IFA Paris: Paloma, you travel between France, Spain and China, as a true citizen of the world with an atypical background, can you tell us a little more about your curriculum?
Paloma: My curriculum and career path are the result of my education, where I was taught to be inquisitive. My parents were doctors, they taught me to constantly question the evidence. For any scientist, there is no truth, there are only hypotheses. France is one life hypothesis, Spain is another. I had always wanted to discover new horizons, where everything was different. It is a viral choice because it is difficult to behave differently when you have tasted this way of life.
IFA Paris: How do we move from being a lawyer to being an architect, then finally to being a technologist? Did you already have an interest in new technologies or did some encounters influence your professional choices?
Paloma: I have a very special relationship with my hands, I have always worked with them! Being a flamenco dancer since the age of 2 years old, I love the sewing and dexterity that this discipline requires. Three years ago, I discovered a virtual reality software that made it possible to design on a scale of one, by moving your hands, by relying on movement, by using space. More than an obvious fact, technology has become my work tool, the extension of my hands, it is now an integral part of me.
IFA Paris: When you arrived in Paris, you joined Station F, what was the objective? Has this integration met your expectations?
Paloma: After 8 years in China (4 years in Beijing and 4 years in Shanghai), I came back to France about 1 year ago because I felt like passing on all these experiences I learnt there.
The choice of Station F was an obvious choice for two major reasons. The first was its’ environment, which was ideal for setting up my start-up there, the second, to which I was more sensitive, was to be able to stay in touch with the market I know best, that of China, thanks to the proposed Franco-Chinese incubation program.
Due to its’ diversity, Station F necessarily meets everyone’s expectations! It offers about 30 different incubation programs, simply choose the formula best suited to your project. All the developmental needs of start-ups are covered, and it hosts a wide range of activities ranging from spinal cord to beauty!
IFA Paris: IFA Paris, a transdisciplinary fashion school, now incorporates technology into its’ curriculum. On your side, between virtual dimension and music immersion, you propose another vision of design. In your opinion, is the reciprocity of the pleasure of working together based on common values?
Paloma: With IFA Paris I have a very beautiful story that started in Shanghai where I was already teaching at their Shanghai campus; it therefore seemed natural to me when I arrived in France, to come back to this team with the same spirit as mine to continue this mission. Multiculturalism, openness to others, sharing, choice of a different learning experiences… so many strong and common values; it is therefore with renewed pleasure, here in Paris, that I look forward to sharing my knowledge with the new international students.
Everyone arrives with his or her own realities, cultural backgrounds, differences, I myself am, through my personal journey, in this problematic of adaptation, it is an ideal exercise for all!
I have to adjust every time, I have to renew my way of making people discover and understand. I no longer pay attention to the culture, to mine, to that of others, but rather to the generation whom I address.
I work on materials that are familiar to them, they are knowledgeable content consumers, and for this reason, it is important to me to adapt my creations to my interlocutors so that they can remember them and especially use them.
IFA Paris: Your first collaboration with IFA Paris took place last year on the occasion of the virtual reality project led by our students of our Bachelor in Visual Merchandising for the brand “Lola James Harper”. How did this partnership with the school come about? What attracted you to this project?
Paloma: Last year’s experience with the Lola James Harper brand was born from a mutual friendship between the school’s management in Paris and the brand’s founder. Concerning IFA Paris, Jean-Baptiste Andreani, very receptive to my expectations, gave me the freedom to give visual merchandising courses as I perceived them.
I had difficulties projecting myself into a classical education where my experiences in scenography, window dressing or pop-up design would not bring anything to the students since physical merchandising without digital activation, without shareable immediacy, is now a thing of the past.
Our partner was extremely generous in terms of time and information, which allowed me to gently guide the students towards a new way of thinking because they had only known the physical dimension until then.
IFA Paris: With “TWF, The Future of Walking” you will be repeating the experience as of this January. Have you accepted this challenge for the same reasons?
Paloma: After last year’s perfume project, the TWF “The Future of Walking” will allow us to work ton shoes this year, that will be resolutely innovative in terms of content. This new challenge aims to educate students about the opportunities for innovation and opportunity that start-ups can offer by desacralizing major brands or luxury brands. We must be aware of the changes in the fashion sector, while considering that current and future jobs now revolve around these start-ups.
IFA Paris: During this 6-week seminar, TWF will bring together many experts in the sector; Innovation Design and Design Technology will be discussed, can you give us some insights as to the content of your presentation?
Paloma: Without being intrusive, I can explain how I proceed.
The project will start halfway through the module because, I have to pass on to the students the art of being disconnected from the product, the object or the real world. It is impossible to place yourself in a situation of innovation without being prepared for it. Once this phase is completed, it will then be possible to have a new spirit, ready to rethink the world of objects and the way they are shared.
IFA Paris: What do you expect from students and what would you like them to learn from this experience?
Paloma: I expect them to open up to modernity with an innovative vision. With these new considerations in mind, they will be able to be among the new fashion professionals who are constantly working to keep the sector’s innovations constant.
IFA Paris: Finally, what would be your own definition of the profession you work in?
Paloma: Without hesitation, creativity facilitator is my favorite definition! This is what I implement with my students, my collaborators, my friends, within my start-up… and in all the moments of my daily life!
IFA Paris: In your opinion, is fashion technology a fleeting trend or a phenomenon that will profoundly change the fashion industry?
Paloma: After the emergence of fashion tech, it continues to develop gradually and it is up to us professionals, to support it as best as we can in its growth, show it the way we can. Technology is not a fad, let us continue to choose what it will become…
Over the past 40 years or so, many gadgets have appeared on the market, these objects are devoid of meaning and features. On the other hand, we have an immediate close relationship with the cloth.
The available uses of connectivity and interaction must be in this contiguous relationship to satisfy the consumer; what better way than clothing and accessories to achieve this?