Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ponto Zero: New Brazilian designers on the Block


Der Metropol

Gabriela Sakate
Karin Feller
You know it’s going to be a good day when breakfast is păo de queijo and papaya: 
a typically Brazilian combination to fuel me up for a morning of mentoring a group of young, Brazilian fashion designers.




Held at the Brazilian embassy in London, the mentoring was part of a project called Ponto Zero (Ground Zero) set up by Texbrasil, the Brazilian fashion industry’s export programme and part of umbrella group ABIT. The premise of Ponto Zero is to help young designers develop commercial business models with an emphasis on international growth.
What impressed me the most about the designers I spoke to was precisely that: their business acumen. It was refreshing to hear Mario Francisco explain how he is looking at reducing his manufacturing costs for his label Der Metropol to increase margins or how Karin Feller is using fabric mixes (rather than exclusively silk, for example) to give her eponymous collection a wider, more accessible price architecture. Her average wholesale price is around €60, making it €150 at retail.  
I say refreshing because I’ve spoken to many young London designers in the past who baulk at the word “commercial”, seemingly forgetting that if there’s no exchange of money for their designers they have no business model.
That’s not to say the Brazilian designers lacked creativity. Gabriela Sakate’s beautifully-cut eponymous collection combined interesting fabrications, including a satin and cotton mix (which she helped to develop at one of her factories in São Paulo) to produce a jacquard effect.
Equally, some of these collections are far from perfect. As far as the UK market is concerned, some need a stronger point of difference to stand out from more established competitors and others need to adapt their aesthetic to include more commercial pieces amongst the stand-out, directional designs. Price points, too, need adjusting and retail mark-ups need to be at least 2.5 times. But there is some strong potential here, particularly from Gabriela Sakate and Cynthia Hayashi, who is already sold via 70 doors across Brazil, Portugal and the US.
Judge for yourselves. The designers’ collections are available on www.notjustalabel.com, which also features a biography on each designer, and I’ve included a picture gallery above and below. And let me know what you think, too.
For more information on these designers (including pricing and delivery times) and on other designers that are part of the Ponto Zero programme, contact Katrina Judd at In+Addition.
Cynthia Hayashi
Cynthia Hayashi



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