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People, Fashion & Trends

Portuguese Designers Embrace the Digital Era

By Sofia Celeste 04 November 2015

MILAN, ITALY - A nation known for its baroque filigree and lace is now looking to wifi icons and widgets to fuel its fashion forward.

Portugal Fashion's spring summer fashion week, made a concerted effort to shine the spotlight on fresh talent, many of whom looked to digital and technological trademarks as the starting point of their collections, in order to garner international attention and attract a younger demographic to their designs.

During the four-day fashion week, which unfolded between Lisbon and Porto, there were six young designers and three fashion schools (out of a total of 22 shows) that were invited to showcase their spring summer 2016 mens and women collections to an international public.

Trailblazing the tech trend was streetwear brand Klar, the label designed by Alexandre Marrafeiro, Andreia Oliveira and Tiago Carneiro.

Their spring summer 2016 collection that was showcased at the Alfandega Do Porto made digital hallmarks the protagonist of their collection - both in terms of their new label "Klar" in the shape of a WiFi icon, as well as the laser cut lines that were paramount throughout their collection. Since 2013, the brand has been working under a sustainable meets tech-world ethos. This time they up-cycled elastic bands, which they used to adorn their futuristic garb and enforce this renegade motif.

Across town at the exhibition space/boutique The Gallery Wrong Weather they showcased a capsule collection and installation of "post-apocalyptic" multifunctional apparel that was made in collaboration with graphic design duo PONTO.

"A lot of new brands focus on what is cool and hip and what is breeding hype," said Carneiro. "We are focused on the idea of 'youth' and we also want to convey that we are conscious about the environment and the world as well. We want people to be more educated," he said.

So do they think the world is on the brink of extinction?

"No, we really believe that the world is going to be better in the future," said Marrafeiro.

"Technology has a bad side, but we think that actually it is helping us to improve and make things better," chimed Carneiro.

KLAR is just one brand that has been groomed and aided by the Bloom Project, whose curator Miguel Flor, has worked with international brands like Maison Margiela, the Belgian brand known for its abstract, avant-garde creativity.

"What I try to convey to them, is that they have to be individual and while they have to know what the other designers do, they also have to be very intellectual. Intellectuality is what is most important for me in fashion," Flor said earlier this year.

Fellow Bloom designer Ines Marques' spring summer women's collection was a testament to Flor's philosophy. Marques' array of robotic, technical designs were adorned with applique pins, needles, bands of tape and even slabs of wood plastered on to asymmetrical shift dresses - like nothing we have seen on the more traditional catwalks of Milan or Paris.

Bigger names that cater to a more accessible-luxury seeking palate - like Miguel Vieira for example - also looked to digital patterns for his mens and women's collection punctuated with colour-blocking made with a weave of grosgrain ribbon.

Using a vacant parking lot as the setting for her womens runway show, Katty Xiomara, provided the jaw-dropping moment of the fashion week - with her spring summer collection that was unfurled vis-a-vis a cartoon inspired by video games from the 1970s and 1980s. Actual models, wearing chunky 3D accessories and Harijuku-girl-inspired ensembles, were choreographed to a seemingly-never-ending arcade tune played live by Japanese artist, Hige Driver, known for his hiptune mixes or 8-bit music, that involved the sounds from reprogramming old computers.

In a more commercially viable vein, knitwear designer Susana Bettencourt played with traditional bobbin lace and made it into something more modern and exaggerated, yet graceful and sensual.

Bettencourt, a native of the Azores Islands, studied at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion. She showed her first collection at London Fashion Week in February 2011 and has sold her wares on Luisa Via Roma. Like many of her peers who have grown up near Portugal's textile and artisan heartlands, she actually knows how to sew and craft her collections by hand. She produces many of her prototypes on her own.

And when it comes to individuality, Bettencourt may have the most economically viable approach in terms of making her digital fashions palatable on an international level.

"I asked myself... 'how can I turn bobbin lace into a digital design and take hand made work and evolve it into something for a modern age?' Portugal is filled with crochet doilies that nobody uses. We need to still implement our craft traditions and turn it into something people will use."

 

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

MILAN, ITALY - A nation known for its baroque filigree and lace is now looking to wifi icons and widgets to fuel its fashion forward.

Portugal Fashion's spring summer fashion week, made a concerted effort to shine the spotlight on fresh talent, many of whom looked to digital and technological trademarks as the starting point of their collections, in order to garner international attention and attract a younger demographic to their designs.

During the four-day fashion week, which unfolded between Lisbon and Porto, there were six young designers and three fashion schools (out of a total of 22 shows) that were invited to showcase their spring summer 2016 mens and women collections to an international public.

Trailblazing the tech trend was streetwear brand Klar, the label designed by Alexandre Marrafeiro, Andreia Oliveira and Tiago Carneiro.

Their spring summer 2016 collection that was showcased at the Alfandega Do Porto made digital hallmarks the protagonist of their collection - both in terms of their new label "Klar" in the shape of a WiFi icon, as well as the laser cut lines that were paramount throughout their collection. Since 2013, the brand has been working under a sustainable meets tech-world ethos. This time they up-cycled elastic bands, which they used to adorn their futuristic garb and enforce this renegade motif.

Across town at the exhibition space/boutique The Gallery Wrong Weather they showcased a capsule collection and installation of "post-apocalyptic" multifunctional apparel that was made in collaboration with graphic design duo PONTO.

"A lot of new brands focus on what is cool and hip and what is breeding hype," said Carneiro. "We are focused on the idea of 'youth' and we also want to convey that we are conscious about the environment and the world as well. We want people to be more educated," he said.

So do they think the world is on the brink of extinction?

"No, we really believe that the world is going to be better in the future," said Marrafeiro.

"Technology has a bad side, but we think that actually it is helping us to improve and make things better," chimed Carneiro.

KLAR is just one brand that has been groomed and aided by the Bloom Project, whose curator Miguel Flor, has worked with international brands like Maison Margiela, the Belgian brand known for its abstract, avant-garde creativity.

"What I try to convey to them, is that they have to be individual and while they have to know what the other designers do, they also have to be very intellectual. Intellectuality is what is most important for me in fashion," Flor said earlier this year.

Fellow Bloom designer Ines Marques' spring summer women's collection was a testament to Flor's philosophy. Marques' array of robotic, technical designs were adorned with applique pins, needles, bands of tape and even slabs of wood plastered on to asymmetrical shift dresses - like nothing we have seen on the more traditional catwalks of Milan or Paris.

Bigger names that cater to a more accessible-luxury seeking palate - like Miguel Vieira for example - also looked to digital patterns for his mens and women's collection punctuated with colour-blocking made with a weave of grosgrain ribbon.

Using a vacant parking lot as the setting for her womens runway show, Katty Xiomara, provided the jaw-dropping moment of the fashion week - with her spring summer collection that was unfurled vis-a-vis a cartoon inspired by video games from the 1970s and 1980s. Actual models, wearing chunky 3D accessories and Harijuku-girl-inspired ensembles, were choreographed to a seemingly-never-ending arcade tune played live by Japanese artist, Hige Driver, known for his hiptune mixes or 8-bit music, that involved the sounds from reprogramming old computers.

In a more commercially viable vein, knitwear designer Susana Bettencourt played with traditional bobbin lace and made it into something more modern and exaggerated, yet graceful and sensual.

Bettencourt, a native of the Azores Islands, studied at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion. She showed her first collection at London Fashion Week in February 2011 and has sold her wares on Luisa Via Roma. Like many of her peers who have grown up near Portugal's textile and artisan heartlands, she actually knows how to sew and craft her collections by hand. She produces many of her prototypes on her own.

And when it comes to individuality, Bettencourt may have the most economically viable approach in terms of making her digital fashions palatable on an international level.

"I asked myself... 'how can I turn bobbin lace into a digital design and take hand made work and evolve it into something for a modern age?' Portugal is filled with crochet doilies that nobody uses. We need to still implement our craft traditions and turn it into something people will use."

 

 



Sofia Celeste
FAIRPLAY Editor-in-Chief

When she is not hunting down the latest in tech and fashion, Sofia Celeste is scouting artisan talent for her online magazine bacoluxury.com. Born in the US and raised on the Pacific Island of Guam, she went on to write for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. Her work is now regularly published in top fashion publications NOWFASHION and WWD.

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