i first met my friend paloma while we were both working for converse in nyc. paloma was my department's intern/freelancer and we became instant friends, sharing a love for pineapple imagery and men with beards among many other random things. palo has always had incredible taste and a unique eye. she's now splitting her time between living in london and working on her new spanish made shirt company, sunad with her friend ana marroquin in madrid. it's been really wonderful watching a good friend grow a business from the ground up (even from thousands of miles away). i was super excited to interview her for cultureisland and learn more about all things sunad. her and ana are offering a special cultureisland discount so shop now 'til may 12th and use the code CI.15
cultureisland: tell us more about you.
paloma canut: since ana and i were young, we have been inspired by the female figures in our lives – from their creativity and style to their passion and hard work. each of our family role models had an important role to play in shaping the women we are today. growing up in madrid we were exposed to a dynamic art scene and culture that could be found at every corner. this basis enabled us to share a love of passion for the arts, design and fashion. we see these worlds being intrinsically linked. following this, we both decided to attend parsons paris and a strong friendship ensued. we both shared a love of studying and it was through our design and management course that we eventually moved to parsons in new york. both cities are a melting pot of creative talent and we were lucky to be able to shape our careers towards the direction we each desired. even though we both started with the idea of pursuing a career in fashion, ana moved more towards interior design whilst i focused on graphics, photography and trends. it was only when we both decided to move back to madrid that we started to develop the concept behind our minimal, fashion contemporary brand ‘sunad’.
cultureisland: tell us more about sunad.
paloma canut: sunad was born from a love of vintage desert shirts as inspired by the film out of africa; that effortlessly chic, summer look that seemed to transcend decades. we felt there was no longer a brand or a product that represented that adventurous yet stylish woman of the 70’s. somewhere down the line we had lost that yves saint laurent woman, the same type of woman that we grew up around and admired so much. it was this philosophy, coupled with our love of nature that kick-started the whole concept and story behind sunad. the name sunad is an anagram for the spanish word for dunes: dunas.
the way we picture sunad, is based on an understanding that a common denominator exists in everything that inspires us: a play on masculinity and femininity through form and colour. we want this identity to be present in everything we do. rather than designing trend pieces, we focus on timeless classics produced in the highest quality. like life, our shirts adapt to you and age with you.
ana and i come from similar backgrounds and we share the same values and aesthetics, which we feel is a key foundation to our business. we are very transparent and committed to making products that not only look good but also are well-made and ethically sourced. craftsmanship is the foundation of our manufacturing process. a great deal of the textile history and skills are lost in spain so we feel it is our duty to try and help the remaining artisans and showcase the incredible talent that is still in our country. our shirts are all handmade in spain, including our buttons that are made in a small factory in palma de mallorca.
cultureisland: who is the sunad customer?
paloma canut: we design for the stylish, adventurous and powerful woman. someone who is curious about the world, its cultures and colours. a well-travelled curator, who is ambitious and values quality over quantity. there is no age limit to our designs.
cultureisland: how has sunad grown since you started? what plans do you have to continue growing it?
paloma canut: sunad operates in an organic way, perhaps closer to a premium menswear brand ethos. we remain true to our signature classics and staples and then build on them each season with unique fabrics, new details, print collaborations and bespoke capsule collections. we will however respond to key runway trends by picking up on a color wave or pattern that resonates with sunad and presenting that in our own voice throughout the collection. collaborations are and will be key in the future for sunad. it’s very inspiring to work with other talented designers and share ideas on design, processes and fabrics. the bouncing of ideas and feeding of creativity, injects a different energy into capsule collections. we are committed to being classic but also unique.
cultureisland: how do you name your shirts?
paloma canut: our concept of the desert shines through every element in our shirts. each of our shirts relates to a desert or natural landmark in the world - i.e. sahara, atacama, gobi, kalahari...
cultureisland: what inspires you to create? where do you find inspiration for the line and these pieces?
paloma canut: our inspiration comes from everywhere; old photographs, cultural references, magazine editorials, a sea of colours during your travel, interior design, architecture, anything and everything! all you need to do is keep your eyes open and tune your mind to pick up on it.
cultureisland: who are some of your favorite artists and designers?
paloma canut: we live in a world where we are spoiled with choices and i feel like my favourite designers and artists can change on a daily basis. there are amazing contemporary, luxury brands like mansur gavriel or won hundred, but we of course also love the designs of classic maisons of the 60’s and 70’s. as far as art goes, i love ed ruscha’s photographs, clyfford still, guy yanai, landon metz, brutalist architecture and mid-century modern furniture ... but the list is endless!
cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?
paloma canut: right now i’m very into leisure, jamie woon and kelela.
cultureisland: have you watched anything inspiring lately?
paloma canut: i am obsessed with documentaries, especially those about people i admire. i loved watching amy; it really made me rethink the role and effect of tabloids in our lives.
cultureisland: what are your favorite places to eat, shop and drink coffee in your neighborhood?
paloma canut: sometimes i wish teleportation was invented so i could constantly visit my favorite places around the world. for now and with a more traditional mode of transport, i recommend in london (dalston); tonkotsu, berber & q, la cabina, violet bakery or market cafe. and when in madrid; olivia te cuida, bar corazón, celso y manolo, casa salvador and tacos chapultepec are a must!