a song by Mathew Dear, who makes electronic music. With the idea of transmitting this slow partner dance in mind, I thought of combining ethereal fabrics such as chiffon and organza with knitting to create a play of textures. With respect to colours, I'd like to work with more natural tones, add some white touches... It's still to be defined!


We are really looking forward to having a glimpse of your new dance between music and fashion!


Who. Many cards of  the last collection

Who. Many cards of the last collection. Pic: Marc Gonzàlez Camps