Miguel Adrover Returns to the Fashion Scene – Provocative as Ever

For a guy who lives in a remote village with 700 residents on one of the Balearic Islands, Miguel Adrover seems to have a lasting allure for the world of fashion.

Twenty-five years after the Spanish designer first shook up New York Fashion Week with his mash-up of repurposed legacy logos, fine tailoring and streetwear, Adrover is ready to give the ground another shake with a one-off item that fittingly riffs on himself and the city of 8 million that he once called home. This time, though, Adrover didn’t hatch his idea from a crummy, overcrowded Lower East Side apartment — as he had in 1995 — but from the more serene 750-year-old farmhouse that six generations of his family have grown up in.

More from WWD

Having nearly 98,000 Instagram followers, including many young ones seeking products, nudged the 58-year-old back into design. Another push came from brands like Balenciaga and Gucci “appropriating” his (design) “language,” he claimed. His new baseball cap with an “MA” logo looks faintly reminiscent of the New York Yankees’ trademarked logo. After using a similar insignia for a sweatshirt in his fall 2000 collection, the Bronx-based Major League Baseball team sued him. Before any production was done, both parties reached a settlement, the designer said.

Miguel Adrover
Miguel Adrover’s new logo is Major League Baseball-inspired.

Common as baseball caps and sweatshirts are today on the runway, Adrover said that was not the case when he featured them all those years ago. Reintroducing that signature style is “somehow a little bit ironic,” said Adrover, who teased them in an Instagram post Thursday in advance of the rollout Saturday. And doubly so, considering that Gucci created a New York Yankees baseball hat, albeit one that was authorized, he said.

As the CFDA’s 2000 New Designer of the Year award winner, Adrover sold his collection to Bergdorf Goodman and other top-shelf retailers at one point. “The message that I was trying to get out was that the New York Yankees represented the city of New York, and I was a New York designer. I was trying to embrace all of these logos like ‘I❤️NY’ and McDonald’s. It wasn’t done to be something trendy, as it is being done at this moment. I thought it represented the power of style in a city like New York,” Adrover said, adding that even people in his tiny village wear Yankees caps.

Miguel Adrover was sued by Burberry after reimagining its designs in 2000.
Miguel Adrover was sued by Burberry after reimagining its designs in 2000.

Although Adrover still owns a bar on Mallorca that he subleases, he lives with his aging parents in the village to help care for them. As Adrover is no longer licensed to rent part of his home to tourists due to recent government restrictions on private residents’ short-term rentals, that was another incentive for selling the hats. Available in two sizes and without buckle closures, the hats have Adrover’s signature and handsewn labels and required an 18-month search to decide on a factory. They will retail for about $174, which he said is considerably less than the $434 Balenciaga baseball caps he saw for sale in Paris.

The designer teased his plans on Instagram.

In addition to working on his own photography and art, which is represented through a Paris gallery, Adrover was photographed for a Vivienne Westwood ad campaign earlier this year. Adrover routinely retreats down into an 11-and-a-half-foot well to work on his art. For his own campaign, he donned the hat and the litigious Yankees-inspired sweatshirt for a self-portrait. His decision to plunge back into fashion, or at least make a little splash, comes from wanting to express his environmentalism and social consciousness. The Instagram ad for the launch tongue-in-cheekily refers to “I❤️MyCustomers.”

He added, “You can see in my archives that a lot of my products are meant to last for life. I loved Lee McQueen. We were very good friends. But I cannot go back to McQueen’s collections and be able to wear anything in everyday life.”

Miguel Adrover, spring 2003
Miguel Adrover, spring 2003

Despite having “never been an ambitious person,” Adrover said he still has a position in the industry as someone who speaks out on timely issues. He criticized the Met Gala for “being a big circus that is totally disconnected from reality,” and no longer being a gala for “New York people of distinction and intellectual bohemians.” He said, “Outside of the Met, there were all these protesters for Palestine. My label is connected to reality. There are a lot of people out there who are looking for a brand that represents that kind of emotion and energy.”

Claiming to have been approached for roles at Donna Karan, Moschino, Lanvin and Tommy Hilfiger through the years, Adrover said he didn’t need to be “a creative servant for a big corporate brand.”

“Young people need to have their own platforms, spaces and society,” he said.

Noting how the fashion industry is a leading contributor to pollution — accounting for 10 percent of global carbon emissions — and its impact on climate change, Adrover said there needs to be more designers who care about these real things. “That doesn’t mean you have to be boring. I think I have a strong sense of humor. I need someone with money to knock on my door to say, ‘Miguel, we believe in you and in your message. We want to make it happen in a business.’”

Having been “considered toxic in this industry for so many years,” Adrover said, “I am not toxic. It’s the other way around.”

A piece by Miguel Adrover.
A piece by Miguel Adrover.

He is eager to see how his friend and former staffer Adrian Appiolaza fares as the new creative director at Moschino. Adrover is also a fan of Andreas Kronthaler, creative director at Vivienne Westwood, for his commitment to climate change and support of Julian Assange, [whom Adrover also has fought for in the name of protecting freedom of the press]. Adrover’s social media posts about “stopping the suffering of Palestinian people” in Gaza cost him “thousands” of followers and gained him “a few thousand new ones,” he said.

Of Jewish and Arab heritage, Adrover said he “supports peace everywhere.” Having received death threats, the designer said he has been scared. “But I am not racist. I am just a loving person. I just want people to love each other and to find solutions by talking it out,” Adrover said. “I don’t even have a religion. I just care about human beings.”

Looking ahead, Adrover said he expects to have a major fashion-related announcement in September. In the meantime, he has been surprised by the response to the hat, which he did not expect to be so important. As of Friday afternoon, the ad on Instagram had nearly 6,000 likes. “I’m a little overwhelmed because I am here on my own. But I am really happy. I’m like a kid in the countryside. It’s like starting again,” Adrover said. “What I want to come out of this baseball cap is being able to pay for my water, electricity and living expenses without having to take another job. But also I want to keep my creativity up, build upon my Instagram page and just be able to water my garden. Let’s see what happens.”

Best of WWD