Thursday, 15 July 2010
Looking for fashion in São Paulo
I’ve just found out that Brazil is the second largest producer of denim in the world. I was surprised, impressed and just a little bit proud. Not only that, but Brazil’s fashion industry has an annual turnover of $47bn, showing just how important the industry is to the Brazilian economy. The figures come from the Brazilian Textile Industry – or Associação Brasileira da Indústria Têxtil e de Confecção – and the organisation has invited me to visit textile show Première Brasil in São Paulo next week to cover the event for Drapers. The trip also includes visits to fabric manufacturers and fashion boutiques, and the opportunity to indulge in the culture and gastronomy that São Paulo has to offer. Suffice to say, I’m very excited.
And I’m not the only one. Fashion buyers in the UK are craving Brazilian labels for their stores.
Pamela Shiffer, who owns the eponymous womenswear boutique in Primrose Hill in London, has been going to Rio Fashion Week for a few seasons now. Among the Brazilian brands she stocks are Alessa, Skunk and Diva Couture. “I chose to visit Rio Fashion Week because as my market for holiday/day dresses grows so does the demand for something different. The Brazilian designers I've stocked so far cut for women with curves and emphasise the parts you want to show which makes selling them all the more easy at retail,” she says. “Also, because of their climate and beach lifestyle, they offer sexy alternatives in great prints that aren't as predictable as those we see in Europe, therefore giving a point of difference to my customers. If you do visit Brazil in search of something new, you'll find people with enthusiasm, energy and a zest for life. Just three good reasons to go.”
On an international level, the global fashion industry looks to Rio and São Paulo for very different reasons, says Lorna Hall, retail editor of WGSN. “The fashion community looks to Rio for fantastic colour and print inspiration and to soak up the Brazilian expertise in swimwear and beach cover ups. The strengths of São Paulo are very much around its knack for producing fantastically understated luxury collections,” she explains. “Casual sophistication in luxe fabrics – sometimes with an eco-focus – is a real strength at São Paulo and there is a very loyal Brazilian luxury fashion customer who has helped build these brands into viable design businesses across South America.”
Hall picks Brazilian label Osklen (pictured) as the brand that the fashion community looks to for inspiration. “Every season he uses his catwalk at São Paulo Fashion Week as a conceptual / inspirational springboard for his ready to wear collection,” says Hall. “In Rio no one would miss Mara Mac’s take on sport luxe. In terms of the newer guys to watch in Rio, Lucas Nascimento who trained with Brits Giles Deacon and Jonathan Saunders, has got the fashion crowd talking. And that’s without mentioning the brilliant, talented stalwarts of Brazilian design such as Alexandre Herchcovitch and the swimwear supremos Lenny and Rosa Chá.”
Indeed. I can’t imagine what other exciting labels or shops I might discover there next week. Rest assured, I will let you know.