Mateo Gargallo makes jewelry for the childish wonder in everyone. The Barcelona designer, originally from the coastal province of Castellón, makes necklaces sparkling with joy from whimsical charms and strands of pearls twisted into delicate blooms, creations that capture an energetic and youthful naivety. These are accessories that are unmistakably and unpretentious cute.
Gargallo launched his brand, Mateu-lo, as a way to unite his various creative projects (he also designs clothes) under one umbrella. “Creating things is a longing for me… I realized that at some point in my life, I had to focus all this energy in one direction and live from it in one way or another,” he explains. -he. Citing manga and anime costumes – especially those from CLAMP – as his entry point into fashion, Gargallo works primarily with recycled and unused beads from local thrift stores and businesses. “Sourcing the materials is as important a part of the process as the creation itself,” he notes, adding that many of his ideas come from the thrill of the hunt. Beads also hold sentimental value to Gargallo, who began using the medium as a child, embroidering fabrics thrown on sweaters. “I would say that I am attracted [to] nostalgia, ”he says.
When asked what inspires his designs, Gargallo gives a simple and endearing response: “I know it’s going to sound out of date, but it does,” he admits. “I find myself really inspired after a trip … by visiting historic places, museums full of handcrafted pieces or just the clothes of the people around me”, he adds, thinking that the wonder of the discovery pushes him to see everyday life from an outside point of view. “[I try] to keep a naïve point of view on the world, feeling motivated by the things that still turn me on like I’m a child, ”Gargallo expresses.
Although it is a relatively young brand, Mateu-lo has attracted the interest of collaborators and resellers. Gargallo has partnered with another Barcelona-based brand, Dominnico, on its latest collection, ‘Omega’, and plans to continue working with Maria Bernad’s sustainable retail platform, Les Fleurs Studio, to launch drops of jewelry. In the longer term, he will launch a first capsule collection which includes bags and clothing. In the meantime, Gargallo’s colorful creations will continue to transport us to a simpler time – a welcome respite from the pandemic. After all, what is fashion if not a form of escape?