Innovation, confidence and vision – these three words can summarize our impressions from the last weekend’s visit to Porto where our team attended the Portugal Fashion, a landmark event that brings the best of Portuguese textile and clothing industry. Our first chance to meet closer the fashion from Portugal was in Brussels when ATP – Association of Portuguese Textile & Clothing Industry organized a presentation showcasing some of their best fabrics and designers. This time, it was an opportunity to witness this rapidly growing industry in their home region – northern Portugal (mostly Braga and Porto) are the epicenter of the textile industry (which accounts for 10% of Portuguese national exports) and is a European powerhouse in this field (represent 3% of EU T&C exports).
Attending Portugal Fashion in Porto clearly demonstrated the vitality of the industry – from textile producers and fashion designers to experts and visitors, we noticed that all stakeholders share the same energy and confidence, a proof that this industry will continue its stable development and growth. In addition to that, the city of Porto was also a pleasant surprise, full of culture, history, cafes, restaurants and amazing venues (the fashion shows took place in Alfândega do Porto – old customs house). Naturally, we also enjoyed tasting the local Port wines from the Douro valley, followed with so many valuable insights from a real local wine expert.
Here are some of the main reasons for the success of Portuguese fashion industry:
Local context – majority of Portuguese textile industry is composed of SME’s and family owned & managed companies. This contributes to the strong localisation, the need to preserve the tradition and yet to adapt to the new trends and compete on the global market.
Innovation & sustainability – innovation (technologic and non-technologic), product differentiation (creativity in fashion and design) as well as in technological terms (using innovative materials, processes and functionalities). Focusing on sustainable solutions and continuous development of know-how and skills (industry 4.0) is one of the priorities in Portugal.
Focusing on niche markets – for certain type of products and emerging markets and improving growth competitiveness via productivity, vocational training , education and outsourcing in order to gain value at the end of the production chain.
Full circle – Portugal has originally been known for the textile production but now it is heavily focusing on design and end products as well. In order to have the full potential, all aspects of the industry are working together and creating a synergy – from design to distribution. This is why the whole system includes universities, textile technological centres (namely CITEVE and CENTI), training centres (MODATEX & CITEVE) as well as internationalization programmes and ATP association which also serves as an institutional and strategic think tank.
Which brands and designers did we especially like at the Portugal Fashion in Porto?
Katty Xiomara, Miguel Vieira, Meam… their collections looked stunning. When it comes to shoes & bags, we really liked Ambitious, Nobrand and the Baron’s cage. Finally, we must mention that we enjoyed the shows by brand Concreto as well as designs by Micaela Oliveira, Alves/Goncalves (image below) and Luis Onofre.
When asked about the goals for the near future, Paulo Vaz, the director of ATP doesn’t shy away from their vision – Portugal wants to become the world leader in textile and fashion industry cluster for niche add value markets.