***209 Mare Co-Founder and Creative Director Federico Uribe talks about how he came up with the concept for 209 Mare and the iconic 209 Beach Blazer as well as why today, the 20th of September, is such an important date not only for him, but for 209 Mare as well.***
The 20th of September is a very special date for me personally. On this date in 2015, (20.9) hence the name 209 Mare, I fell from the third story of a building while finishing my MBA at IE University in Madrid. Landing on bare concrete, survival chances were slim. Nonetheless, I vowed to use this as an opportunity to pursue a dream: starting my own fashion label.
The problem was that I did not have a clear idea on what it was that I wanted to do, most products in the fashion world already exist, making it very hard to be innovative. It was only during a trip to Chile, while sitting at the beach on a chilly evening, that the idea of a Beach Blazer came about. One of my friends mentioned that bathrobes at five star hotels tend to be quite shit to be honest at which point, it went DING DING DING inside my head and I realized – why not take the shape and functionality of a bathrobe, with its waist belt and toweling interior and create an inconspicuous elegant blazer that brings functionality and glamour back to the beaches and yachts of the Mediterranean. Essentially, a BATHrobe is made for bathing as the name suggests, but people used it to walk around their house mostly. So I thought to myself- “Let’s put the bathrobe on the street in the form of a Beach Blazer and repackage the idea as a gentleman´s summer essential.”
In the next year (2016), I would design various prototypes and work on a business plan. When the time was right, I asked my highly capable and organized brother Gabriel to join me and help me start the business. After giving it much thought, he bought into the idea. Next thing we did was move to Monaco and begin scouring for fabric suppliers and manufacturers in Italy. We went to countless trade fairs and accumulated 30.000 kilometers on a brand-new car in less than six months. To be honest I don’t even know how Kyra (my dog which I had adopted in Colombia years back) put up with all of this.
Back in May 2016, we tested our first prototype at the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and we got an amazing response from the people, a sort of “WOW” effect, as they had never seen something like this. We made it a goal to launch a full collection at next year’s Monaco F1 Grand Prix at the very same beach club (Sunset Beach). Not only did we launch our Beach Blazer collection, but also a full range of men´s swim shorts.
Today is a proud day for 209 Mare and we celebrate our one year anniversary in style.