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Teresa Helbig: “Talent is knowing how to focus on what is important"

We spoke with the designer Teresa Helbig, author of Iberia’s new uniforms and one of the voices of the airline’s Talento a Bordo project

For you, what is important?

I have life and work priorities. Life priorities are family, friends, nature and culture. My work priorities are a job well done, sustainability and commitment to the planet, honesty with my clients, rigour in techniques of the trade, creativity, innovation...

At this stage of your career, do you feel the responsibility of passing all that on to those just starting out?

I consider my professional colleagues to be my peers, without considering their ages. There are young designers with overwhelming talent. I don’t think I’m an example of anything other than the advice I always give to students:  without working hard, you don’t get anything worthwhile.

In order to better understand success, should the behind-the-scenes – and the efforts required to reach it – be shown more?

Balenciaga gave only two interviews and, in one of them, he more or less said that it was not a good life. I think everyone learns from their own mistakes, and I’m the first to do this. But it’s better not to idealise professions.

In your case, how did you gain worldwide recognition?

With years of work, gradually, with stylists who saw our dresses on actresses. Later, we worked with professionals from the US who helped our presence there but, in the beginning, all we had was what I believe to be the be-all and end-all of fashion: a good product that stands alone.

What challenge is Spanish fashion currently facing?

A firm commitment to rigorous education.

We’ll soon see your new uniforms for Iberia. How did you approach this job?

For us, it has been a milestone in our career, and we’ve given the same attention and care as always. A bridal dress, a dinner jacket for an executive, a uniform for an aviation professional or a coat that a grandmother gives to her granddaughter... every garment and every end client is unique.

Is this the first time you’ve designed for men?

Yes, formally speaking, it’s the first time. I found the challenge fascinating. Our collections were inspired by men’s haute couture, which is related to tailored dressmaking.
It’s a challenge that we respected, but we know that, by putting our hearts into it and striving for perfection, good results are possible.