We had the good fortune of connecting with Pau Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Pau, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Early 2021, I was working at a farm, and decided to make myself a pair of overalls to work in. I had been looking for something to wear that would reflect my personality, and I wanted to find a pair of loud, yellow overalls. There was a snowy week in which we couldn’t work, and a friend of mine who was a seamstress happened to be visiting me in Colorado. With her help, I made myself a pair of yellow overalls, that I fell in love with. I wore them to a party one day, and a friend of mine asked if I could make him a pair. I didn’t feel qualified, knowing those overalls were the very first thing I had ever sewn. But, quickly after, I reached out, asked him if he was serious, and bought a used machine. I made him a pair, and immediately his brother, his friend, friend of a friend, and strangers began to ask if I could sew them some overalls as well.

I was planning to move back to Spain for a photojournalism job, so I had already sold my car and signed a lease in the Canary Islands, south of Spain. A friend of mine, Mitch, was asking if I would continue sewing from overseas, and I said I probably wouldn’t be able to access upcycled materials in an island as easily. Mitch said, “what if I help you start a business, and that way you don’t have to stop?” The next day we toured an artist studio space by my house, and the money I had received from selling my car and belongings went straight into sewing machines, and the journey started.

I wanted to create clothing that people related to. Clothing that would be unique, opposite from the trend-following styles that reoccur in fashion nowadays; we go from 90s style to 70s style next year, but, what about the timeless clothing that never follows or sets trends? The kind of clothing that is so personal that it only speaks to you?

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I began photographing at a young age, inspired by my aunt, who is an incredibly successful photographer in Spain. I had moved to the United States at age 14 from Spain, and the language barrier frustrated me, in the way I couldn’t connect with others easily; I couldn’t form thoughtful sentences or ask provoking questions, I couldn’t be witty or funny, I couldn’t even try to be flirty! Visual expression in photography became an avenue in which language and translation did not exist, at least not in the same capacity.

Eventually, I started translating Beatles’ songs, that I would print at the library, and with a dictionary in hand. Then, I began watching films with subtitles, which led to an incredible obsession with filmmaking and screenwriting. I was attracted to the visual language of film, but I also wanted to know what it would be like to imagine it all instead of watching. I started printing screenplays at school, secretively, even though one time I accidentally printed the Titanic’s script to the main school office and got sent home. I would read the script, then watch the film, then vice versa with another. It became the best language-learning experience, because I wanted to write something beautiful, but I needed to learn the words to describe it all.

Eventually, I went to college to study Photography and Journalism, where I doubted myself a lot, knowing how tough and underpaid such careers can be. I knew I had what they called a good eye, but sometimes that isn’t enough. The poetry of visual composition became sort of, my religion. I was so devoted to it, I felt as if everything around me had room inside a photograph depending on how I’d see it and narrate it in the moment. Through this journey, I started finding so much joy in patterns and textures. Little did I know, that would come into play today.

When I started Atrevete, I felt like the design process was an explosion of life and color, and that it was only mine to harvest with complete freedom of expression. I would start putting patterns together, colors, textures; they would speak to me and flow out of my hands. I did not realize until later on, how much my previous love for screenwriting and photography had impacted my ability to design today; screenwriting, in the way that you imagine first, and as you start writing, just like designing, it becomes this dance, where you thought you were going to twist and turn in one direction, and it spontaneously takes you elsewhere as you begin to see it; with photography, the way in which composition speaks loudly, and it reflects on the overalls and pieces that we create – from the geometry and equal negative space, the layering of patterns and balancing of tones, the textures over textures, and the framing of it all.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hmm! I love itineraries. I would most likely take them to Gold Hill for live music, to our sewing studio for a good time, and to rollerblade a marathon in Washington Park in Denver.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There has been a long list of individuals that have shaped this journey in its form;

My friend Mathias Gruber, believed in me, as my very first customer, knowing that I had just begun sewing, and through him ordering a pair of overalls, he ignited the flame.

My friend Mitch Holdsworth, he not only sparked something I never imagined would happen in my life — starting a business! But, he helped me and guided me from the very beginning; with his experience having started businesses in the past, the most helpful part was his constant input on quality. Every time I would show him what I had made, he raised the bar, questioned everything about it, and was incredibly hard on me. If it wasn’t for him, the business wouldn’t be a clothing company, it would only be wearable art.

My photography professor, Stafford Smith; he taught me how to see, how to observe cautiously, how to put patterns and color together, and how to patiently steep my style and vision like a teabag in a mug that isn’t fully done developing even when we think it is. He raised the bar for me in a way that frustrated me during collage, and now I cannot thank him enough.

My friend Mia, who taught me how to sew. My mother for her boldness and encouragement to lean forward.

Website: www.upcycledandhandmade.com

Instagram: atreveteboulder

Image Credits
Andrew Labreck

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