We sat down with María Clè Leal to talk about her latest collection and the inspiration behind it.

The Spanish designer was a part of the Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange Program which gives upcoming designers the opportunity to show their collection to international press.

María presented her designs at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam in July 2015 to a global audience.


1. We know that when you were a child you liked to experiment with fabrics and be creative, but when and how did you decided to become a designer?

When I was a child I love to play with fabrics and dress my dolls, I spent hours drawing figurines and I forgot the word time designing dresses. But I had no idea that would end up studying fashion and dedicate my live to that world, I wanted to study art but there were not a place left. It would have had to wait a year, so my alternative was to move to Madrid and enroll in design specializing in fashion. Surely it was not by chance.

2. When and how was MARIA CLÈ LEAL born?

The adventure began at the end of my studies, receiving the highest note of the best promo7on with my thesis on tex7le treatment, and my teachers encouraged me to create my brand and design my first collec7on.

3. Since your first collection in 2005 your brand has grown a lot and has appeared on prestigious fashion editorials like in Vogue Magazine. When did you realize that your brand is actually making it big and how did you feel about it?

The results are coming slowly and with a big effort. Fashion is like a long distance race, I will grow slowly. I frame short-term goals and try to fulfill them. I feel proud of myself, knowing that everything is done.

4. Among all your awards which was the most special one for you and why?

The award I value the most is the Mercedes Fashion Talent achieved with “Fragile” collec7on. Not only because of all the good things that is bringing me professionally, it was a very tough collec7on personally, I gave everything going through an extremely difficult 7me. I was delighted to win in every way.

5. In your catwalks you always try to integrate some artistic disciplines like live music or dance. Why do you decide to do that and what do you want to convey?

For me fashion is closely linked to other ar7s7c disciplines. I give the same importance to designs that music or staging. The collec7on is the result of the sum of all this, one thing does not make sense without the other. I don ́t conceive fashion as a trend, fashion must and can move the people.

6. We know that every collection has itʼs own inspiration but do you have some themes that you focus on, when creating?

The organic shapes and paGerns related to any element extracted from nature are always present in my collec7ons and increasingly intense.

7. You use Illustrations very often. Why do you think illustration is so important for you and your creativity?

Illustra7ons let me show on paper all my imaginary world, that I find one of my highest expressions of freedom. I forget the outside world to enter the mine. Drawing is my bubble.

8. Do you have a muse or who do you think would be an ideal Maria Cle Leal model?

My muse is that sensi7ve and delicate woman, who is able to feel my way to create. I do not put a face, but I show aItude and a way of understanding the world.

9. Do you have some icon brand or designer that you can say that is your reference?

I have many references in fashion because although it is contradictory fashion as it is, does not arouse much interest in me. I admire Josep Font for Del Pozo crea7ng that magical pieces and I like Sybilla’s technique. But my inspira7on comes more from other arts like pain7ng or photography, even life itself.

10. You were born in Madrid but you lived your teenager years on Vitoria- Gasteiz and they are really different. Do you think that both cities have

Surely having lived in the Basque Country has marked me in character and that inevitably must detach in my designs. I love designing winter because of the possibili7es and my favorite clothes are coats and wool sweaters. Basque Country is really cold and it rains oRen. But my clothes do not aGend to any 7me of the year, so I do not think my designs are subject to a par7cular style or anywhere.

11. What is your favourite thing about the fashion world and your least favourite one?

I have passion to create, experiment, draw and play with volumes, actually I love everything that people normally do not see, and what I don ́t like is the public exposure and superficiality that surrounds a world like this . I think that takes away a lot of credibility.