This article is to give you a brief outline of the history of Custo Barcelona and what it's all about as a top fashion label. The article also covers the Custo shops in Barcelona that you should check out, and if shopping in Barcelona isn't enough, I have given a link to a review of the Custo Barcelona official website and its services so you can carry on the Custo fever when you are at home.
In the early 80's the brothers David and Custodio Dalmau set up their first fashion business, first with men's shirts and then with women's, gaining invaluable experience in this field. Later they went on a round the world bike trip and returned to Barcelona impressed and inspired by the Californian lifestyle and the bold and sometimes psychedelic surf wear they had seen there. It was from this that a few years on Custo was born. The business was started in 1996 when the brothers had realised that there was a niche in the market for bright, well-designed, funky T shirts, with the emphasis on creativity and individuality. At the time, minimalism was in fashion and the brothers were effectively taking quite a risk.
They showed their first collection at the 1997 New York fashion week and the business has never looked back. Syl Tang reporting from New York Fashion Week said of Custo "Flashy. Cool. The look is Faye Dunaway gone British urchin meets 1970's housecoat prints".
The bright colours and humorous graphics captured the attention of the US market and soon began what the press dubbed 'Customania'. The brothers had chosen the name Custo, purely because they thought it sounded slightly more exotic than David-Barcelona!
The firm went from strength to strength, renowned for its originality of design, and of course helped by celebrity endorsement from Julia Roberts, Penelope Cruz and the Backstreet Boys to name but a few. The clothes have also appeared in programs such as Friends and Sex and the City.
Custo now has some 3000 points of sale worldwide, including world famous stores such as SAKS NY. The line has had incredible success, with the international market accounting for almost 85% of company sales. It is rated as a top level designer brand, award-winning and internationally coveted, and with this in mind the retail prices are actually very reasonable.
However despite its availability worldwide Custo is after all a Barcelona bred brand, and because the shops cater for their locality and what sells best in their area, you will encounter different designs in each shop, making it worth while having a look round.
Whilst the line may have been inspired primarily by California, Barcelona has really taken Custo in as one of its own and is proud of being home to such a famous brand.
|Custo Barcelona shop window|
Custo Barcelona Flagship store:
Centre Comercial L'Illa Diagonal
Avenida Diagonal, 557
08029 Barcelona, España.
Tel: +34 93 322 2662
This store is on the ground floor and has a good range of both men's and women's clothes. It was here that I found some lovely bikinis too.
This is probably the busiest store, being just a few minutes walk from La Rambla which is convenient. It's spacious, and easy to spot with its massive toy snakes adorning the window.
Plade de Olles, 7
08003 Barcelona, España.
Tel: +34 93 268 7893
However whilst the Custo Barcelona.com website is easy to use, even for novice internet shoppers like me, there is nothing quite like actually going to a real bricks and mortar shop. I personally love being able to try things on and feel the material (the fact that the Custo shops are all designed well with benches for resting after a retail frenzy also helps). And there is no better place to do this than in Barcelona, where you can be sure of finding something new, and happy that you are shopping in the birthplace of Custo.
In fact such is its popularity here in Barcelona that you will find numerous shops selling clothes in a similar style, with colour and graphics. Out of these Paramita on La Rambla (just opposite Liceu metro stop) which is just for women, Desigual (Passeig De Gràcia , 47, Metro: Passeig de Gràcia (Green Line, L3) which has been called Custo's "happy, cheaper little brother" are the best. However none of them match the original in quality and design. Your trip to Barcelona just wouldn't be complete without a little look in at one of Barcelona's most famous fashion export.
This article could be called Custo for beginners, now you have the background and the necessary knowledge to shop, go forth and enjoy.