Short circuit fashion: Portugal Fashion is on the right track

hurashirt 01.10.2023
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Portugal Fashion. From left to right: Pé de Chumbo, Ernest W. Baker, Awa Meite. Photos: F Julienne

From 14 to 18 March 2023, Portugal Fashion in Porto organised its 52nd fashion week. Its mission? To bring together a successful local industry and local and international designers onto one podium, in a convergent short circuit dynamic.

"The challenge of Portugal Fashion is to promote our national brands, especially the young ones, and to connect them with industrialists," said Monica Neto, director of Portugal Fashion, the fashion branch of the Anje association (National Association of Young Entrepreneurs) in collaboration with the ATP (Portuguese Textile Association).

The event was held in rua Latino Coehlo, in Porto, in an old garage that is soon to be refurbished. Almost a symbol, as it is difficult, in the current context (rising prices, war, etc.), to organise an alternative event to the dominant fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, New York or London. "Portugal Fashion is a B2B event aimed at the press, buyers, brand clients and also fashion schools. But this year, due to a lack of budget, we were not able to gather as many international buyers as we would have liked," admitted the director.

If the challenge of wholesale marketing remains to be met, the demonstration that the Portuguese industry goes hand in hand with the emergence of creative brands, manufactured in short circuits, is a fact and not an anecdote. The proof is in the presentation of the Ernest W. Baker brand, which successfully plays the made in Portugal card.

Ernest W. Baker twists the codes of tailoring in the factories of the Porto

He, Reid Baker, is American. She, Ines Amorim, is Portuguese. Initially based in Milan, this creative duo later worked in Paris, London and Antwerp. They were among the finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2018. For the ‘Who's Who’, Ernest W. Baker's fame comes from the fact that Pharell Williams, the new artistic director of the Louis Vuitton label, is a loyal customer. He wore an Ernest W. Baker outfit to the 2023 Grammys Awards. This young Portuguese brand sells to high-end buyers around the world - Dover Street Market, Ssense, Corso Como, United Arrows - through a private showroom in the Marais during Paris Fashion Week.

But it was finally in Portugal, in Porto, that the young designers decided to settle. "The aim of our return to Porto was to better control the manufacturing process, but also our selling prices," Reid Baker explained during his presentation. Our retail prices range from 300 euros for a pair of trousers or a shirt to 1,200 euros for a coat. We are one of the first to play in the luxury category with 100 percent Portuguese-made products. This will change the perception of the country.”


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