Miriam Ponsa: “You don't need a large amount of money to create a good collection”

4 Feb 2013 - 00:00
Miriam Ponsa the winner of '080 La Roca Village' the Best Collection award Pic: Ugo Camera

Interview by Maria Almenar

She is a perfectionist, a nonconformist and a daring creator. She is also a passionate researcher in texture and in the creative process, during which the collection's identity is born. We are talking about Miriam Ponsa, a 080 veteran and this edition's winner of '080 La Roca Village' the Best Collection award —the fourth prize she is given in the whole history of the event. Set in a rustic and bucolic environment, ' Transhumance' pays homage to shepherds, a trade that crosses borders —such as the Catalan. Wool becomes the backbone of a collection which is well-known for its “creativity and commercial viability”. With a 20,000€ cheque in hand and a sincere beam on  her face, the designer from Manresa shares first impressions at the catwalk's backstage and tells us some secrets about the collection. 


How do you feel?

I'm very happy! Especially for all the people who helped me conceiving this collection. A prize is always a tribute to the whole team, not to only one person.


You create 'Trashumance' from the fields, among shepherds and flocks. Where did you get this idea?

I always reverse the creative process. First of all, I look for a concept and, after that, I research all the creative aspects, trying to open new doors so I'm never at a standstill. Unlike my other collections, which were based in traditional Catalan trades, I wanted this one to be global, understandable and extensive to other cultures.


In that sense, you make a turning point.

Yes. I made up a story for 'Trashumance'. It is about a shepherd who is taking care of her flock  and, during his journey, he meets other people, lands and languages. This idea of going beyond our territory looked very appealing to me.


How do apply the concept of transhumance to clothes?

Mainly through wool. We worked it in any possible way —pure virgin, felted, etc— and we  also used some techniques to craft the fabrics as they used to be made. I think that other important topics of the collection is the game of layers and superpositions, the length of the skirts, the hats. All the garments cover the largest part of the body to convey the rural spirit.


An austere collection, adapted to current times.

This collection has been made with scarce economic resources. I already had many of the fabrics I used for it in my workshop and, as most of them were black, this colour predominates in the collection (she smiles while she says so). I thought about what to do with all those fabrics and which techniques could I use to bring them to life. You don't need a large amount of money to create a good collection, what matters is that you can sort something out.


If you don't mind me asking, how much was the collection?

You won't believe it if I tell you! 1,500€ at the most in terms of production, fabrics and material purchase. I'm not counting the wages in this budget.


Wow! So, as you say, you sorted it out.

The crisis affects designers too and it is getting more and more difficult to keep at it. At the present, having a lot of money to invest is not as important as being conscious about the resources you have, as well as feeling creatively free to make the most of them. That is very important for me because, in my particular case, it brought me to new paths and working routes. I never found myself in a similar situation before.


What will you do with the 20,000€ of the prize?

This money will help us considerably. We want to divide it among the production and the diffusion of the new summer collection, which we have to distribute in our shops now. We will also earmark some of the money for cranking the next clothes samples.


You own two shops in Manresa and two more in Barcelona. Have you got any near future plans for them?

Yes, we are changing the production strategy. Our aim is to produce smaller collections, which will take less time to make. Therefore, we'll have new models in the shops all the time. We really feel like changing our production process and this is our most immediate project. We'll see how it evolves!


Miriam Ponsa, a constant renovation.

Always. This is what we have to do.


'Transhumance' by Miriam Ponsa