As honorary president of Miami Fashion Week Antonio Banderas has been hard at work promoting events and hosting a series of panels, shows, and a charity gala. He took a quick moment to speak to The Daily about his love of fashion, and why sustainability is its future.
Where do you think your love of fashion comes from?
I think that we all play characters. What you wear is sending always a message about how you want to be perceived from others. And that’s has to do very much to do with my profession. I’m an actor. I just pretend to be many, many people. When I observe people [I think], why are people wearing this bottoms? Why are they wearing this color? The number of answers to that. There are things that you want to show, there are things that you want to hide, there are things that you want to say. It’s a very interesting world to describe the universe in which we are living. That was always really interesting for me since I was very little.
How did you get involved with Miami Fashion Week?
In a way I’ve been involved in fashion for 21 years. With my perfume brand and then five years ago I went Central Saint Martins in London for two years studying fashion design. And I’ve had my own brands of watches and glasses and clothing at times, so I’ve been involved in it now for almost two decades. And there were these friends from Spain that were re-organizing Miami Fashion Week to do it in a completely different way, and was interested so I got involved.
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This year’s MIAFW Gala benefits the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation as well as your own foundation, Fundación Lágrimas y Favores. Tell me about them!
11 years ago I put together the Fundación Lágrimas y Favores foundation in the south of Spain. What we would do is provide scholarships for kids to go to university who don’t have financial means, and we sent them to study Canada and the United States. At the same time we collaborate with another association that offers palliative care to cancer patients in the south of Spain. Also we collaborate with Cáritas which is an organization providing funds to people in need also in the neighborhood where we are operating in Spain.
The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is an institution in Miami that has been taking care of kids for a long time. They do unbelievable work. One of the conditions when I [to MIAFW], was that we provide with funds to these organizations and we have been doing so for a long time. This year we are going to celebrate at Faena Forum, and Juanes — a superstar from Columbia — is going to be singing. All those funds raised are going to be given to the foundations.
Do you have an more fashion design projects in the works?
I’m working now on something I’ve been interested for a long time, and it is to create a collection that is 100 percent sustainable. It’s a dream that is very complicated to actually make true because the margins are huge when you do something like that. Taking plastic out of the oceans to become polyesters and then recycle them to do pants, and jeans, and leather jackets — the process to recoup all of these materials is very complicated and very expensive.
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Has sustainability been a big topic at MIAFW?
From the beginning we’ve celebrated [the Miami Fashion Week Summit] where we bring together people from all around the world who are proposing different ways to actually create and do fashion in a much more sustainable way. A much cleaner way, with respect not only for the environment but also for the people who work in fashion. The world of fashion has unfortunately been pointed at as one of the industries that actually creates more pollution. And at the same time is more exploitive of people who are paid almost nothing by big companies. So we are trying to do it in the opposite way. We are trying to be as conscious as we can even if the profits at the end of the year are not the same.
You mentioned bringing people together to discuss sustainable fashion…
Many designers all around the world are taking steps on this. And why is that? It’s because of the clients… we start Googling. You’re going to find information and data [about the fashion industry] that everybody has access to. So people are going to stores now they’re going to start asking where has this been made? What is the process behind this? People are getting conscious about that, and at the same time they’re pushing designers and factories and companies to start going in that direction.
Is there anyone in particular doing something interesting with sustainability?
We have a guy here called Javier Goyeneche from Spain. He has a company called Ecoalf and everything they produce is sustainable. They use is plastic retrieved from the ocean. They made an agreement with fisherman all over Spain, and instead of putting all the plastic that comes in the boat back in the ocean they put it in a container, taking tons of plastic out of the ocean every year. That plastic goes to a factory which does a process to it and then they use it in everything they produce. So many people are working in that direction, and little by little it’s going to get bigger. Miami Fashion Week has been putting a lot of action onto these things from the beginning.