Maruxa picked up some fabric to make herself a red coat. Suddenly, her face lit up with the anticipation of returning to her sewing machine and creating what she had spent some time thinking about. We were at Charo’s house. Charo was a woman who changed my life, and whom I met in 1999 when a group of Galician designers had called me to play during a Gaudí Fashion Week devoted to Galician fashion. In my life, there was a before and an after meeting Charo, a force of nature who for years made a difference with her fashion collections. Her brand disappeared some time ago, but the passion she felt towards her profession has always inspired me. Charo worked day and night to achieve the designs she dreamt about.
This morning, I awoke at four in the morning, and because I could not sleep, I decided to call my mother. Because of the time difference, I thought she would be at lunch, but Maruxa said, «I have to look for patterns in a magazine to start on this winter’s coat.» Then, she began to say that she didn’t really like sewing: «Look, Cris, with four daughters and dresses costing 11,000 pesetas, I either sewed or we had no way to dress you girls well.» And I had always thought that sewing was my mother’s creative life, the thing that made her happy. But it wasn’t her passion—it was sheer survival! Those were not times of disposable clothing; those were times to make long-lasting clothes, and when they could no longer be of service, the fabric would be repurposed to make another article of clothing. This was the economy of survival.
But it’s different today. She wants to create something for herself: a cheerful red coat for winter. She wants to make something useful and creative with her time. And in the middle of our conversation, I sensed her enthusiasm, and I was moved, thinking about the incredible difference existing between «having to do» and «wanting to do.»