From being discovered on the subway in Madrid, to walking for major brands like Victoria’s Secret and appearing on the cover of Vogue. The Sybarite speaks with Blanca Padilla, the Spanish Model who is conquering the world.
How are you? What impact has covid had in both your personal and professional life?
A break like this is really uncomfortable and it stirs a lot of unrest in a society which is not used to not stopping for a second. I think it has affected all of us in one way or another, and it has taught us to put our lives in perspective. From the little day to day things, to the bigger picture of redirecting our focus and energy, to what we want to make of each day. And in the long term, it has helped us think – where are we going? What is our true purpose? What are the things that make us feel good? And on a larger scale, we have the chance to reflect on how our society works, the world we have created, how it has reacted to such a situation and how solutions are implemented and the long term traces that all this will leave… In my opinion, all discomfort and pain will leave its mark, but it can also bring very beneficial and necessary structural changes if we are brave enough.
And that’s what this year is for me. To continue that endless search for balance. The importance of setting limits, aligning myself with the person I want to be and thanking life for everything it gives me. Reminding myself that life is fragile and short and that we are here to enjoy the journey. Personally, after many years away from my roots due to absolutely focusing on my professional career, it has really been a gift being close to my loved ones. To be able to relive the warmth of family and their presence.
Professionally, I have been extremely lucky to be able to continue working despite numerous restrictions, albeit in a more controlled way, which has actually allowed me to also focus on my health and rest. I believe that something good can be obtained from everything, and this pandemic year has given me a lot.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” — Charles Darwin, British naturalist.
Do you think covid could be a brand new opportunity for the Fashion industry?
In a way I hope so. I think the situation in terms of seasons (and egos) was a bit out of control. This situation, this health emergency, has given us a wonderful opportunity to get closer to our purest essence, and see the harsh reality of life and death. This forced return to the basics, to the essence of life, to the small but significant things, has given life in general, and with it fashion, a different value, a new perspective. It has given creatives and designers the opportunity to soak up this fresh vision, of how we have to see the industry from now on, and the impact each of them makes.
From creation, to production, to selecting models and promoting ideas and knowledge with it. All of us who work in this industry have a great responsibility. Hopefully we focus on a much more conscious approach to it, where we really work for our own satisfaction, forgetting that ego and that constant external noise that many times control our actions without realizing it. I would like to see the fashion industry moving towards a minimal trend – fewer seasons, fewer releases, less mass production, less content saturation. But with more significant steps. This can be powerful: in my opinion less does not mean weaker.
Congratulations on your collaboration with Ecoalf. How has it been working for the Spanish firm?
Thank you so much! It totally goes hand in hand with what I mentioned in the previous question. In the end, it is about building a more minimal and conscious wardrobe: starting with your basics. I had a hard time myself finding durable basics that were really sustainable while at the same time looking for a process of transparency in their production. Working with Ecoalf has been very pleasant, I have a very good connection with the whole team and with Javier. It has been an interesting and fun process.
The pandemic has made society more conscious when it comes to buying. Do you think sustainable fashion has become a priority?
Yes, I definitely think that trends are evolving towards sustainable fashion as a reference and bringing it to the foreground. I really hope it becomes more than a trend. It makes me very angry because I am passionate about fashion but I find it very difficult to be a supporter of the current model figure as representing a consumer. We need new systems. Systems that are put in place to stay. There are brands that are doing well and I just wish I could see the same in many more in the years to come. I would like more people to understand that not doing it is so damaging, to society as well as to their brands. We are part of nature and we share our home with her. What damages nature, what damages ecosystems irreversibly, also damages us in the same way.
What do you miss the most from your pre-covid life?
I’ve really gotten used to being very adaptive. I adapt well to change, and there is nothing that I especially miss except the freedom of the smallest, everyday things. Things like living without masks, hugging someone you love that you haven’t seen for a long time … and that physical contact wasn’t so restricted. The tranquility of living without this virus hovering, in short … in a way I fear that this is psychologically affecting the ordinary citizen much more than we realize.
Post-pandemic – what is the first thing you are going to do?
If we regain that normalcy, the first thing I would do is hug a lot. Go back to those habits of normalized physical contact, social plans without worries…