If I asked you what Desigual (pronounced 'des-ig-wal') and Cosmopolitan Middle East have in common, you’d probably reply, “not a lot.” To be honest, I thought the same. I’d been invited to attend a brand event in Barcelona, to witness its relaunch and reinvention, and I wasn’t sure how well Middle Eastern would receive Mediterranean.
Touching down in the Spanish city was a breath of fresh air. Literally. When did Dubai get so insanely hot?! Full of culture and colour, Barcelona is the perfect destination for Desigual’s HQ, which employs over 800 people. During the tour of the impressive building, I learn this: Thomas Meyer launched Desigual in 1984 in Barcelona with the desire to “dress people, not bodies.” The mantra (which I couldn’t love more, by the way) immediately reminded me of Cosmo’s latest campaign, #BeYouLoveYou, which celebrates body confidence of all female shapes and sizes. So, the Spanish clothing brand and Cosmo actually have a lot in common: both believe in feeling comfortable in your own skin and loving yourself. A strong start indeed.
The very first Desigual piece of clothing was the now famously-recognised Mickey Mouse jacket, which was created from scraps of used jeans. So really, Desigual was championing sustainability before it was even cool to champion sustainability. The jacket was created using different denim pieces and decorated with a Mickey Mouse graphic on the back, and today it is considered one to the first ever upcycled products in fashion. Impressive.
Today, Desigual – the first brand to launch a logo totally in reverse - boasts six product categories (women, men, kids, sport, accessories and shoes), is present in 90 countries around the world and last year sold more than 22 million garments. Keeping up?
In the evening, I’m ushered to a quiet beach and instructed to wear a pair of headphones. Suddenly, I’m part of a quirky silent disco. The whole point of the disco supports Desigual’s ethos, to design clothes to make us step out of our comfort zone. It’s fair to say creativity was entwined in the schedule.
Before the night is over, I watch an epic fashion show very clearly setting the brand apart from others. How? By rejecting mainstream beauty standards and inviting us all to dress freely. From the varied selection of models, to the asymmetrical designs and flamboyant splashes of colour from the clothes, to the jaw-dropping dancing. Desigual portrayed its “forward is boring” campaign loud and clear. I repeat: Loud. And. Clear.
It’s not often I enjoy being wrong, but on this occasion I’m here for it. You and your Instagram need to thank Desigual, which translates into English as unequal, for creating clothing that is colourful, optimistic and truly celebrates individuality and self-love.
To Shop Desigual, check out Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and Mirdif City Center