Clemente Cebrián Mosquera has been a resident of Madrigal de la Vera since 2015, the same year in which L Capital, an investment group of the LVMH group, bought 49% of his company El Ganso. The fashion brand was already born in 2005, when Clemente and his brother Álvaro decided to set up the company without really knowing what they were getting themselves into. “We made a business plan, presented it to the Young Entrepreneurs Association and they gave us a loan of €21,000 for five years. We sold a motorcycle and a car that we had and raised another €32,000. That is the investment with which we started El Ganso,” Clemente remarks humorously, but without irony.
The two brothers were used to having to find their way in the world, visiting London in the summers of their college years to learn English while doing all kinds of jobs. There they discovered London fashion, so different from that of Spain and much more varied. “When we went out in Madrid at night, we saw that everyone was dressing the same way, with the same brands, the same style, and that’s when we realized there was an opportunity,” recalls Clemente. The brand name (El Ganso means The Goose) grew out of the stylish yet fun concept behind the brand. “The goose is a stylish and elegant animal. The fun part comes from my grandmother Carmen, who used to tell us when we were little that we were “gansos” because we were naughty.”
The initial success of the company was the result of a combination of luck and hard work: from convincing a Swedish distributor that their fall/winter collection was in fact a collection designed “for the Scandinavian spring” when they actually presented the wrong collection at the Bread & Butter fair in Berlin (the distributor ended up buying the complete collection from them!), to getting on the sneaker bandwagon at the right moment just when the trend exploded in Madrid and around the world. Thanks to a chance meeting in Budapest with Jeremy Stanford, a man who sold shoes of the Czechoslovak army of the 50s, the signature on all the brand’s shoes, “Jeremy Stanford for El Ganso” ended up giving the brand its definitive push, and without Mr. Stanford having designed a single shoe in his life.
“I think that many brands are guilty of “greenwashing“, but nobody proves anything, so we want to create a more credible project.“
Recently, the brand’s goals have changed. In 2018 the brothers Cebrián regained ownership of the company and since then the project is based on three pillars: sustainability, innovation and traceability. “I think that many brands are guilty of “greenwashing” (selling a sustainable image without changing harmful production processes), but nobody proves anything, so we want to create a more credible project. Fashion has changed and there are new paths that form real opportunities,” says Clemente, whose environmental awareness extends to La Vera de Gredos. He and his wife Rocío got to know the area on an anniversary trip and ended up fulfilling their dream of owning a house in the middle of Extremadura, which they visit as much as possible. “I wish I could spend more time here, but now I can’t afford to. Tt is my dream to be able to, it would be great,” assures Clemente for the future.
A great fan of hiking, Clemente knows the routes in the area well and, together with a Candeleda guide, organizes hikes up to the Almanzor peak. He also enjoys village life. “Rocío tells me that I am always sponsoring people. I love talking to everyone, even to the village priest,” he says amusedly.
However, there is one thing about the area that saddens him: “When I go out for a run or for a walk, I pick up papers and garbage that I come across and it’s tremendous because I arrive at the first garbage can loaded. People leave a mess at the rock pools… This is a real shame. I hope that people will be more aware of the paradise we live in here, and take better care if it, also in terms of education, respect and appreciation for the nature and the crafts of the area,” reflects Clemente.
“I would like to create a center for generating ideas about where things are going, where retail and other sectors are going. With people from all walks of life giving their perspective and their ideas, taking people out of Madrid or other big cities. And I think La Vera is the perfect place for these kinds of meetings.”
However, Clemente is optimistic and his entrepreneurial spirit does not allow him to sit idly. “I believe a lot in creativity, entrepreneurship and in finding new ways of doing things. At our house I would like to organize events like they do in France or Italy: bring people here every month and a half or two months, for three or four days, not just those who are in the fashion world, but also an architect, a systems specialist, a hotelier … To create a center for generating ideas about where things are going, where retail and other sectors are going. With people from all walks of life giving their perspective and their ideas. To create a hub by taking those people out of Madrid or other big cities. And I think La Vera is the perfect place for these kinds of meetings.” The project was left in the air due to the pandemic, but Clemente hopes to show both locals and people outside the area that “it has an enormous potential, but lacks the organizational skills and needs to value its potential and learn to take advantage of it.”
Clemente Cebrián’s Favorite Places en La Vera:
The El Raso area: for walks, the road of the Castro Celta and the rock pools higher up.
Carnicería 4 Caminos: the butcher is amazing, and they have everything.
Calle Cuatro Caminos, 1a, 10480 Madrigal de la Vera, Cáceres
Vera Dulce Vera: small bakery with home-baked gluten-free products.
Calle los Castaños, 20, 10470 Villanueva de la Vera, Cáceres. 927 56 70 17
Maille Hotel Rural: restaurant with a great terrace.
Calle Garganta de Alardos, 7, 10480 Madrigal de la Vera, Cáceres. 659 13 93 28
Restaurant WDV: they have incredible ribs here.
Ctra. Oropesa, 1, 10480 Madrigal de la Vera, Cáceres. 629 14 37 70
Restaurant of the Club de Golf de Candeleda: Fernando’s paella is to die for.
Carretera del Pantano, S/N, 05480 Candeleda, Ávila. 920 38 07 59