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Designer Digest: Husband-and-Wife Teams

For these three couples in Elda, Spain, business and marriage go hand in hand.

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Juan Carlos Garcia and Pilar Sanchez

Photo By Courtesy Photo

Blueprint

Photo By Courtesy Photo




Juan Carlos Garcia, Pilar Sanchez

Line: Blueprint

Launch: 2003

Background: Juan Carlos Garcia worked for a high-end Spanish footwear designer while studying for a foreign commerce and marketing degree in Madrid. He went on to develop a business venture with designer Tim Slack for U.K. chain ASDA, creating a shoe line in Spain, which snowballed into footwear collaborations with British retailers Jigsaw and Pied a Terre. Eventually, he struck out on his own. Meanwhile, Garcia’s wife, Pilar Sanchez, helped launch Uterqüe, an accessories concept from Zara parent Inditex Group, before joining Blueprint a year-and-a-half ago.

Philosophy behind the line: The couple finds inspiration in graphic design, architecture and apparel, but mostly their concepts come from within. “We just follow our instincts,” Garcia said. Each season, they introduce a special palette of colors and treatments, while aiming for continuity so their customers immediately recognize Blueprint’s designs.

What are the challenges of working together? “It is difficult being a couple and sharing a business. Your emotions have to be in the right place,” Garcia said, adding that it is sometimes tricky to “distinguish the professional life from the private, especially when you have two children.”

What are the perks? “Pilar is my wife, partner, companion. We share everything — we are collaborators,” Garcia said. “We have a long history. We need each other.”

Are the designs influenced by the partnership? “Pilar feels more secure [in her work]. I am more reflexive,” Garcia said. “But we have very similar points of view.” On the occasions when they disagree about concepts, if Sanchez is feeling more confident, Garcia said he usually is the one to bend.

Inspiration for fall ’09: The couple derives “good vibes” from designers including Chloé, Dior and Alexander McQueen, but ultimately, Garcia said, “inspiration is everything you live.” Key for fall are round toes, thick heels, booties and knee-high boots. Materials include snakeskin mixed with suede, lizard with metallics, cotton velvet and Italian baby calf.

Retail range: $200 to $375

Distribution: Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong; Baycrews in Japan; Orlando Schuhe in Berlin; Milliways in Hamburg; Madison in Los Angeles, My Room in Madrid

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