Ever since the day I was born in an industrial town on the coast north of Barcelona, I have been surrounded by the constant hum of sewing machines and a flurry of patterns. My parents owned and ran a prestigious textile factory, manufacturing for many world-renowned clothing brands. My siblings and I became accustomed to the constant pressure of production and nerve-wracking deadlines to meet. As I grew older I decided that the textile business was not for me, and I went into chemical engineering for a living.

It was my love of art that drew me back – particularly abstract art. I have always been fascinated by how powerful a simple brush-stroke can be – its peculiar energy and movement, the shape, weight, texture and contrast – they all speak for themselves. So I began to experiment with designs, and consider how I could interest people in them. I don’t believe in art being locked behind closed doors, I like to think of it moving out in the open, on the street. And so I thought of displaying it on t-shirts, the very ones my parents made. I invited artists to collaborate on my project and that’s how in 1986 the company Pou Nou was born.

But that was just the start. We had a range of special t-shirts and they needed to be shown off in equally special surroundings. So, along with the help of Carlos, a sculptor, we designed the display furniture for our clients’ shops. My sister Maria Teresa, a textile designer, came up with some innovative patterns that varied with the traditional t-shirt structure. And then we launched a range of clothes made from natural fabrics to go with our t-shirts. We found more artists who were happy to see their designs on our clothing, and it is thanks to them and many other colleagues that our products can be found in over a hundred shops both in Spain and in other European countries.

Our company is based in Menorca, in the heart of the Mediterranean, and our designs are inspired by the island’s amazing elements – crystal-clear waters, magical beaches and wild olive trees shimmering as the tramontana wind caresses them.

Joan Carrés