JoSephine – Maria Asìn, Mila Gracia and the A/W22 Collection
Venetia Tyler talks to the two creative forces behind the rising Spanish fashion brand
JoSephine is a Spanish brand created by two creatives, Maria Asín and Mila Gracia, who share a special friendship. The brand was set up by the two designers in Madrid, and prides itself on being a clothing line that promotes an individuality reflected through unique garments. Mila and Maria place huge importance on two things – clothes that sustainably endure over time and the promotion of women in the workplace. And, to that end, 80% of JoSephine’s current collaborators are, in fact, women.
The AW21 Collection is an extension of the sustainably-orientated work that the designers have been developing since JoSephine’s inception. Feminine silhouettes, including Victorian-inspired collars and necklines, and gathered sleeves on cotton shirts are ever present in the AW21 collection. With both being inspired by nature, picturesque landscapes and the air of the Atlantic coasts they’ve both known since childhood, the AW21 collection also boasts elegant sailor-inspired blouses that have a slightly androgynous to them. Nevertheless, all pieces in the AW21 collection are wrapped up in an obvious essence of ‘JoSephine feminine beauty’.
Can you tell us about your mother, Maria José, and how she inspired the brand to be called JoSephine?
She taught me a taste for fabrics and the aesthetic sense. Since I was a child at home I have always lived surrounded by that special sensitivity for beautiful things. This was also true with my grandmother (her mother). This brand could not have another name than JoSephine, it’s representative of what the soul of the brand is.
Is your mother your main creative inspiration?
I always wonder if she would like a new model that we create, and she is present in every part of the creative process – when I choose a fabric or draw a dress in my notebook, or when we go to Paris to the fairs. My inspiration comes from traveling, walking, people watching, drawing. In daily life there is a huge source of inspiration.
Mila Grace Peterson
How important has your childhood proved to be in the creative decisions made about the brand?
In my childhood I always remember being surrounded by beautiful things – my home, my family. My mother showed me a sense of aesthetic through simple things. I believe your childhood experiences will mark you for the rest of your life. During the madness of the creative process, at the end they will naturally come back to you. What you want to transmit over and over again are all those good memories and feelings through your creations. It’s something that innately you need to share.
Mila & Maria
How did you two meet? And how and when did you decide to start JoSephine?
We met many years ago, in university. We were both studying in Madrid at the same design school and since then we are like sisters. At the age of 22 we founded our first brand with two more friends, but later our paths separated.
Four years ago our paths crossed again. We were in the same personal situation; two little kids, a good professional experience and really wanting to work together again. So, we were ready for JoSephine!
Tell us a little about JoSephine’s brand philosophy.
Our brand is like our personal universe. Everything is connected. You can´t understand JoSephine if you only see the garments. We love to transmit feelings through our creations, that´s why the sense of timeless, slow fashion is so important for us. We don’t pretend to be only a brand. We would love you to experience the same things we feel imagining this universe.
How do you work together to come up with each collection?
We are both totally involved in the creative process, that´s what we love and what we are passionate about. For the other roles we try to divide; each one in charge of an area. But in the end, we like to be immersed in the whole process: the contact with customers, suppliers, etc. We are like a family and need to get involved in everything to learn, improve and grow.
How important was the concept of nature in the AW21 collection?
Maybe the fact of being deprived of contact with nature, as we all have experienced in the last year due to the pandemic, has awakened that innate need of the human being to be in contact with mother nature. Nature is a constant in our collections, but now it´s a necessity. It´s an act of respect for life; to be alive and to be with the ones we have lost.
The collection focuses on life at sea, fishing and the Atlantic air. What made these things special and can you explain why you chose to focus on them?
The Atlantic for both of us represents our origins, south and north but the same ocean. The salt and the art of fishing are our most ancient traditions, and they all require time – and time for our generation is a gift we have to relearn. We found inspiration in the life at sea, its colours, the fishing boats and the nets. This collection is a tribute to all the beauty that has always surrounded us.
With women at the centre of your brand, what are your ambitions for women in fashion?
Our hope is to reach a moment where we don´t need to be speaking about the future of women in fashion; a moment in time where we are all only valued for our talent.
Finally, how do you see the brand developing over the next 5 years?
We are planning to expand first in Europe. We are growing at a very good pace, but we like to baby steps – maybe open a small shop in a very special place, who knows.
For more information on JoSephine, click here.