It has been a year of firsts for Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques’Almeida. After being awarded NewGen sponsorship, the Central Saint Martins grads presented on the official London fashion week schedule for the first time during the Spring ’14 shows in September. And this week, the duo—best known for their raw and unexpected denim looks—made their inaugural trek to Los Angeles as part of the British Fashion Council’s traveling London Showrooms. In between press appointments and a trip to In-N-Out Burger, Marques and Almeida sourced inspiration from famed vintage emporium Wasteland—and they invited to tag along.
“Denim kind of found us,” Marques said of their now signature medium. “We were so obsessed with the early nineties, when it was like the code of dressing always had to involve a really nice worn-out pair of jeans or a jean jacket. We thought it was the foundation of cool.” The nineties is a decade that Marques and Almeida (who cut their teeth at Vivienne Westwood and Preen, respectively) reference often, explored through the lens of i-D and Kurt Cobain. “We started with the whole grunge movement and watching Nirvana documentaries. It was a lot more oversize, boy shapes,” Marques continued, later adding that they abandoned the era once “grunge became a trend.” Their latest reference is the noughties (i.e., the 2000s). “It was all about being sexy in a very obvious way,” she said.
The stop in Los Angeles was important for the designers, who produce their collection mostly in London. “Although we’ve never been here, we’ve always felt this weird connection,” Marques mused while browsing the store, which is just miles from some of the biggest denim factories in the world. But being based in London has its advantages. “We don’t have this preconceived idea of what jeanswear should look like. [In L.A.], we’d end up doing the five-pocket jean just because they have the machines to do it,” Almeida admitted. “We knew nothing about denim until we started, and we learned a lot through experimenting,” offered Marques. As Marques’Almeida stands poised to grow—and recent acclaim, as well as stockists like Opening Ceremony, seems to demand it—their future looks bright, and not just because of the SoCal sun.