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Torrejón: «We have a pending subject in Argentina: the creation of a country brand that encompasses our creative and productive feats»

The editorial director of L'Officiel Argentina, Ana Torrejón, explains the key role that strategic planning has in the promotion and positioning of both the discipline and cultural production.

Devoted to journalism, image, and fashion for decades, Ana Torrejón has led the most important fashion publications in the country —Claudia, Elle Decoration, Elle Men, Elle Brides, and Harpers Bazaar Argentina, among others— and she is currently the editorial director of L' Officiel.

She also created the Dabbah Torrejón Contemporary Art gallery, while being a consultant for several brands and designers regionally and being the communications director of Hermès Argentina.

Renowned for her versatility and expertise in the fashion industry, she was chosen as one of the Argentinian Women in the L’Oreal exhibition and, in 2016, she received the Creative Woman Award.

In this occasion this expert, who also performs as a professor, participates in the “Expert Opinion” section of the Old&Newsletter January issue and shares her thoughts about the power of strategic thinking and the diverse tools available to develop all kinds of projects successfully.

–Can we rethink or redefine the meaning of design based on a strategy? And redefine strategies based on design’s perspective? Can either concept stand without the other?

– Answer: two yes and one no. The specialty I share with several work groups centers on 360-degree communication media and our mission is to integrate news to specific formats that result in reading and visual contracts. In such endeavors, our premise is that an idea is also typography, a silence is a blank on a page, illustration is text, and so on. It is an experience that goes hand in hand with marketing methodologies and publicity to enable the creation of functional messages akin to the topics we want to address, the object we want to position, and the perspective we back in our arguments. An efficient strategy fulfills its objective, appeals to the ideal niche, conveys clear concepts, and generates empathy, thus enabling interaction. Without a format, there is no niche; without a niche, there is no channel; if we fail to build a language, our opportunity will be lost.

–What cases, actors, products or elements related to Argentine and international culture embody an uplifting experience of that sort?

–We have a pending subject in Argentina: the creation of a country brand that encompasses our creative and productive feats. In that respect, I think we have not been able to match the impact created by countries like Brazil, Peru, Mexico, or Colombia. Reflecting about this matter I can think of successful instances, however we still have much to do. My proposal is a multidisciplinary approach centered on the 60’s and early 70’s. From Di Tella to The Pearl of Once; the confluence of music, literature, plastic arts, architecture, design, clothing, performances, and student activism: a historical period that has transcended, generated new habits, and aroused interests beyond our region. There is much within such a production factory to rescue and revalue in our current context. There is no present without a reinterpreted past.

–Has the bond between design and strategy changed throughout the XXI century as a result of new technologies and new ways of teaching, living, consuming, and interacting?

–Communication has never been so simple and yet so complex as it is today. All available platforms ensure a democratic access to information. The world is just a click away, however, it is presented as a diverse, lacking, unequal, and fragmented landscape. It is easy to make bubbles; the problem comes when they pinch-off. During the pandemic we have discovered the significance of channels and the consequences of their absence. The most important thing: comprehensive analysis and a proper use of tools.

–How can we boost the potential of this pairing to produce innovative solutions that foster improvement in such areas as social inclusion, cultural diversity, gender equality, environmental care, and access to education?

–Access to high-quality education is everything. Without connectivity and devices there is no guarantee of education, home-office work, and social inclusion. Without education, job expectations and democracy are off the table. To achieve complete inclusion, it must be promoted in the right way, with appropriate languages that can lead to consensus and guarantee humanity through the full enjoyment of rights.

What is the purpose of design? That is a broad answer, but I claim that design must be available to all people, its access must never depend on socio-economic class variables, it must develop respecting both environment and diversity, it must show a commitment to foster high living standards.