Moda Lisboa is Nurturing Fashion’s New Blood
Moda Lisboa was founded in 1991, and over the past, almost three decades, it has come up with a well-rounded fashion week that brings together all the things that international fashion press and buyers hope to see when they travel to any fashion week. A blend of fashion shows, talks, design competitions, presentations and showrooms that create a well rounded experience and understanding of what the Portuguese fashion industry has to offer.
“This fashion week is getting more and more attention,” confirmed Paulo Mariotti, a correspondent for Vogue Brazil who has attended many Moda Lisboa fashion weeks over the years. He pointed out that last year the Condé Nast International luxury conference was held in Lisbon as an indicator of the growing attention Portugal is getting within the fashion community. “Also Moda Lisboa is getting more support from the government, which means they have the financial backing to invite more international press to the fashion week, which is very important.” he added.
One event that is highly anticipated is the Sangue Novo (Young Blood) competition that opens the fashion week each year. A select group of young fashion designers who are studying in Portugal or abroad get to present their work to an international jury that, this season, awarded three different prizes. Winners not only get prize money, but more importantly, mentorships with leaders in different sectors of the fashion industry. And throughout the week past winners of Sangue Novo can be seen showing their collections on the catwalk. Proof that Moda Lisboa doesn’t have a “one and done” fashion support policy but rather continues to back and nurture those designers, like Doarte or Constance Entrudo who they see as having real potential.
“We have a real emotional connection to Portugal,” said Alfredo Orobio , the founder and ceo of the brand Away to Mars. Orobio, who was on the Sangue Novo jury this year and also showed his collection at Moda Lisboa went on to explain that “ Away to Mars was born here and I don’t think we would have the international recognition we have now if we had shown our collection during one of the bigger fashion weeks. Moda Lisboa was the first to really be in us, even before Away to Mars was a company they believed in the idea of the company and encouraged me to create my first collection.”
Moda Lisboa has a solid mix of younger designers showing their collections and more established local brands. And at the show venue it also has a space, called the Wonder Room where local designers and accessories brands can set up shop to show and sell their pieces to the general public. While the Fast Talks series of masterclasses and round table talks that go on during the day make it possible for the general population that is interested in fashion to gain insights about everything from how to create a more sustainable brand to how to generate brand awareness on social media from leaders in the fashion industry who are in town attending the fashion week.
“I like coming to Moda Lisboa because you can see the return of this young generation of designers who studied abroad in London, Paris, Milan or Florence and they come back to Portugal and create a whole new fashion scene here in Lisbon,” said prominent Italian blogger Roberto de Rosa. “You can see it in their shows that they are working very hard to make fashion week here competitive with the bigger fashion weeks in Europe.”
Even the fashion week itself is conducive to helping international guests get a feel for the country with shows starting at about 5pm and going until 10pm each day it leave free time for guest to explore the city, do one on one interviews or meetings with designers or even get a bit of work done that might be piling up at the office back home. It all makes for a convivial atmosphere where young, up and coming fashion talents are clearly nurtured and supported by the governing fashion body.
Local fashion influencer Raquel Strada summed up the fashion week best when she said, “Moda Lisboa is like a family to me, and I think it’s the same for all the designers who share their art with all of us. Having a place to show creativity in Lisbon is really important of everyone.”
Jessica Michault is the Senior Vice President of industry relations at GPS Radar by Launchmetrics. She is also the editor-at-large for ODDA magazine and contributes to publications like the New York Times, the Business of Fashion, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Mixte magazine.
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