To be honest, I don't even know how I met Paloma. I know it was through Instagram, but I don't know exactly how it came about. I guess it was because she is a fashion journalist and I am the Creative Director of ALOHAS (I still am, but back then VIRAGO was just a dream). Be that as it may, we liked each other right away. That's why today I want to introduce you to the most "enjoying-ish" woman I've come across lately. Today, moreover, is her birthday and I want my present to be to introduce her to you and to show you how effort is rewarded, how one can pull out the chestnuts from the fire and what opinion Paloma has of what we will have to weather post-covid19 at the fashion level, at the journalism level and at the fashion journalism level.
”I’m going to pull my socks up from the beginning”
VIRAGO: Hello, Palomis. I don't know why, from the beginning I felt like calling you like that. I think it's because I trust you.
Paloma: Did you know that's what my biology teacher at school called me? Few people call me that, and if someone does, it reminds me of those times.
V: There are a series of questions that, as I already asked Vir Charneco in the last interview, I would like to ask all the VIRAGO muse why he shows a little bit more of you. I'll get to it, okay?
Paloma: Great, here I am.
V: And you, Palomis... who are you?
Paloma: I'm a journalist trying to find her place in the world. And more so in these times when we need to reinvent ourselves.
V: Tell me something about yourself. Something that is not known.
Paloma: When I was a little girl I sang at the Madrid City Hall Christmas concert.
V: Essential to continue, what do you recommend we listen to on Spotify to read?
Paloma: I have a list of Spotify that I have created for these days called #laactitudestodo (“the attitude is everything”). I recommend you to hit random and start with some Bee Gees song or my favourite: Mi swing es tropical, by Nickodemus.
V: If you had to define yourself with one of our dresses, it would be...
Paloma: The Flirty Friend Dress Orange, last summer I discovered that the halter neck looks great on me.
V: As you know, VIRAGO means heroic, brave, strong and powerful woman. I consider you one. But you tell me what you think you have about VIRAGO.
Paloma: That you tell me that is an honor! I think I have strength, I am where I am - even though now the Coronavirus has made everything difficult for me - because I have fought all this time to try to find a place in the industry. Also, as a VIRAGO, I have my own personality. Both in fashion and in life. But I don't know if I'm brave, in these times I'm a little afraid. Although I think it's a little more justified.
V: Even though we met each other thanks to social networks, which nowadays is pretty usual, I googled you and... it's scary. What a resume! It amazes me that someone so young is capable of doing so many things. I think it's something that's more common than we think in our generation. We are precisely the generation from the 2007 crash, the one that started working in the middle of the crisis. How did you manage to do so well?
Paloma: Thank you very much! I think it's because I've always been cautious and said to myself: "I'm going to pull my socks up from the beginning". Since I was nineteen I've written where I was given the chance, I've worked for almost nothing and I' sacrificed many summers... Thanks to that I was able to get into Harper's Bazaar almost at the end of college. Our generation learned the lesson quickly because we have always had it hard. Work, effort and patience are the basics of the journalist's look. Although in these times we are all journalists wearing pajamas.
V: Hearing you speak (well, okay: write), is something that has always transmitted a lot of peace to me. I think you are one of those people who are able to see things from the positive side. What is your secret? I think that especially now, after more than three weeks of home lockdown, it is the key to success in order not to go crazy. How are you doing these days? Beyond online classes, fitness instagram lives, etc. that were so novel at first and now are a routine.
Paloma: I think the “peace thing” comes from my name, haha, although in life 1.0 sometimes I am difficult to control. During this strange period I have much more free time so I try to take advantage of my facet of communication to entertain and show the beautiful side of life with alternative content. In a short time I will implement two small projects on Instagram that I have in my head in that line. I also share music, pictures that make me happy, inspiration in general... But the secret is to enjoy the little pleasures and show them to others. That helps your attitude to be positive.
V: I was recently teaching in the Master of E-commerce and Digital Marketing at the University of Barcelona. I was the guinea pig when it came to online classes: first Monday of confinement and first class - me. But you know what? A super interesting conversation came up in which I want you to participate: how are we going to change from now on? What happens after this isolation?
Paloma: I had this conversation just today with a close friend of mine. I already feel that I have changed. Our priorities are not the same. We used to travel as if it was something normal and now we realize that it is a real luxury. To L-I-V-E is a luxury. When we start consuming again, we'll do it with a lot more head. We will take more into account the made in Spain, we will choose smaller firms and brands, we will buy better... In social networks I think there will also be a change. We will leave aside the most superficial nonsense. Quality will win over quantity in many aspects of our lives.
V: This leads me to ask you about the changes at the fashion industry level, at the journalism level and at the combo level of both. Are things going to change as much as BoF or WGSN say in their reports?
Paloma: To tell you the truth, I haven't stopped to think too much about the future because I don't know what will happen to me. Journalism is already suffering from this situation - please don't stop buying magazines - as well as luxury brands. But as the headline of one of BoF's latest articles said, we will recover in the long run. Maybe the way we talk and use fashion will change. Palomo Spain recently said that the pace of the industry was crazy. Everything will slow down. There was already a wave of change linked to obvious sustainability - this industry is the second most polluting in the world - and now we have become much more aware of it. Maybe fashion will stop being so aspirational and come back to earth a bit more... in many ways.
V: In Virago we have always believed just that. What a pace! The beautiful thing about creating clothes is the course from idea to reality. It's not easy to create things from scratch, with your own identity, to make a good search of fabrics... It's a nonsense the current rhythm that leaves no room for art and creativity, turning the industry simply into a search of profitability that sells to the highest bidder (commercial and mainstream clothing).
Paloma: I completely agree, the rhythm that fashion was having was -and I speak in the past tense because I think this is going to change- a real madness. It's not normal to go to Zara and have them change the store every two weeks, to see cruise collections on the catwalk, and in between, eighty capsule collections between the two big shows, brands that bet on “see now buy now” and at the same time present other projects... You don't have time to taste a collection or the work of a designer. I think that what you do has a lot of merit and that it is necessary to value it as it should be. The creative process of any brand is something magical and if we finish the trick in a shorter process, the show loses value. We don't just want to see the magic trick, but also how it is executed. Everything is important. Ideas need their rhythm, creativity has its own times... Now that we've had to stop everything at once, it's a good time to think about it.
”It’s not normal to go to Zara and have them change the store every two weeks, to see cruise collections on the catwalk, and in between, eighty capsule collections between the two big shows, brands that bet on “see now buy now” and at the same time present other projects... You don’t have time to taste a collection or the work of a designer.”
— PALOMA HERCE
V: Speaking of changes - you are one of those fierce Madrilenians who know every detail of the city - when we get out of all this, we should take advantage of it to rediscover Spain, to invest here, so that little by little we can recover as a country. Where should we go, what should we do (as long we are allowed to). Starting with your city, of course.
Paloma: Madrid is one of those cities where life is buzzing around every corner so we Madrilenians usually like crowded places, frantic pace and even waiting in line. I feel like going back to Arallo Taberna and enjoy its Galician stew dumplings. If possible, I'll sit at the bar while I watch the cooks swaying on the other side. A rogue restaurant with an industrial appearance where Galician cuisine is obviously mixed with international recipes.
V: Although we can't deny the evidence, Madrid is for bars, not tables. It almost seems strange to me when I go to Madrid and sit at a table. I don't like it at all.
Paloma: So, Naikema. Nakeima is the favourite bar of many Madrid foodies. It's clear that we Madrilenians like bars. However, you have to go at 7 pm to wait in line, at 8.30 pm you're signed up and at 9 pm you come back for dinner. A special Japanese to let yourself go while you eat to the rhythm of Caribbean music.
V: Okay, but you've gone easy there. Japanese food has long been established on our palates. The difficult thing now is to be good, as a restaurant I mean, doing what we always do, our traditional dishes.
Paloma: If you're talking about tortillas, the Betanzos tortilla from Taberna Pedraza. I liked its old location better, near the Retiro, but it's not that far either... I have the ticket for one of my last tortillas with a magnet on the fridge door.
V: And for drinks o’clock?
Paloma: I feel like finishing at Toni 2 at dawn. Singing to the rhythm of Nino Bravo, Raphael and other classics. It is possibly the most special place in Madrid to have a drink. Watch out, it's a piano bar. But if we talk about drinks-and-chill, one of the places I like most is the old Pinkoco -now Ficus Bar-, in the Salesas district, is one of the places I like most to have a drink and relax. And soooo instagrammable. Or, if it's a vermouth, something very Madrid-like, La Violeta, where the list of vermouths is endless. The other option, for the tortilla that accompanies it, La Ardosa. That's where I drank my first one.
V: Se me está abriendo el hambre. O sea, que tu consejo para llevar a alguien que me pide una guía sería seguir todas estas directrices, ¿no?
Paloma: Si tuviera que llevar a un guiri a cenar me lo llevaría a Casa Macareno. Me chifla su aspecto de taberna, me encantan sus azulejos, y me encanta su carta. Su ubicación, en plena Malasaña, es perfecta para luego perderse y tomarse una copa en Corazón.
V: Definitivamente eres LA guía de Madrid. La guía cool claro. ¿Nos veremos por allí?
Paloma: Claro, la guía es para disfrutarla en compañía. :)