“It’s just incredibly boring to make the exact same pair of pants more than once, I don’t want to be this kind of creator.”
Alberto Martín is 25 years old and, despite his young age, he’s not exactly taking his first steps in the world of fashion. His interest first appeared in high school, triggered by a documentary he saw on the functioning of the fashion industry. The need to further explore this world, impulsive as it may seem, has not left him ever since; he studied design in Madrid, did an internship in Oporto, Portugal, and came back to Spain, with the idea of his own brand already established in his head.
While I was doing the internship in Portugal, I saw people creating, building their own brands, and realized that I could do it too. I remember some nights I would come home and start making notes and sketches reflecting what I would like to express and talk about. Back in Madrid, I gathered those notes and started conceptualizing.
Right after he returned, he found all external activities of his (and of the rest of the world’s population) restrained by the pandemic, the situation he easily took advantage of: in lockdown, Alberto casually began to visualize his initial concepts, to make his first pieces. His creative process was from the beginning very organic, unforced, intuitive. And so was the idea for the brand name:
My partner and I, we just started to play around with some words the sound of which we liked, mixing them together, trying our different combinations, he recalls. As a result of this frisky undertaking, BOLTAD came into existence – the name very reflective in nature of the process of its emergence. Namely, while it sounds witty, it means…absolutely nothing. BOLTAD is an invented word, a merger of two unrelated terms, the first being the name of a street in Seville and the second – that of an insect that was invading Alberto’s family house in Badajoz (the insect is called a woodlouse, un bicho BOLa in Spanish).
Alberto founded BOLTAD in July 2021 at the age of 23, and the entire concept of his brand is saturated with the same randomly whimsical energy its name originated from. The founder’s business approach is that of most young creators: a little lost and unsure of the future, he’s also extremely enthusiastic and dedicated to his goal. Fashion is, in Alberto’s understanding, the ultimate means of self-expression.
I love clothes and I think it’s really beautiful to be able to express myself through them. What I like the most is the process of creating a collection, looking for a concept, elaborating it, and bringing it into fashion. It is also a very curious practice, because in the end I am talking about intimate things and I have to find the “right” way of translating them into garments.
That very idea of exploring some deep, unspoken, human sensation through a piece of clothing is what stands behind all his designs. BOLTAD’s latest collection, “SUDDENLY FREEZES” is the perfect illustration of that. In collaboration with a tattoo artist named POLO, Alberto delved into the topic of loud silence: an ephemeral feeling that appears in very specific moments in life and that the designer wanted to freeze (hence the title) in his garments.
For me, the loud silence means having a blank mind. It is the silence that you can feel, for instance, when you are having an anxiety crisis. But there’s also a moment of, say, winning a prize that causes the same kind of sensation. In short, the silence driven by fear is the same as the silence caused by euphoria and as the one generated by anxiety. I developed 18 different situations linked by this odd, transitory state; they were the basis on which I created each piece from the collection.
That “SUDDENLY FREEZES”’, BOLTAD’S biggest project so far, was the result of a collaboration, is no coincidence or surprise. Collective work is what Alberto thrives in and what he actively seeks as a creator; he thoroughly enjoys exchanging his ideas with other artists, crossing aesthetics and balancing each other’s dynamics. The effects of such a process, as he rightly points out, are more authentic, genuinely fascinating for all parties involved, as they simply can’t be fully intentional – you never know exactly what will come out of this kind of exchange.
But more importantly even, taking on collective projects means joining forces and reaching a broader public; it’s gaining an extra drive to get the message across:
I think we have to share what we have of worth with other people in order to expand; if we don’t do that we will never advance. I don’t want the creators of my generation to work separately without bringing any social value together, for them to simply do their part and be done in twenty years; I want us all to keep growing.
Alberto admits that what he’s most motivated by is other people’s creative attitudes, their unrestrained, fearless urge to dream big: take inspiration from anything, elaborate audacious concepts, and actually dare to put them into practice.
Here in Spain I participate in many conceptual conversations between friends. They have ideas, and these ideas are good, but no one really carries them out. People have a lot of fear. Then you go to London for example and everyone is doing that, they just don’t care. People are more free, they are not afraid to believe in their projects, even if they are unconventional or impractical. This attitude inspires me a lot.
When asked about his future plans and commercializing the brand, BOLTAD’s founder acknowledges his doubts. I know that having a brand means building an enterprise, he says, but commercial creation is not something I’m interested in. Most of his designs are limited-edition-like, unique garments, partially because he believes repetition is of little value to the customer, but also because it really bores him. While working on his first commercial drop for the BOLTAD website launch, he realized that he finds little satisfaction in that process.
I understand that if I want to take my brand seriously and keep growing I will have to eventually get closer to the world of sales, and I know I will release new collections for sale. But I hope I will still be able to reconcile this commercial aspect with my individual approach, and keep my creative process mostly uninhibited.
He can’t be sure about what the future will bring. He is sure, however, of one thing: even commercialized, each design of his will stay one-of-a-kind. If I am to make the exact same pair of pants more than once, Alberto adds, and with that he sums up our conversation quite perfectly, then that’s just not the kind of creator I want to be.