Entertainment » Fine Arts

'12:05': Introducing Designer Javier Echenique's Ptown-inspired Clothing Line

by Robert Nesti
EDGE National Arts & Entertainment Editor
Tuesday Aug 22, 2017

The first time I saw Javier Echenique was at the closing party of the Film Festival in Provincetown last summer. It wasn't, though, just his sexy good looks that caught my eye (yes, he's pretty hot), but it was what he was wearing -- a black-and-white cotton shirt with an intricate design of interlocking pattern comprised of eyes. It suggested the surreal world of Salvadore Dali, but with a sense of animated fun. A short time later he told me it was one of his own designs -- one that he had just started to market.

It turns out that fashion design is just one of Echenique's talents. In a career that has taken him to three continents, he has been a marketing director in Lisbon, an interior designer in Buenos Aires and here in the United States, an artist, interior designer and entrepreneur; and now a fashion designer with his own line he named "12:05."

His father's influence

That name comes from a very personal place: it refers to the moment of his birth on the Fourth of July. "I was born in Madrid to a family of artists," he explained recently. "My mother was a piano teacher, and my father one of the founders of modern radio and television in Spain. He was also a talented painter. My grandfather, Angel Echenique Pardo, was Secretary General at El Prado Museum in Madrid so I think that having breathed that atmosphere since my birth has made me develop several fields in the arts."

"12:05" is just one of the topics Echenique addressed in this Q&A interview.

EDGE: You have mentioned in the past about what a pivotal figure your father was in your life. Could you speak about him a bit?

Javier Echenique: My father was an outstanding man. He was one of the founders of modern Radio and TV in Spain. The first to take a mobile unit through the streets of Madrid with a live contest. He was responsible for broadcast live from Buckingham Palace the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II for all Spanish-speaking countries. He also won several prizes in the Italian RAI. From his radio programs came many names known in Spanish and international music as Julio Iglesias, Raphael, Marifé de Triana, Rocio Jurado, Rocio Dúrcal...

He interviewed characters as charismatic as Alexander Fleming (discoverer of penicillin and Nobel Prize), Sofia Loren, Rita Hayworth, Charles Aznavour, Josephine Baker, John Wayne, Samuel Bronston, Picasso, Miró, Dalí, Stanley Kubrick, Alfredo Kraus, Placido Domingo, Mario Moreno Cantinflas, Lola Flores, Antonio Banderas... He also had great recognition as an artist. He played several instruments, spoke several languages, professor of art history, journalist, announcer, inventor, TV presenter, book illustrator, he was a very traveled, elegant and refined person.

Career change

EDGE: What inspires you?

Javier Echenique: I am inspired by nature and the human form, light, color and movement, by people's journeys and stories. By combining them with my own experiences and cultural background, I create unique storytelling pieces. From my emotions and passions, from observing and studying people, by my inner-me, my mood, and the moment of the day. It's therapeutic and it's just my way of releasing my creative spirit. From unjust causes, romance...

EDGE: Earlier in your career in Lisbon, Portugal, you worked in advertising as a marketing director, then moved onto interior design. Why the change?

Javier Echenique: I have always been fascinated with advertising and marketing, so I studied it in Madrid and graduated with a degree in that field.
But the corporate world is much more rigid and aggressive than the arts. When I lived in Lisbon I studied design. I decorated my ex-husband's beginning-of-the century house. When I finished it, people liked the result very much. Then I decorated the house of his sister in Cascais, until I was called to design the office of the president of Ericsson in Portugal. Next was a hotel boutique, and so a series of contacts and new clients happened. Living in Lisbon I opened a cafe/restaurant with most of the furniture, uniforms, lamps, wallpaper, menus designed by me. I realized that I enjoyed designing and decorating a lot more than being in meetings with other corporate executives.

What's "12:05"?

EDGE: Was it difficult moving from a secure position working in a corporate environment to becoming your own boss?

Javier Echenique: The first year in Lisbon after I left the corporate world was very hard. I no longer had a salary or other compensation assured, so I had to find clients. And had many negative thoughts, disappointments and apathy. When I was starting to become known as a designer a few years later, my marriage came to an end. Then I felt a very powerful special call to move to Buenos Aires, although I had never been there. From Madrid I bought a one way ticket and without knowing anyone, and started the Argentine adventure. That's where my career as an interior designer took off with more than a dozen publications of my projects in national journals, decoration and design magazines. The total recognition was when D&D, one of the most prestigious magazines of design and decoration of South America, chose my Art Deco house of Palermo Soho for the cover of the magazine. From that time on, everything changed.

EDGE: Why is did you name your clothing line "12:05?"

Javier Echenique: "12:05" is the time of my birth on July 4. It is also the time where a couple of years ago I had an unforgettable connection also on July 4th and at 12:05 with someone very special who was the one who inspired me to create the Cape Cod collection.

Inspired by Provincetown

EDGE: I remember the first time I saw you, you were wearing one of your designs - a white shirt covered with abstracted eyes, which has become the signature of your style. Why that particular design?

Javier Echenique: Since I was a child I began drawing eyes and oval forms, my schoolbooks are full of them. With time this inspired me to incorporate the oval symbol to my designs and ended becoming company logo. It is a spiritual shape, as the third eye -- something magical and appealing as the pupils of a cat are. What strikes me the most of any being are their eyes. The first oil picture I ever painted were four powerful eyes. After years of using the logo I registered it in the US and incorporated it in the design of clothing, jewelry, wallpaper, lamps, accessories, paintings, and in a variety of objects...

EDGE: You have spent the last year preparing your clothing line. How is that going?

Javier Echenique: The first time I was in Ptown changed my life. When I returned to Florida after that first time I started to open closets and paint my own clothes by hand. My friends and other people started to get interested. In September I returned to Ptown to study a painting workshop at PAAM. Every day I was wearing something I had painted by hand and it was such a success that I decided to do production. It has been a hard year of responsibilities in a world where I just had experience, I'm learning a lot. The production is ready and available in several selected stores.

EDGE: And what does it consist of?

Javier Echenique: The collection is inspired by Provincetown and the beauty of Cape Cod. It is a small summer collection consisting of the Ptown Hoodie, the Nantucket Shorts, the Chatham Polo, the Truro T and the MV tank. All a tribute to this charming corner of the world. All available in several colors and different sizes.

Bohemian spirit

EDGE: I think you have said that you are inspired by the bohemian spirit of Provincetown. Can you elaborate?

Javier Echenique: Provincetown has something to hook you up, as you well know it is a very energetic and special place. Maybe because we are at the epicenter of the spiral. Never before had I known a place where the sense of artistic community is as deeply rooted as here. And that's what made me decide to sell my house in South Florida and move here for summers.

I feel very fortunate with all the artist friends I have here and who have offered me their hand from the first moment. It is very inspiring and I rarely hear a negative comment about another artist or resident of the city. There is great respect and spirit of help among all.

EDGE: What is so special about Ptown for you?

Javier Echenique: It's pretty European, so that makes me feel closer to home. It is incredible that in such a small place there is so much cultural offering every day, it does not give us time to see everything that premieres. It is very comforting for culture and sensitivity.

EDGE: Where can someone find your clothing line. Online? Retail outlets?

Javier Echenique: In Provincetown the exclusivity is Henry & Company. It is also available online at the 1205 website and at Amazon.

His great passion

EDGE: In addition to interior design and your clothing line, you also paint. Where did this talent come from?

Javier Echenique: Probably because I grew up smelling oil in the studio of my father and my mother with the watercolors. Being alive my father I never dared to paint, only when he disappeared was when I began to express myself on a canvas. To date I have already done several painting exhibitions in Miami, Winwood, West Palm Beach and Bogota, Colombia.

EDGE: And how do you find the time?

Javier Echenique: That is the problem that I have many decisions to make daily and that prevents me from painting everything I would like because it is my great passion.

EDGE: Is your art available for sale?

Javier Echenique: Yes, on my website you can visit some of the architecture and decoration projects that I have done as well as the different styles of painting.The last series of paintings I made with sand mixed with acrylic and applied with spatula.

EDGE: What's next for you?

Javier Echenique: There is always something coming into my life, I can not stop creating. At the moment I am finishing re-designing a mid century house in West Pam Beach with regular customers. They just bought another adjacent property and want me to do the whole design. I just returned from New York City from the Capsule Fair at Javits Center, it has been my first men's fashion trade show and it has gone terrifically. A whole experience. I'm also involved in the next "12:05" collection that will be available in a few months as well in another interior design projects.

For more on Javier Echenique "12:05" collection or to learn more about his design and art work, visit the "12:05" website.

Robert Nesti can be reached at rnesti@edgemedianetwork.com.


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