Breaking the limitations of fashion
Maintaining an authentic narrative can be turbulent. Our environment positions us within a single frame of thinking, and it is radical— yet necessary —to evolve from this, because creating change within one’s personal sphere is vital in creating global difference. This is exactly what Spanish designer Abraham ‘Abra’ Ortuño’s eponymous fashion brand, ABRA, has done. A free state of mind is one of the many ways to describe Ortuño; as it was the constraints of others that ignited his work, known for its inclusivity. Our love for Ortuño and his work only increases when dis- covering his wisdom and seemingly limitless creativity.
At the beginning of his career, Ortuño took the tried and true fashion journey: “I came to Paris six years ago and I worked as an accessories designer for many brands,” he begins. It was in the French capital that his talent developed, as Ortuño took his first job at JACQUEMUS before moving to PACO RABANNE. “It really gave me the motivation to start thinking about starting my own company,” he tells us. Knowing the industry inside out became the catalyst for finding its flaws, placing Ortuño’s work within a reinvention of narrative in terms of sizing and inclusivity— topics that have concerned him since childhood. “The aesthetic of ABRA is a mix of things that impacted me as a child, from masculine men wearing heels in Sisley campaigns, to strong women in suits,” he says. Pushing boundaries has clearly always excited him: “The freedom of dressing was probably my biggest goal in life.” It certainly feels like a goal achieved, albeit continuously advancing.
Moving from his long-established inspirations to what the brand stands for today, Ortuño reflects: “After working for many years in the industry for so many different people, it really gave me a very realistic vision of what a fashion company is, and it helped me to make the right decisions. It feels great getting things done your way,” he confesses. But there are still challenges in his path when it comes to business beyond creativity: “The most challenging thing has been finding the time to take care of so many things”— including, we imagine, himself.
In spite of being a long-term resident, Paris continues to inspire and excite Ortuño: “Paris is my home, I can’t picture myself anywhere else,” he says. “It is the meeting point for all the people I like in every scene— fashion, music, art. There are so many different characters coming throughout the year, it’s kind of refreshing!” In the inclusive ABRA world, there’s room for everyone from friends and family (“there is always the image of my sister, and my friends in mind,” he says)— to those “breaking the limitations you still find in fashion.”
“We live in a world where everything is possible, you can’t be surprised by almost anything anymore,” he ex- plains. “So how is it possible that there was no one making shoes for all these amazing people with amazing style in their sizes? We see all the time now big luxury brands featuring guys wearing heels in their look books. It’s amazing but it’s funny that many of them are actually not for sale.”
And yet, Ortuño remains optimistic about the future of fashion: “I hope stores will take more risk in their orders. I believe there are many amazing people waiting to enter without any limitation, and I hope this will make many people happy,” he exclaims. “I want the new generation to grow up without the limitations of religion, where understanding is the biggest goal in life.”
Happiness, inclusivity and understanding. Ortuño has a vision, and we can’t wait for more to come.
Imagery from ABRA FW 20/21
Photography by Kenza Meunier
Styled by Pierre Demones
Makeup by Lolalita
Casting by Esther Boiteux , EB AGENCY
Modelled by Feuza Diouf
Words by Grace Powell