Masscob was created after a chance meeting brought together two creative spirits from the same small town in Spain. Marga Massanet and Jacobo Cobián quickly realized how well they complemented each other, as evident in delicate balance of contrasts they bring to their label—masculine and feminine, modern and nostalgic, understated and distinctive.
Over the years, the designers, who are also a couple, have taken a quiet approach to promoting the brand, choosing to let the nuances of their timeless, high-quality garments speak for themselves. In return, they’ve earned a cult following of women who appreciate the fact that simple can be special and who are drawn to their soulful approach to each collection.
In an effort to get to know this inspiring brand better, we visited their atelier in La Coruña, a coastal Spanish town where each collection is conceptualized and created and that both designers call home. Read on to learn about their creative process, which leaves their fingerprints on each piece in the collection.
The Window: How did you two meet?
Marga: We met coincidentally on a flight back to our hometown, La Coruña [Spain]. Although it’s a very small city and we had many friends in common, we didn’t know each other. That was 13 years ago now, and since then we have created Masscob, as well as forming a family with two children. The name Masscob was created through merging the beginning of both our surnames together.
Tell us about the path to launching Masscob in 2003.
Jacobo: By pure coincidence, we both chose the same academic path and studied law. Somehow, we knew that we both wanted a different future and that our creative curiosity would never be satisfied by a career in law. When the moment came, we both chose to chase our dreams and our instincts, which were already cultivated.
M: Ever since I was little, I was always drawn to the world of fashion. My mother helped me form this interest, and I grew up surrounded by fashion magazines and fabrics bought on trips. I lovingly remember enjoying spending long afternoons with my mother creating our own designs.
J: I have been greatly influenced by my time spent living in Los Angeles, where I was trained as a photographer. Living in L.A. inspired me creatively, shaping the way I view fashion and style.
M: Masscob is a shared project, which represents us and what we believe in together.
How would you describe the mission or ethos of the brand?
J: Quality is key to Masscob. We do not place importance in the volume of our business, but in the result of a job well done.
M: It’s about reviving and respecting artisanal values and trying to adapt new technologies to these values, not the other way around.
Tell us about La Coruña. What kind of town is it? How does it inspire and influence you as designers?
M: La Coruña is a beautiful small city in the north of Spain on the Atlantic coast. It is a city proud of its traditions, family-oriented, and surrounded by an attractive coastline with the most stunning beaches.
J: It is a comfortable city, which allows us to live a great quality of life where we can balance both our professional and personal lives and be close with nature and to the sea, our main creative influences. Many of our factories are close by, and that’s also helpful in our day-to-day work.
Where else do you draw inspiration? Are there certain places or muses that are constant or is it always changing?
J: The inspiration can come from anywhere and anything—our travels, vintage pieces, a book, a simple photo, or watching women. We like to put things together in a mood board and from there create a story or let things form by themselves.
M: We are drawn to opposites, combining masculine or a boyish style with more feminine pieces. The ‘70s influence is always present in our collections, maybe because it is the time in which we were born and reminds us of many things from our childhood. The Spanish sun and our summers in Mallorca and Formentera are also reflected in the effortless and bohemian style of our collections.
Who is the Masscob woman? Do you design with specific women in mind, or is it an idea of a woman?
M: We like to design clothes that reflect our personality, who we are and what we like. Masscob is for a woman who likes natural beauty and is passionate about a variety of colors and shapes that complement her femininity and style. She is a lover of tailored pieces combined with more relaxed silhouettes.
J: We love women to feel something different when they wear Masscob. It’s a matter of feeling simple and elegant—away from the dictated fashion boundaries. We don’t really have an icon, but there are many women who we feel close to. We like women that appreciate the work behind every item we create.
Tell us about your workspace. How does it reflect Masscob?
M: We like to be surrounded by small details that inspire us and by what we’ve bought on our travels around the world, such as to Formentera, Marrakesh, India, and L.A.
J: It is also very important to have photography books close by. We like to draw inspiration from them as a point of interest in our collections. We rely heavily on our intuition at the point of designing our collection and we are not believers of following current trends.
How important is your environment to your creative process?
J: We like to work in our atelier in La Coruña. It is very important for us to be surrounded by the whole creative process, from the point of design to the formation of a pattern and the creation of the product. This whole process is what inspires us tremendously at the point of designing every collection.
M: We need to be in direct contact with the progression and it is what we most enjoy, when we see how the garment is being sewn and then see how the garment fits. We love this moment. We like to be fully involved together.
Jacobo, you shoot so many of your the campaigns yourselves. Do you start to envision the campaign as you’re designing or does that come after?
J: We always begin to work on the campaign only once the collection has been finalized. During the creation process, we may begin to envision some ideas for the campaign, and then it becomes clear once we finish the collection for the season and know which looks and styles we want to include to represent the image of the brand. The art direction is achieved by combining the location, model, and stylist. I tend to work with a small team who know and understand the brand well, which always leads to a successful campaign.
How has the brand evolved over the years? How do you stay fresh and relevant?
M: We started with our atelier and have grown step-by-step according to the demand, and now work in between our atelier and factory. It has been hard work as we have grown quickly over the years, and having a strong team is key. It may seem disorganized at times as we try to keep up with demand, but we have adapted well!
J: Our Masscob woman has also evolved over the years, she has matured and it has become clearer and clearer to us who she is.
M: We like to stay fresh by living in the moment, traveling, maintaining positive energy, and evolving constantly. We try to not lose sight of our passion and try to keep the same vision and ideas we had from the very beginning.