Meet the creators of Free Form Style: the inclusive brand that broke barriers during Fashion Week

With unwavering dedication, we tirelessly stitched and sewed, not pausing for a single moment until our collection came to fruition. When the time to present our pieces on the runway came, we felt immense pride and joy at what we had done.

  • 1 year ago
  • June 15, 2023
6 min read
Marina Verges is a fashion journalist, designer, and co-founder of Free Form Style, started in 2018 and launched in 2019 by both Marina and her cousin Carolina Asensio as an inclusive fashion brand. They were the first to showcase an inclusive fashion line during fashion week in Spain. Marina specialized in men’s fashion since 2001, in magazines such as Men’s Health, Código Único, Hombre de La Vanguardia.
Often, fashion is criticized for imposing nearly impossible beauty standards. Those who don’t fit into these archetypes or wish to dress differently from the masses know the struggle of finding clothing outside of the mainstream. This need has given rise to a series of brands that operate beyond the usual margins, known as inclusive fashion, and they fight each day to provide everyone with the opportunity to dress and live as they wish. These brands make no distinctions based on size, age, or sexual identity. However, inclusion goes beyond the customers themselves. These companies also offer employment opportunities to individuals facing difficulties in finding work.

BARCELONA, Spain — Nestled in the vibrant city of Mataró, Spain, our workshop hums with creativity and purpose at Free Form Style. My cousin Carolina Asensio and I founded the brand after her brother suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed. We tended to his every need. While his cognitive function remained intact, the rest of his body became compromised. Anxiety and fights with doctors and therapists consumed our lives. One day, we noticed his wardrobe consisted entirely of tracksuits. On his birthday, we resolved to find something more befitting. What started as a heartfelt decision, set our journey into motion.

Free Form Style remains woven into the fabric of our personal and familial history. As founders and cousins, Carolina and I share a bond that extends beyond business. It all started with a devastating event that shook our world. Today, we specialize in adapted, sustainable, high-quality clothing for countless people facing circumstances like Carolina’s brother.

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A gesture of love gave birth to a business venture 

The day we went birthday shopping, Carolina and I embarked on an odyssey. We ventured into every shop we could find and scoured the depths of the internet. We wanted to find something to reflect her brother’s inner world, something he would love. Everywhere we looked, the options left us disappointed. The fabrics and patterns failed to complement his unique needs, and the pants simply did not accommodate someone confined to a wheelchair. Undeterred, we purchased a pair of pants and set about transforming them entirely.

With meticulous care, we eliminated all pockets and replaced the traditional zipper with a Velcro closure. We added rubber on the back of the pants to prevent slipping when he moved in his wheelchair. These seemingly small details proved pivotal and offered him incredible comfort. As we worked, with sweat on our foreheads, we felt a jolt of electricity in the air. We became overwhelmed with excitement at the idea of making something he needed and would love.

Once we finished, with straps of fabric covering the floor, we rushed to his side. As if by magic, his face illuminated with a smile. Seeing his happiness touched us deeply. He looked dashing in his new pants, exuding a sense of confidence and contentment. In the midst of so much struggle, it gave us hope. During that transformative moment, the seed of an idea took root within us.

We wanted the world to recognize our efforts so our work could reach those in need 

Carolina and I launched Free Form Style and television exposure quickly propelled us forward. The first orders began to roll in. One day, a client asked for a pair of adapted pants for an individual who had metal parts going through his bones. The urgency of their situation allowed us to showcase our craft. We delivered a truly special garment, tailored to their unique needs. The shining star of Free Form Style, our collection, revolves around the multi-functional, full-opening, full-zip tailored pants. We understand no two individuals face the same challenges. Whether a person is in a wheelchair, utilizes a prosthetic limb, is in need of a feeding tube, or reliant on crutches, they each deserve clothing that caters to their unique circumstances.

While our main piece – the tailored pant – represents the epitome of our vision and purpose, every garment in our catalog remains accessible. Clients can go online and have the freedom to choose from pants, skirts, t-shirts, or capes; all of which are meticulously personalized to their specific requirements. In a quest for legitimacy, recognition, and to further or mission – we made an audacious move. We decided to take part in Fashion Week, an unprecedented feat in Spain.

Garments with such a groundbreaking purpose had never graced a runway at that level. To ensure we made an impact, we reached out to Manuel Bolaño, an exceptionally versatile designer in Barcelona. As we shared our vision, he immersed himself in our world, captivated by our ideas, and graciously accepted our invitation to collaborate. During our endeavor, we also sought the help of Gratacos, a renowned fabric brand from Barcelona. Their contribution further solidified our presence and our small workshop blossomed into a name synonymous with relentless craftsmanship.

Tensions ran high as we prepared to do our biggest show yet 

With unwavering dedication, we tirelessly stitched and sewed, not pausing for a single moment until our collection came to fruition. When the time to present our pieces on the runway came, we felt immense pride and joy at what we had done. We aimed to leave a mark on the fashion world forever. As we embarked on this journey, the response from the models resonated deeply within us. They embraced our cause wholeheartedly, recognizing the significance of standing hand in hand with us to make history. Their unwavering commitment to making noise and crafting fashion for all reverberated with passion.

Days before the show, a rehearsal brought together an intimate gathering of designers, dressmakers, and models. Emotions ran high as doubts crept into the minds of some models. They felt anxious about messing up somehow. The catwalk itself was a triple spectacle, with a winding route that led to the right, then back again, only to turn and repeat the process once more. It was during those routes that I walked alongside them, gazing into their eyes, holding a fragment of their personal history marked by rejection and bullying. In their strides, their movements, and the expressions etched upon their faces, I witnessed a transformation into empowered individuals. It was the unadulterated feeling of freedom.

As the moment arrived for the grand parade, an explosion of sensations engulfed the atmosphere. It felt as though glitter, transparencies, lights, love, flashes, tears of joy, and colors all merged into a magnificent tapestry. The pounding of my heart felt uncontrollable, threatening to burst from my chest. In those final moments, while sewing buttons, velcro, and magnets, everything aligned perfectly. We stood side by side – Carolina, Manuel, and I – as we bid farewell to the models. Their well-being and success were the only thing that mattered. 

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