Starting from tablecloths and more recently, delicate Spanish fabrics, Nuria Freire has become the true fashion design talent behind "Cléa Studio." She has a uniquely empathetic focus in her tailor-made clothing designs which manage to compliment an individual's body type, helping a woman to feel comfortably elegant. She dons the old title "dressmaker" and yet her creations are an eclectic combination of modern and classic. Nuria's eye for detail, her passion for customer service, and her timeless artistry are all unparalleled and completely captivating. Let's take a look at some of her finest pieces as we speak with Nuria about her career and current project, Cléa Studio.
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1. How did you get into dressmaking?
I was very young when I started making dresses out of tablecloths. I always said that I wanted to be a designer but I ended up studying teaching as I was adviced that was going to feed me. But luckily I made up my mind when I was working as a teacher. So at 24, I moved to Madrid to study Fashion Design at IED MADRID. I studied with them for two years but I wasn’t fully satisfied with their system as I wasn’t learning how to make tailor-made clothes. So I started studying pattern cutting in a very tiny workshop with a teacher that had years of experience. It was a huge change. The place didn’t breathe fashion but they taught me how to sew. It was a that moment that I found myself, found what I liked and what kind of fashion I wanted to put out there. Cléa Studio was the result. I realized how necessary tailor-made clothes are and how happy they make women so that’s what I’ve doing until this moment.
2. Tell me about Clea Studio
It started like a game, making clothes for my sister and friends as a way to get extra money while I was still studying. But little by little I found that I had things to offer and realized that if I took it seriously I would make something beautiful out of it.
Cléa Studio makes clothes for those women who don’t really fall in love with the garments the market offers them. Women who want to have something different, specially made for them and their bodies.
These women want to feel comfortable, confident and elegant. They have a taste for high-quality fabrics, finishings and they appreciate what is Made in Spain.
We offer them that, feeling good in their own skin while they practice a conscious way of shopping.
3. When you tell people you are a dressmaker, what assumptions do they make about
It can either be that I have a huge closet, that I am superficial and too much into the looks or that I am lucky to work doing what I love.
The truth is I do not own a closet, I believe that if you do not feel great about yourself clothes are not going to save you, a good book will do that and about the third assumption I will have to tell them they are right.
4. How does an idea go from thought to a physical dress on a model? Walk me through your design process.
Every time I have an idea that I like I quickly sketch it not to forget it. But the design is always modified while I’m working on it.
First, I create the pattern and transform it on paper as close as possible to my sketch. I cut it in fabric and sew the toile to see how it fits. That is when I start modifying everything I don’t like, improving the design and adding or removing pieces until I have a result I’m really in love with.
Once the final design has been decided I continue to sew it in the fabric I chose for it. The next thing I do is wear it to see how women react to it in order to get feedback and keep on improving.
5. When have you felt most proud?
When our first shirt collection got its own article in Vogue Spain. I could not believe it and it was a huge surprise. I felt proud because all the hard work and my commitment to keep on going even when I was not seeing immediate results paid off. It is also true that the important thing is to enjoy the path but one can’t help to feel joy when VOGUE knocks on your door.
6. What does a well made dress mean to you?
It means love and appreciation for the trust you clients have in you. They do not deserve less than something made carefully and patiently.
It also means respect to the Earth as it is a garment that is going to last longer so you are not going to buy a thousand low-quality pieces that are going to end up on your rubbish.
7. How much does your environment affect your creations?
I think environment is everything. What you are surrounded by is going to define who you believe you are and what you do. So it is extremely important for me that we surround ourselves with people and objects that vibrate in a high frequency or we won’t be able to create the life that we dream of, whether it is being a good designer, friend or lover. So if there’s anything in my environment that is distracting me, lowering my energy or making me lose my focus I’ll get rid of it without hesitation.
8. What is one thing you absolutely need in order to be creative?
Music. I love music. R&b, jazz, funk... Music is the thing that inspires me the most. It lets my imagination fly. It takes me to the places I want to be and picturing the clothes I’d love to wear.
9. How would you describe your aesthetic?
That’s a really hard question for me as I find difficult to put what I do into words. Somebody else would answer this question better for me and surprise me with who I am.
I think I am a mix between classic and modern, influenced a little by the 80’s- 90’s as I like big shoulders and tight waists. Feminine, always elegant, and sometimes a little bit cheeky
10. What is next for you?
I want to serve my clients better so I want to create collections that are more accessible for them but maintaining our values. Made in Spain, high- quality fabrics, care for details and finishings. So the next project is creating a collection that will be available to shop online while I keep offering tailor-made services for those who want to go that extra mile.
I want to create a place where women can find clothes they love and believe in. I want to promote a different relationship to buying, far from the fast-fashion. Buying garments because you know you are going to enjoy them not as result of your uncontrollable need to possess things.
ALL IMAGES VIA CLÉA STUDIO AND NURIA FREIRE