Wine, food and art - the three commodities Spain has excelled in for centuries, and they have consistently made the country a cultural gem within Europe. France and Italy, who are both also fruitful in history, ostensibly seem to reign as fashion figureheads compared to their neighbouring countries, but a recent visit to Spanish capital Madrid, has quickly proven that not to be the case.

Walking around the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid’s main national art museum, you can easily see the manifestation of distinctive Spanish fashion through the numerous art pieces on offer, and to learn more about the centuries-old techniques, a stop at the city’s textile museum, Museo Del Trajeo, will assure you that Spain’s fashion prowess has always been long standing. This, along with Madrid’s burgeoning fashion scene, further confirms that the country shouldn’t be overshadowed by its European counterparts.

Tucked away off one of the tourist hotspots of Madrid, in a crossroad of surprisingly Parisian-looking streets, is the 21st Century reinterpretation of the country’s fashion craft, Oteyza. Opening the doors to their shop five years ago, the brand has built its name through its excellence in Spanish tailoring, using time-old craftsmanship to create classic heritage garments that symbolise the country.

Stepping inside the store, which isn’t much bigger than a car parking space, you’re soon to realise that this retail spot is also the hub of the company. Opposite the entrance, a seamstress sits, quietly tailoring some trousers, which makes your eyeline drawn to the right of the shop, where a shelving unit stands, filled from floor to ceiling with shirt collars, pattern cuts and fabric swatches. Their studio-esque atmosphere is due to the brand mainly creating bespoke pieces, requiring up to four fittings for it to be made. The duo behind the brand, Caterina Paneda and Paul García, aim to push the conventions for male clothing. “We developed our brand to be based on tailoring, but also to develop menswear fashion” says Paul, who’s modelling the brands signature styles, as well as Caterina, who states, “we focus on men as they have less possibilities than women”. 

The brand’s aesthetic is definitely something not seen in the UK before. The brand looks to Spanish art from the 16th Century for inspiration, for their designs and their materials. “We work a lot with Spanish Merino wool, and we started a program to reintroduce the animal as it was nearly extinct,” explains Paul. “In the 16th Century it was the most used wool in the world, and you can see the animals in lots of paintings.” In particular, the brand tries to stick to using black wool, as due to their dark colourings, the wool can’t be dyed and therefore making it less desirable. Oteyza’s designs, as well as their materials, are also inherently Spanish. Hidden in the studio below the store, were black doublets, bullfighting capes and sombreros specially crafted in Seville. You didn’t have to get up close to see the level of craftsmanship and tailoring the clothes had, and the way they fit on the body showed they were made to last. 

Despite being a brand intently linked to Spain, Oteyza has had international appeal. Having sold to nearly every corner of the world, the brand has also been showing at Pitti Uomo for the last four seasons, as well as in Paris (the city known for showcasing well-established talent).

Instead of following trends and using success formulas of other tailoring brands, Oteyza has stuck to it’s integral inspiration point, it’s Spanish identity. Their reinterpretations of the countries style history and use of its materials shows a positive patriotism that seems to be lacking in many other European countries (Brexitiers are not included in this category), and in current times, it’s a refreshing route to take.

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