Brand founders Ana Sánchez and Daniel Vazquez describe how their homes in Cádiz and London shape their photographic silk scarf designs
After moving to London, Ana Sánchez and Daniel Vazquez found themselves missing the sea that surrounds their home city, Cádiz. Drawing on the romanticism of Cádiz and the modernity of London, they created a series of silk scarves using Daniel’s evocative seascape photography and Ana’s fashion and print expertise – a collaborative project that soon evolved into their own brand, LAMAR. Here, the designers share how their two favourite cities continue to shape the brand, as well as the story behind their search for the perfect sustainable silk.
How did the two of you meet?
Daniel: We met in Cádiz in 2008. Ana had a fashion brand called Solitas and I had a cultural magazine focused on launching new local talents. I saw the photos of her that were used to illustrate an article and thought ‘I would like to meet this girl’. Then we met in a pub in the centre of the city, we introduced ourselves and that's how it all started.
What motivated you to start LAMAR?
It was in 2015 when we had already been in London for a few years - we missed the sea and wanted a brand that would connect us with it. We used a photographic series that we created in 2010 in Cádiz and with those images we began to create the first series of LAMAR scarves.
Can you tell us a bit about your home city Cádiz and how it inspires you?
Cádiz is a small city in the south of Spain, the southern province in Europe and the gateway to Africa. It was founded by the Phoenicians more than 3000 years ago and became a key port for the control of Mediterranean. It is said that it is one of the oldest human settlements in the West. Its connection with the sea is total and is part of the lives of all the people of Cádiz. Its light and its sea is always a source of inspiration for us.
Would you say your designs are influenced by both London and Cádiz equally?
Definitely. Cádiz is the more poetic inspiration and London is the design, the modernity, the aesthetic. This mixture is what has shaped our work and our scarves. Actually, the first scarf that Ana and I made together used architectural photographs that we took on our first trip to London in 2009. At that point LAMAR did not yet exist as a brand.
Where else do you look for inspiration?
We look for inspiration in the places we like, the cities or places that we discover, buildings, rocks, textures, objects. Anything that visually tells us something.
How do you choose which photographs get turned into prints?
We always select the photographs together. We not only assess the aesthetic part of the photograph, but we also analyse how it will behave when we turn it into a garment and how it will interact with the person who is going to wear it.
Cádiz is the more poetic inspiration and London is the design, the modernity, the aesthetic. This mixture is what has shaped our work and our scarves.
Can you describe your creative process?
We like to discover. That first encounter with a place and how it attracts us visually is the most important part of our process. We never prepare our photographic series in advance and we try not to have many visual references. For us, the first moment is unique and unrepeatable.
Do you collaborate on every decision?
Always - we never approve a design that we both do not like. From the selection of images to the search for colours and ideas, everything is joint work.
Can you tell us about your studios?
We are divided into two, London and Cádiz. We love the combination of both cities, so we want to work in both. Our studio in Cádiz is incredibly bright - it was built in 1880 and has high ceilings, lots of space and is close to the sea so we feel very good in it. Our last studio in London was on Dulwich Road. Our windows looked out onto Brockwell Park and through them we saw the most beautiful sunsets, heard birds, saw squirrels and foxes and it was a very poetic and special time for us. We left this studio due to the pandemic and we are now in search of a new one where we want to settle sometime soon.
All of your scarves are made from organic and sustainable silk – why was this important to you?
We believe that it is very important for each individual to be aware of the times we live in - we are going through an environmental crisis that affects us all. Taking care of our planet is something that really matters to us. We want to be aware of it in our work by producing in Europe and working with companies that are on the same path with the same purposes. This is something fundamental and the reason we work with sustainable silk.
Can you tell us about your weaving mill in Italy and how you started working with them?
Since we began LAMAR in 2015 in London, we have worked hard to produce a silk that was woven, printed and finished sustainably in Europe. We started in Asia, with suppliers who provided us with a very good quality silk. But they were not weavers, they did not have sustainability certificates and there was a long distance between our countries. We did not like to have our products frequently transported from such a distance.
It took us time and a lot of work to find our current supplier. We found them at a textile fair in London and started to work with them, making samples and more samples, especially stamping. Our photographs are difficult to print - the colours must be exact and we have to balance tones, contrasts etc. But finally we got it and they had everything we were looking for. They are a small family business in Como, Italy with a tradition in weaving. They have their own machinery, are closer in distance and above all they have a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certificate for the entire silk weaving and printing process.
Do you have a favourite design from your collections?
Each design is special because we live every moment that we shoot and then select them. It is very important for us to convey that moment in each one of them, so sincerely they are all favourites.
Why did you choose to stock your designs at Liberty?
Liberty for us is something more than a store, it is an institution in fashion, design and silk. We believe that it is the perfect place to show our creations and connect our work with London, the city that has given us so much inspiration.