There is unique. And then there is unique. And then there is the Valencian designer and stylist Javier Soria. As the founder of Visori, he has been at the vanguard of the Made-in-Spain revolution in upcycling and other sustainable fashion practices. His shows draw legions of admirers. His collections scatter on the trendsetting winds. He is very much “it”. I first encountered his work at the Art en Blanc exhibition in 2019. In 2020, Javier was one of three designers who reignited my passion for fashion post-pandemic. Last year, I referred to him as “one of the more exciting up-and-comers” in my Forbes review of the CLEC Fashion Festival. This May, I invited the brand to International Fashion Academy in Paris (alongside Yvan Andreu & Studio 404). As part of my class on Fashion PR, students from the Global Media Management program got to work with unique garments and engage with emerging designers from Valencia, World Design Capital 2022. For this opportunity, Javier provided a fresh-off-the-runway mini dress with a maxi attitude… We were dazzled! Also, now, Visori’s signature “denim wonders” are on all my students’ fashion bucket list. Check out the case study report and the designer interview below.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
I have a very queer memory. As a kid, I had these swim trunks with green frogs that I used to wear to the beach. As I grew bigger, the swim trunks got smaller and smaller. Then one day I put them on as tight hyper-mega shorts and went to my primary school… My mother did not know! I thought it was such a total look. I felt so different. And I loved it. Later, in high school, the teacher in religion class was not happy with the way I used crosses and necklaces. At that time, Madonna and Like a Prayer were huge. It helped me identify with my favorite icon. That’s when I understood that a good accessory changes your look and your outlook.
How did you become interested in recycling/upcycling as a stylistic practice?
Many years ago, I saw those big donation containers for the first time. There were so many clothes there, it seemed absurd to me. Besides, upcycling garments seemed like a super interesting creative challenge. For me it means taking advantage of their original shapes and patterns. It is continuous learning that always discovers something exclusive and unique. Recycling is not a trend, it is necessity. My creativity raises awareness that sustainability should be instilled in us every day.
Why did you decide to create Visori instead of using your name for the brand?
My full name did not carry enough power somehow. Javier Soria. To me, it sounded too formal and maybe too common at the same time. I wanted a name that could represent me, that had no gender, and that would work as an enigmatic signature. Visori is short and effective. Maybe too effective because many people now call me that. The brand has trapped the designer! But I feel very identified with it.
What is the role of media and public relations for an emerging brand?
When I started, social networks did not have their current power. It was a slower process: try to get a fashion show, try to get into magazines, try to get into a physical store. I didn’t intend to sell at first, I just wanted to express myself. That’s how I managed to create a space for myself in the industry. Recognition and sales came later. Now, with a good product and a cool strategy you can reach the whole world in a matter of minutes online.
Do you have a muse?
The streets. I like to observe people in the streets. I am in Madrid now with its brutal evolution of styles and trends. It is wonderful to see so much social difference and sometimes such madness. Customized, radical, and counter-conventional fashion is here to stay. That inspires me.
Some call your vision “post-apocalyptic”. What version of the apocalypse is your favorite: climatic, nuclear, religious, extraterrestrial, etc.?
All the above at the same time?! Honestly, I always like a mix of things! In our last CLEC Fashion Festival show, I put together different social signifiers, religious characters from the future, people with impossible masks and armor that protects you from the harsh sun in a world without any solutions.
How do you see gender and sexuality in the future of post-tech fashion?
The evolution of fashion in terms of gender was inevitable. New generations accept these changes much better. When I started betting on menswear a decade ago, it seemed almost ridiculous to dress a man in this way. Thanks to many designers, today it is normal not to focus on gender. This trend is unstoppable. Nothing belongs to anyone, and everyone is free to use fashion as they want to feel comfortable and beautiful. That said, the European and international customers are much more open and experimental than the Spanish audience. More than 90% of our sales go abroad.
Chicken or the Egg? Stylist or Designer?
For me, working as a stylist and a designer is very complementary in creating my collections. Discovering other talents helps me to create ever greater richness in my own designs. I start with basic cotton, twill, other organic fabrics. The rest comes from neighborhood vintage stores, flea markets, secondhand outlets, and friends who always offer things to me. In the end, my clients benefit from a more unique product.
What makes Valencia your place of choice to live and work?
Although right now I am in Madrid and love it, Valencia is my home, my cradle, my roots. My family and my friends are there. The city is full of special light and the sea is its great companion. Valencia gives me peace. I work very comfortably in my workshop in Valencia. It allows me to concentrate perfectly on my own world.