Born out of the enthusiastic vision of journalists Pilar Riaño and Christian De Angelis, Modaes.es is the leading economic and business magazine for Spain’s fashion industry. What started as a portal for the latest financial news in the fashion business has now become the main reference for professionals in the sector.
The powerhouse that is 32-year-old Pilar Riaño boldly (or some might say foolishly) launched Modaes.es with Christian de Angelis during the economic crisis in 2009. “I didn’t feel fear—it was more like vertigo,” she says now. “The bottom line was that every country where fashion was an important industry had an economic publication except Spain, so we decided to try our luck.”
Proud that Spanish fashion brands lead the global market in many instances, she is all too aware of how fickle customers can be, and how difficult it is for young designers to gain visibility. “Spain has a great deal of influence worldwide, but it’s a market with colossal competition. Spaniards are careful when it comes to spending, and fashion has been hit hard.” The imperative for young people trying to get fashion businesses off the ground, she says, is first of all “to have a good product that’s in tune with the consumer in a specific area: spectacular fabric, extravagant design, or a very attractive price—anything that makes you stand out.” Then bring in a management team of people who not only support creativity, but also understand business management, as well as knowing how to sell the brand.
A degree in Communication Sciences from Ramon Llull University stood her in good stead, and she joined Spanish economics newspaper Expansión in 2003 as Textiles Business Editor, before starting Modaes.es. She has now notched up an MBA in Business Fashion Management, and was given the Pedro Morill Award for Textile Journalism in 2009. But the defining moment in her career to date was being honored by Spain’s Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Energy with the National Award for Professionals in Communication from the Cultural Academy. The ceremony took place on June 6, hosted by Princess of Asturias, now Queen Letizia of Spain. It represents well-deserved recognition, and a milestone in her professional life.
So, where did this entrepreneurial spirit come from? “My family isn’t disposed to setting up businesses or being involved in the fashion industry. I never dreamed of having my own company—I just wanted to enjoy my profession. I think the energy comes from the commitment to the company that I and my partners, Cristina Mailan and Christian De Angelis, have.”
Work is a priority (“Relaxation? What’s that? Journalism is a profession that works 24/7”); besides, she has big plans for the future with her sights set on two goals. “The first challenge is expansion into Latin America for Modaes.es; the second is to write a book that will be tantalizing for anyone interested in the fashion industry.” So Pilar Riaño isn’t planning on taking her foot off the gas any time soon—all eyes on Latin America…