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Portugal fashion industry escalates

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-04-19 10:00:00 –

Portugal fashion scene is growing in both its capital, Lisbon, and in Porto, Portugal’s second-largest city. Portugal has an abundance of textile and leather factories and producers that are among the leaders in the countries exports, thanks to its high quality products and lower costs

As one of the largest textile exporters in Europe, several fashion labels look to Portugal to sources fabrics. One of the oldest and most respected textile manufacturers in Portugal is Riopele, in Pousada de Saramagos. Companies like Zara, MaxMara, Calvin Klein, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss are just a few of Riopele’s international clients due to its innovative techniques, and high-quality synthetic fibers.

According to Joao Costa, the president of the Portuguese Textile Association, there are some 6,353 textile companies that provide 123,463 jobs in the country.The industry exports 4.283 million euros, making up 9 percent of the Portuguese exports.

With such an abundance of materials, Portugal could be the perfect place for a designer to set up shop, but there are still challenges. It’s quite difficult because they don’t have quantities, but the good thing is if they work, if they have their own label, and if they work for other labels, they can have a super approach with the manufacturers, so it can give them more opportunities to develop things there and also in Copenhagen and Berlin, said Miguel Flor, the creative director of Bloom, an initiative that supports emerging designers in Portugal by giving them runway shows and placing their designs in a Porto-based concept shop.

Rising menswear designer Mafalda Foncesca agrees with the challenges that a young designer faces due to needing lower quantities of materials. The designers are fighting to go out of Portugal, but it’s also important to be present in Portugal.

Alves/Gonçalves, the duo consisting of Manuel Alves and Manuel Gonçalves has been in the fashion business nearly three decades, counting the country’s ladies who lunch as their main client base. Alves also designs uniforms for the Portuguese airline TAP. He sources all the fabrics from Portugal. The key is to find your niche.

Designer Luis Buchinho, who recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his eponymous label said that they are becoming a very strong industry with names that are getting to be known bit by bit.

Meanwhile, labels like Marques’Almeida and fashion businesses like Farfetch — the ecommerce site that connects independent boutiques to a mass consumer market that was founded by Portuguese entrepreneur José Neves — have demonstrated that it is indeed possible for Portuguese fashion talent to go global. In fact, Portugal likely to gain an edge on Paris or Milan.

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