La Movida Madrileña: the history of our time

Younger people will look surprised when they hear this name. The less young will hear it from their parents' or grandparents' mouths. But those who lived it in first person may be in a moment of happy nostalgia. TheMovida Madrileña was a period in Spanish history that deserves its own name, in capital letters.

After forty years of intellectual wasteland and repression imposed by the regime, people were hungry for freedom, for profound changes in society.

Thus, towards the end of the 70s, in the midst of transition, the Spanish capital became the breeding ground of a countercultural current known as Movida Madrileña, from where it spread to the rest of the cities in a maelstrom fed by music, cinema, literature, painting, photography and, of course, aesthetics.

This movement lasted, at its peak, about six years (1980-1986), but, as we will see at the end, some of its components refused to disappear among the memories of the generation that changed society forever.

Malasaña, the epicenter of the Movida Madrileña

Because of its location, the Madrid neighborhood of Malasaña has always been a cultural hotbed, a neighborhood that knew that the nights only ended at dawn. From 1975 onwards, while the streets began to recover little by little their imprisoned voice, the bohemian and bohemian Malasaña became an authentic loudspeaker with enough strength to make itself heard throughout Spain.

There, the interest in alternative urban cultures, in the underground and in general in everything that had been forbidden until then lit the fuse of the Movida Madrileña, whose "official" birth was on February 9, 1980, the day of a tribute concert to Canito, drummer of the group that would later be called Los Secretos. In that concert, broadcasted by Onda 2, participated well-known groups of what would later become the Movida, such as Alaska y los Pegamoides, Nacha Pop, Los Trastos and Los Bólidos.

From there, the Movida Madrileña made the leap to other capitals of the country, especially after the "Spring Concert" of 1981, organized by the School of Architecture of the Polytechnic University of Madrid. In fact, the importance of the Movida Madrileña was such that it even flirted with some politicians of the transition who saw in it the yearning of the citizenship.

Denim clothing in Madrid's Movida years

Countercultural expression of Movida Madrileña

The Movida touched all strata of art, although its vehicle of expression par excellence was music.

Through art, the movement showed its rejection of the socially correct, the mass thought that, by inertia, was still dominant in those years. Thus, among its most resounding proclamations were, for example, sexual freedom, drug consumption, the sale of contraceptives, etc.

In music

The music of the Movida Madrileña was heavily influenced by punk, the rock subgenre that emerged in the 1970s in the United Kingdom as a protest against the conventions of society. There was no single musical genre, but a hodgepodge of sounds ranging from punk to glam-pop, through the new romantic.

Musically speaking, not all the members of the groups were great artists. Sometimes, it was just enough to know how to play an instrument, get on a stage set up in any shack and do whatever you could (or wanted to) in front of an audience.

However, we can speak of highly valued groups not only in the Movida years, but also afterwards: Alaska y los Pegamoides, Zombies, Radio Futura, Los Secretos, Nacha Pop, Loquillo y los Trogloditas, Mamá, Leño and Duncan Dhu, just to mention some of the extensive playlist. Many played at the mythical venue of the Movida, the Rock Ola, and some, over the years, have become cult groups.

Most of these groups began to be known through the demos that were played on radio stations like Onda 2, Dominó and Dinamita. The younger ones will miss it again, but back then there was no internet or social networks, so recording a first independent music album was really difficult.

At the movies

Until then, the public was accustomed to the cinema of the time, films set in a rural, humble and corseted Spain.

However, in the Movida, cinema showed completely different scenarios and characters, all with an undertone of social denunciation, reproducing situations never seen before on the screen: homosexuals holding hands or kissing, people using drugs, etc.

Although he started out in a music group, Pedro Almodóvar(Pepi, Luci, Bom y otras chicas del montón) ended up becoming one of the greatest exponents of Movida cinema. Others worth mentioning were Fernando Trueba(Ópera prima) and Iván Zulueta(Arrebato).

Other manifestations

The Movida Madrileña also expressed itself in other forms, such as literature, photography and painting. But there is another sphere through which it manifested itself unmistakably: aesthetics.

The aesthetics and fashion of the Movida

Yes, the Movida Madrileña was a verbal expression, but also a visual one. In fact, it marked a before and after in fashion, and some of its looks are making a comeback with time.

In those years, hairstyles that defied the laws of physics, prints, platforms, leather jackets, studs, tightswere the order of the day... All topped off with accessories of all kinds, the better the more, such as chains, bracelets, rings, piercings, etc.

There was no single way of dressing, but there was a common denominator: to stand out, to draw attention, to dress in a way that clearly showed liberation from conventionality.

It was in the Movida years, not only in Spain, but all over the world, when denim garments were consecrated as an absolute fashion icon. Jeans were made in more models, more colors, more finishes and more washes. And it was a garment of horizontal and vertical expansion: it could be worn by the most anti-system member of the Movida as well as by the politician who felt chills when hearing about this social movement.

The 80s, although we could also include the 70s, were prolific in Spanish denim brands, but few were as well known among the "people of the Movida" as the mythical Bustins STOCK, deriving in its registered patent as BustinSTOCK, from the Costa Brava.

BustinSTOCK, the brand that dressed up the Movida Madrileña

Those who lived through the Movida Madrileña may have worn a Bustins at least once in their lives. This firm, originally from a small coastal town in Girona, crossed the pond and opened a store in Los Angeles in 1990.

It all began with two siblings from a family of seamstresses, Rosa and Albert Bustins, who started the business with a small store in Galerías Neptuno, Platja d'Aro, in 1968. From there, they moved on to other nearby towns, such as Lloret de Mar and Roses, and further afield to Benidorm and Ibiza.

The growth of the company would soon take them, of course, to Barcelona and Madrid, where they opened two stores, one in Alcalá Street and the other in Fuencarral.

With the outbreak of the Movida Madrileña, BustinSTOCK became a denim brand of reference in the Spanish capital, as well as in the places where it was present. The brand's jeans were worn by names that resonate in our heads, from musicians to television celebrities.

Group of people with Bustins Stock clothing in the times of the movida madrileña.

Among the regulars at the Bustins store (then STOCK) were Alaska herself , Miguel Bosé, Bibiana Fernández, Ana García Obregón, Pocholo, María José Cantudo, Norma Duval, Miriam Díaz Aroca, etc. So great was their attachment to the brand that some of them went to the Platja d'Aro store to buy "at source".

As anecdotes, Duval sometimes went in search of Bustins clothes to wear on TV, Pocholo came with his brother and they used to park their motorcycles in front of the store, Ana G. Obregón used to stay chatting with the sales clerks, Miguel Bosé wore the brand for his successful album "Los Chicos No Lloren", Miguel Bosé used to wear the brand for his successful album "Los Chicos No Lloren".Los Chicos No Lloran"among many more stories as a result of the everyday life that existed between them and the store workers.

Over the years, with the end of the Movida (towards the end of the 80s) and due to globalization and new consumer habits, the brand closed most of its physical points of sale during the 2000s. However, the spirit remained and was taken up again by the descendants of Rosa and Albert Bustins, who maintain the first store in Platja d'Aro in 1968, a tribute to its birthplace, and its online store.

Thus, with a name change from BustinSTOCK to Bustins Jeans, the brand is still alive after so many decades in which other clothing brands were absorbed by multinationals or directly disappeared. Today, they put into practice the economic model of the slow fashionThey are handcrafting garments with zero kilometer materials, resistant and timeless catalog.

The Movida Madrileña went through the years from 1980 to 1986 too quickly. It disappeared due to the commercial success of some of its major members, who lost their "essence", and to the rejection it began to generate among the younger population, a population that was already beginning to forget that freedom had not been a gift from heaven, but a social conquest.

Although the Movida is now only a memory that will disappear in one or two generations, for the moment, at Bustinswe can't help but smile at the happy nostalgia of having experienced firsthand, from our stores in Madrid located for more than 25 years in Fuencarral, 9 (1975-2006) and Alcalá, 155 (1976-2002), one of the most important social movements in the recent history of Spain.

Whether you want to reminisce or meet us for the first time, we are still here.

1 comment

The best jeans of my life, year 70-71, Stock, No external side seams! Only the inside leg seams. They were totally tailored to the waist, hip and leg, bell bottom finish. I didn't want them to wear out or wear out. I have never had or seen anything like them again. What a pattern.
I still have a picture with them.
I'm guessing Albert Bustins design. At the time we spent 3 months on vacation.

Ana Maria April 30, 2024

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