In less than 10 years, Designer Archie M. Alled Martinez moved from Barcelona to London, studied knitwear at Central Saint Martins, won both the LVMH prize for Graduates and the L’Oréal Scholarship, worked at Givenchy and launched his own brand. Yet, Alled Martinez succeeds in this very strange summer to keep our desire alive. The Alled Martinez boy is slippery when wet. Is he horny, or just stepped out from a dip? His pants are wrinkled as he packed quickly for the beach. But wouldn’t these holidays just be a pretext to seek romance? After trying for a long time to fit this interview in his tight schedule, I finally had a phone conversation with a voluble, lively, but busy Archie:


Hello Archie, so, you were born in Spain, you studied in London and you are now based in Paris. Has this life journey come naturally? Or was it a life plan?

It wasn’t a life plan. I was always sent abroad every summer when I was a kid. So it was obvious to me that my studies would take place abroad. At 16, as soon as I knew that I wanted to work in fashion, I stole my dad’s credit card and got on a plane to London and booked a short course at Central Saint Martins. I, then, moved to London after high school to study knitwear. It was very organic and felt natural to me even though I come from a totally different environment; all my family is working in the business.


You studied knitwear in Saint Martins and then based the DNA of your brand around reinventing how we use, produce, and see knitwear. Where did that come from?

My product, design, and view come from the need to find my own space within the knitwear industry. A lot of things in Knitwear are cliché or a bit bland, but I always was attracted to unconventional materials like celluloid, see-through, and the various avant-garde fabrics. I mixed up the things I love which are the technicality of the knit with the aesthetic of menswear and the severity of tailoring.


While still linking sex and sensuality with knitwear, this collection seems to reference 2013’s movie L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake). Is it a direct inspiration or am I digressing?

Of course, it is a reference. I got to see the movie in Cannes during the festival and I got fascinated by it. I still remember it very vividly. In a time where we’ve been isolated for so long, it was the right time to reference cruising (in the gay community; walking or driving around a locality in search of a sex partner). I also got inspired by filmmaker Peter de Rome, who during the ’60s was all about documenting this homoerotic imagery.


As a relatively new business, how is the brand copping with the ramifications of COVID 19?

It’s not been easy, I’m not gonna lie. In terms of sales, we’ve noticed the impact since January. But you have to come up with creative and economical solutions. We prepared a new business strategy which we built around the launch of our e.commerce in September but we mostly want to keep going and keep having fun.


As an individual, has recent events changed the way you view and consume fashion?

Well, you know as soon as you start making fashion, the way you consume fashion changes. But will the events change me? Yes and no, I will definitely learn from it but how long will that stay?


We are resilient.

We are. And I’m afraid we will not learn so much from this. Although I wish we would. It would be utopian to expect people to grow from this and I am not a utopian. I just wish people would understand what the impact of consumerism is on our society.


Do you have any advice for a young designer who wants to start his own journey during this post-pandemic world?

I’m not really the one to give advice but I think you just have to have a voice and something to say. But have a message, know the industry, and build your network. It is okay to not have a voice straight after university or even when you enter the market. It takes time and it is normal.


As the world is slowly getting to a more inclusive way of living, Alled-Martinez is actively blurring the lines between gender norms. Tell me more about this.

It is about not overthinking. For me, I don’t think of gender norms because I don’t believe in them. It is not about ticking the diversity box, the gender box, etc. it has to feel natural and it should never be forced. Have an opinion on things and the rest will come naturally.


Exactly, no one should operate performative diversity.

No, because that is wrong as well, we are crafting the future, a better and authentic one. Own your message and believe in it.


Last question Archie, what is your definition of Love?

Oh god. Love has a lot to do with admiration I think. I love my friends because I admire them. Whenever a relationship has not worked out for me, it’s always been because I thought I could love someone without admiring them.