Marga and Jacobo at their studio
Masscob was created after a chance meeting brought together two creative spirits from the same small town in Spain. Marga Massanet and Jacobo Cobián quickly realized how well they complemented each other, as evident in the delicate balance of contrasts they bring to their label—masculine and feminine, modern and nostalgic, understated and distinctive.
Over the years, the designers, who are also a couple, have taken a quiet approach to promoting the brand, choosing to let the nuances of their timeless, high-quality garments speak for themselves. In return, they’ve earned a cult following of women who appreciate the fact that simple can be special and who are drawn to their soulful approach to each collection.
How did you two meet?
Marga: We met coincidentally on a flight back to our hometown, La Coruña[Spain]. Although it’s a very small city and we had many friends in common, we didn’t know each other. That was 13 years ago now, and since then we have created Masscob, as well as forming a family with two children. The name Masscob was created through merging the beginning of both our surnames together.
Tell us about the path to launching Masscob in 2003.
Jacobo: By pure coincidence, we both chose the same academic path and studied law. Somehow, we knew that we both wanted a different future and that our creative curiosity would never be satisfied by a career in law. When the moment came, we both chose to chase our dreams and our instincts, which were already cultivated.
M: Ever since I was little, I was always drawn to the world of fashion. My mother helped me form this interest, and I grew up surrounded by fashion magazines and fabrics bought on trips. I lovingly remember enjoying spending long afternoons with my mother creating our own designs.
J: I have been greatly influenced by my time spent living in Los Angeles, where I was trained as a photographer. Living in L.A. inspired me creatively, shaping the way I view fashion and style.
M: Masscob is a shared project, which represents us and what we believe in together.
How would you describe the mission or ethos of the brand?
J: Quality is key to Masscob. We do not place importance in the volume of our business, but in the result of a job well done.
M: It's about reviving and respecting artisanal values and trying to adapt new technologies to these values, not the other way around.
Tell us about La Coruña. What kind of town is it? How does it inspire and influence you as designers?
M: La Coruña is a beautiful small city in the north of Spain on the Atlantic coast. It is a city proud of its traditions, family-oriented,
and surrounded by an attractive coastline with the most stunning beaches.
J: It is a comfortable city, which allows us to live a great quality of life where we can balance both our professional and personal
lives and be close with nature and to the sea, our main creative influences. Many of our factories are close by, and that's also
helpful in our day-to-day work.
Who is the Masscob woman? Do you design with specific women in mind, or is it an idea of a woman?
M: We like to design clothes that reflect our personality, who we are and what we like. Masscob is for a woman who likes natural
beauty and is passionate about a variety of colors and shapes that complement her femininity and style. She is a lover of tailored
pieces combined with more relaxed silhouettes.
J: We love women to feel something different when they wear Masscob. It's a matter of feeling simple and elegant—away from
the dictated fashion boundaries. We don't really have an icon, but there are many women who we feel close to. We like women that
appreciate the work behind every item we create.
Jacobo, you shoot so many of your the campaigns yourselves. Do you start to envision the campaign as you’re designing or does that
J: We always begin to work on the campaign only once the collection has been finalized. During the creation process, we may begin to envision some ideas for the campaign, and then it becomes clear once we finish the collection for the season and know which looks and styles we want to include to represent the image of the brand. The art direction is achieved by combining the location, model, and stylist. I tend to work with a small team who know and understand the brand well, which always leads to a successful campaign.
How has the brand evolved over the years? How do you stay fresh and relevant?
M: We started with our atelier and have grown step-by-step according to the demand, and now work in between our atelier and factory. It has been hard work as we have grown quickly over the years, and having a strong team is key. It may seem disorganized at times as we try to keep up with demand, but we have adapted well!
J: Our Masscob woman has also evolved over the years, she has matured and it has become clearer and clearer to us who she is.
M: We like to stay fresh by living in the moment, traveling, maintaining positive energy, and evolving constantly. We try to not lose sight of our passion and try to keep the same vision and ideas we had from the very beginning.
Photos Courtesy of Warm
Winnie Beattie and Tracy Feith have shared a love of vibrant prints, ‘70s surf culture, and dreamy imperfections long before they teamed up last year to launch Warm.
In the ‘90s, a young Winnie Beattie—a transplant from the Midwest who had come to the city to work in fashion—was walking through Nolita and became entranced by a “teeny closet of a store filled with vibrant clothes.” The store was the eponymous boutique of Tracy Feith, and the rest is history.
Winnie is chatting with us from her summer shack in Amagansett, where she’s holed up with her “surf-and-skate-obsessed family,” combining her vacation with work for the next Warm lookbook and designing the brand’s Pre-Fall collection with Tracy, who will fly over from L.A. to join the working holiday next week. West Coast to East Coast, city to beach—it’s all part of the lifestyle that Warm is built around. And to illustrate this sensibility, Winnie is taking us back to where it began on the corner of Mott and Houston.
WARM Georgette Canyon Club Dress
“I stood on the corner at a payphone and called 4-1-1 to get the store’s number,” reminisces Winnie about that fateful day. “I called, and Tracy himself answered. I said, ‘Hi, I just discovered your store and am standing about 100 yards away. I’m obsessed with you and have to work for you!’ He said, ‘It’s just me and my girlfriend, but we want to hire someone.” Without putting me on hold, he literally yells, ‘Hey Susan, want to hire somebody? There’s a girl on the phone who loves our clothes, and she’s around the corner.’ I went in right then and sat on the floor with Tracy and Susan [his then girlfriend and business partner], and I told them I had some art school and design experience but that I would do anything. They hired me on the spot!”
Over the next few years, Winnie did everything from design to production—“that exposure was priceless”—and discovered that she had a knack for PR. “I was so obsessed with what Tracy was doing and baffled that bigger designers were knocking him off! I would walk down the street in a Tracy Feith dress, and girls would literally try to buy it off my back. It was very easy for me to help let the world know about his talent.” Eventually, Winnie left the company to pursue her PR career, and the two remained friends.
WARM Floral Petite Maison Dress
When Winnie decided to launch a line to share the name with Warm, the Nolita boutique she opened in 2012 with her husband Rob Magnotta, she knew exactly who to call on. “I certainly understand the vibe, direction, and the Warm girl, but when it comes to bringing that to life, I needed a formally trained design partner, and it needed to be Tracy. It’s our sensibility together that makes it so strong,” explains Winnie. “Warm is different than Tracy Feith was, but there’s still that strong emphasis on prints, color, and ease of wear.”
When describing Warm, Tracy and Winnie often reference an idea of a dream girl. “We both gravitate toward a girl that is natural and easy in her sensibility, a bit earthy even,” Tracy tells us. “We love women who are unfussy and confident in they way they look and dress—who have an underlying sense of cool with subtle nods to skate, surf, music, and decades past.” Winnie adds that she’s, “perfectly imperfect—maybe she doesn’t always wash her hair, and her toenails may be chipped from skateboarding.”
WARM Chiffon Hostess Maxi Dress
That being said, the beauty of Warm is that it works as well over a wet bathing suit with unruly hair as it does at a fancy Hamptons wedding, and versatile dresses are at the core. “I always love a girl in a great dress,” admits Tracy. “We’re driven by color and prints and the surprise mixing-in of trims, texture, and fabrics. I’ve always been known for mixing colors and fabrics in an unusual and surprising way, and that signature is still at the heart of Warm.”
WARM Peasant Woods Wide-Leg Jumpsuit
Inspiration for the Fall ’16 collection came from a Big Sur road trip Winnie took with her husband. “We were so enamored with the natural, rough beauty of that area, so this collection is really dedicated to the central Californian coast in the winter,” she explains—adding that when she and Tracy were designing, they also asked themselves a very important question: “What would people have worn to dinner at Joni Mitchell’s house in Laurel Canyon?” Warm’s answer: rich velvets, shearlings, multi-colored florals, and ethereal silks.
It’s been 20 years since the heyday of Tracy’s stand-alone brand, but Warm is living proof that his vision is as relevant today as ever. Along with Winnie, he’s continuing to make a reality of his his nostalgic, unfussy dream girls. “The Tracy Feith woman has gone on and matured, but she still very much exists,” says Winnie, herself living proof.