Juan Carlos Garcia, Pilar Sanchez
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