Based in Madrid, Wellness is a brand that blurs the boundaries between virtual and physical fashion design, creating the perfect pieces to wear on your journey towards inner peace. Currently causing a stir on Instagram through the ultra clean aesthetic of their @__wellness account and affiliated personal channels @hip___hop and @eurostar__, we tracked down the men behind the handles, co-founders Andrea Lazarov and Manuel Mourentan to discuss their unique vision on looking good (and feeling great).
LOGO: Wellness feels like a very aspirational project – you talk about achieving a “specific harmony and balance” across physical, spiritual and mental levels. What steps are Wellness taking to address that kind of balance in people’s lives?
WELLNESS: The Salud Wellness collection is strongly inspired by health and beauty establishments and their philosophy. The idea of ‘wellness’ that many of these centres embrace has evolved from fitness, but while fitness revolves around physical reinforcement, wellness [the brand] will span multiple dimensions in order to achieve wellbeing on a physical, spiritual and mental level. One part of our new collection tries to address this balance and harmony through clean patterns and straightforward terms. The other part of the collection had a lot to do with many of the typographies and compositions we found repeatedly in these centre’s ads.
LOGO: Fashion can often be taken for a pretty surface-based medium, would you say you’re trying to use your collections to explore the idea of something deeper than just outward appearance?
WELLNESS: Yes, but in our case it just seemed like the perfect surface to give shape to ideas we didn’t really know how to organise otherwise. It made sense to us to do fashion, because, in a way, it allowed us to naturally combine several fields we had a previous interest in.
LOGO: And what is it drives you to make garments that allow the brand to engage so readily on a virtual dimension, beyond their physical design? I’m really intrigued by that duality you’ve got going on.
WELLNESS: As far as engagement goes, the virtual dimension offers almost an infinite number of possibilities. The user experience transcends and goes further than just wearing it. Presentation-wise garments can perform without any rules; they can be displayed and interact in million variations. Most of our inspiration comes from AFK observations, everyday elements which are involved in a constant feedback loop between their natural state and their digital implantation.
LOGO: Tell us a bit about the ideas behind your previous Image Identity Program range.
WELLNESS: Image Identity Program is a project that deals with the idea of branding. It analyses the power of logos by their simple placement, and what aesthetics are triggered in the viewer by this procedure. The brand no longer serves only to identify a product; it’s a symbol that is used to project ourselves and establish relationships with each other. Today, its identity is also shaped through the individuals and the different definitions these correlations have brought up.
LOGO: And what about the Dubai Water collection these images are based on? – you seem to be using very technical man-made fabrics for what is essentially a natural concept, is the contradiction deliberate?
WELLNESS: With Dubai Water we wanted to approach the idea of promotional products – the thin and somewhat imaginary line that divides promotional garments and fashion is highlighted, stretched and modified. Whereas once promotional products stood on a lower standard than commercialised ones, now we can observe how these products have shifted and gravitated towards the centre. We find ourselves involved in an ‘Ideas Economy’ where the focus has turned mainly into the concepts themselves. Teasers, samples, and promotional products give shape to an identity in a much more immediate and effective manner than finalised, overly commercialised products.
And yes! There is a contradiction, but [today] water has lost somehow it’s ‘natural’ quality through the process of mineralisation and purification and has gained a much more technical aspect. It made sense to us that all the garments in this collection were made with technical fabrics.
The pieces are based off a direct relationship with the subject of water, from its aesthetics to its benefits and its handling.
LOGO: You teamed up with digital artist Claudia Mate for your last site – she built a virtual Internet Cafe to showcase your work. How did you get involved with her?
WELLNESS: We are all from Madrid and have lots of friends in common. We loved her work; she has a very well constructed understanding on where she stands, which gives a comforting security to her aesthetic. Working with her has been great; we proposed several ideas but wanted to give her the freedom to bring forward what she does best. In the near future, we will be probably doing at least one more site with her, which we are looking forward to.
WELLNESS: We shot a preview with of both the Dubai Water and Salud Wellness collections with an amazing local photographer called Victoria Rosa Florez-Estrada and video director Guillermo Mendo (Rockem’ Films).
For this shoot, we choose a mall in the outskirts of Madrid which referenced the Dubai Mall imagery and the location for several beauty and spa centres. Through a common friend we got in contact with kefta boys flush gang and pxxr gvng members… they are probably the most interesting thing that has happened in Spanish rap in a very long time. After watching lots of YouTube and hanging out, we found a lot of shared interests and aesthetics, which made everything run perfectly.
LOGO: You were formally known as Yuppie Yps – what prompted you to change to Wellness? (Name aside, did it reflect the start of a new direction for the project?)
WELLNESS: When we started Yuppie Yps, we thought of it more like a studio that did graphic design, art direction and fashion. Now, we want to compartmentalise, or at least not work everything under the same name. We perceived that Wellness was a much more ample term where we could feel freer to work. The initial collections will now fall under Wellness, but the direction of the project mostly the same. We still have to decide how to organise our other work.
LOGO: You guys are based in Madrid – tell us a bit about what it’s like working from there in terms of a scene?
WELLNESS: There is definitively an interesting scene happening here; local brands are showcasing much more internationally. It’s worth looking up Claudia Mate, Pascal Moscheni, Victoria Rosa Florez-Estrada, Ponytale Magazine, Pxxr Gvng, Abrahamsson and Guillermo Mendo.
LOGO: I love the vibe of the Wellness Instagram. Does the clean, concise aesthetic you use on there inform your brand at all?
WELLNESS: Thanks! Yes of course, Instagram is probably the tool we use the most, As far as networking opportunities its been great; through the brand’s and our personal ones (@hip___hop + @eurostar__ ) we have met lots of interesting people – including LOGO’s Creative Director William E. Wright! We are currently planning some projects involving music, video, and photo with people we have met on there. We also recently collaborated with Caleb Forrester (aka water_wurld) (who has a great feed) in order promote our Dubai Water caps. We would like this type of collaborations to continue – we can also promote the feeds that we enjoy.
LOGO: And finally – what have you guys got coming up with the Wellness brand right now? Can you drop any hints about your next collection…?
WELLNESS: We have just broadened all of our previous collections focusing more on womenswear-oriented pieces and developing our Salud Wellness collection. We will be shooting a second part of this collection soon, and releasing some web-based projects regarding Dubai Water.
Words: Char McManus
Photography by Victoria Rosa Florez-Estrada
Video directed by Guillermo Mendo (Rockem’ Films)
FeaturingYung Beef & Khaled.
Concept Development by Wellness