just4fun at I Play Faves Blogspot

25 February 2010

Just4Fun, a true story of entrepreneurship

Since I have been blogging I often get the question: Where do you find all of your content? That is like asking a magician his secrets. In the case of Begonia I just don't remember. I do remember being fascinated by their prints. Upon reading their "What We Do" section on their website I knew I had to know more about their mission and their conception. I was happy to get a quick response from their PR saying they would happy to be interviewed. Many emails later led to this interview. I am quite impressed with their answers and I know you will be too.

How did you get started?

It might sound simple but it was a summer afternoon: one loves leggings
and the other one adores prints. Both of us felt like starting
something from the very beginning. We both have more than eight years of
experience in the fashion world and it was time for a personal project. We
simply looked at each other and said, “We are going to do that! Ok, but just
easy, just for fun”. We both know how hard it is to raise a label, so we
didn’t want to start with all the heavy duties [that it entails]. We really
wanted to make something to enjoy , that’s how it came about, simple designs
with funky prints. We love to research and a special part of our soul is our
Social Care Manufacturing system.

Can you discuss how your product is made?

Our purpose is to create a fashion project not restricted by conventional fashion industry standards, like seasons and large-scale manufacturing. The results are unique and original pieces presented in limited editions. Everything is one hundred percent made in Barcelona in collaboration with small
local workshops and a female prisoners' rehabilitation center who produce leggings, jumpsuits, and tube skirts from fabrics that we choose personally in stores around our home city of Barcelona, or on trips to Paris, New York, Tokyo, or any market in any part of the world. We like to think that the person using our clothes feels like they are a part of a common project.

What does it mean for you to produce a handmade product?
Nowadays almost all the fashion apparel is handmade, behind a twenty-nine or a five hundred dollar shoe there is some hands cutting, stitching, etc. The only difference is how the workers are treated. That’s our main concern. When you see a t-shirt for three dollars just to think that the cotton has to be collected, cleaned, treated, made into a yarn, and died. Afterwards, someone takes it into a machine, makes a fabric, then cut It, stitch it, finished, ironed pleated and packed and on top of it has to be shipped thousands of kilometers to the selling point.

You may wonder how much these people working on this t-shirt may earn from the three dollars if the shop takes more than half. In the better cases one dollar is left for paying all the processes, materials, and handmade work. When we say handmade we are referring to a creative making, a handcrafted design. In terms of work, not creativity, is the same work they do in some big industry in Asia or wherever in the world, the only difference is how the person is related to this work. In one case it is a craftsman developing his own design. In another case it is a twelve hour worker repeating mechanical work. As we were not going to make the leggings ourselves, it was very important for us how they were going to be made.

That’s why we make everything in Barcelona, because we get to know the hands behind our pieces, and on top of that we found this amazing Organisation ARED working for the reinsertion of female ex-prisoners. They are doing their best in their work, therefore they make an excellent product, you can really feel.

When did you decide to sell your clothing instead of producing a project?

Well, our experience was not so like the one of a designer working in his creations and deciding to commercialise them. Our experience was more the aim of constructing a fashion related project with a new basis. A project which is about design but also about having a soul, something we can be proud of. This is the point when we decided to study the chances to integrate in our project a Social or Charity collaboration. Therefore it was not so much about taking the decision to sell our clothes, it was more about how we make them and how we sell them. So at the end it was more about building up everything together.

What do you enjoy most about your product and your art?
Whenever someone buys something from Just4fun, we feel that someone new has joined the project. We don’t think we’ve ever stopped being excited. It makes us proud to see our brand in the street, in a magazine, out dancing...wherever, as long as it’s alive!

How do you feel about the exposure you have received?

We are very thankful. Everyone who comes across just4fun loves it. Our pieces are very visual catching, but once you know about the principles, the social Care Manufacturing concept and all the collaborators involve it goes one step further. We have been featured in magazines like Vice and Glamour , retailers from all around the world, and fashion fairs have shown a high interest towards just4fun, and we can be just thankful and excited to get all this attention and support. We recently grew and a new member has joined our team, BegoƱa Berges, who is in charge of Marketing and Communications, and we couldn’t ask for anyone better than her to care for these matters, deal with our image, and manage our Media presence.

In the new year, what will you be looking forward to?

A lot! The release of the book 1000 tips from 100 desingers in April, where we are participating. We just start a collaboration with the most rocking band in Barcelona, Johny Price, and we have been invited to Madrid Fashion Week Cibeles. Every week there is something new and exciting, this is the best part of just4fun! The good suprises!

What are you excited about right now?

ph: from Johny Price myspace

As we mention before we just started a collaboration with the knockoff rock band Jonny Price, they are all boys, and they are wearing the catsuits and leggings! And they look damn sexy with it! So finally we got boys into just4fun!

What medium of art inspires you the most?

That’s a complex question, art is so wide and we are really hungry for it. We could not really point one or two, all without any particular mention it’s inspiring us, but not so intentional it is more a subconscious inspiration.

Do you have any favorite designers?

Yes we do, but listing them would be very simplistic. We admire people who are able to treat fashion in a personal way and regardless of the industry have their own personal voice. Sometimes the result is, in aesthetic sense, not our cup of tea but that is meaningless. It is just a matter of taste. We respect the work behind it and the aim of making something personal with a special meaning.

(Interviewed January 20, 2010)

A special thanks to Begonia PR for letting me use photos by and continuing a good line of communication.