Communication is increasingly important in the world of fashion. With the advent of social media and new information technologies, communication is not only a necessity, it is often an art form. In Portugal, several new “communicators” have emerged. This is the new generation. The world is theirs.
André Atayde (Portugal Fashion)
Do you remember your first fashion show?
Yes, of course I do. It was the Fátima Lopes show at Portugal Fashion, in the Coliseu do Porto. If my memory serves me right, I think it was in 2015. I didn’t know anybody there. I showed up as an outsider and, years later, learned I had a place in the front row, although I watched the show while standing near the entrance.
How did you find the move from “journalism” to Portugal Fashion?
It is said that once a journalist, always a journalist… This change was positive, because I think I have a different take on things, and having been in the shoes of my (former) colleagues, I can add some value that Portugal Fashion didn’t have, or of which it would have less. There’s always a phase of acclimatisation, which is normal, but I know I can add value to a project that has everything to work out. And it’s going to be just fine.
What attracted you to this new universe?
I’ve always liked fashion, in the most general terms, and I believe I can add value to the project, whether in the field of communication or in interpersonal relationships. Moreover, and with fashion being a partial reflection of the society in which we live, it is interesting to see up close the paradigm changes that are happening over time. Then I was attracted by the chance to meet new people, creatives with great potential who, through their effort — a lot of effort — make life much more beautiful. Or, to put it another way, people with an enormous ability to add beauty to life.
In your opinion, in what ways has Portuguese fashion evolved?
There are several people who struggle every day to ensure Portuguese fashion has a real expression and real added value. Today, Portuguese fashion, which is made by Portuguese in Portugal, is of immense value and is treated every day in the high regard it deserves. Portuguese fashion is increasingly creative, better made, more stable and affirmative. Is there a long way to go? Yes, there is. But we have already come a long way. There are those who have fallen and came back stronger: this is in the Portuguese DNA. Which is what fills us with pride and brings a tear to the eye. We’re a country, and a people, dammit, which is something nobody can take from us!
What has yet to be done?
Work. Grow. Encourage. Appreciate. Learn. Teach. Live. Forgive. Rest. Laugh and smile. Embrace. Put the past behind us. Look ahead. Fall into the abyss and then get up again. Learn to swim out of our depth. And did I already say work? That’s all. There’s almost nothing left to do.
António Custódio (ModaLisboa)
You studied fashion design, but you made a name for yourself at Modalisboa. Do you remember your first day at Modalisboa?
Of course I do! It was on 9 March 2013, at the 40th edition, as a member of the team of advisors to ModaLisboa | Lisbon Fashion Week. The next year I joined the Press and Communication Office production team and, for the 45th edition, I started working as an assistant in the same department. I am currently a member of ModaLisboa’s permanent team in the press relations and social media management areas. It was the beginning of an unexpected but interesting journey.
Has the country lost a good designer or are you still considering it?
Fashion design is part of my daily life and that’s essential because I have not yet given up on working as a fashion designer. When I finished my master’s degree in fashion design, I felt I didn’t have everything I thought necessary to create a successful project. It was at the same time that I got the chance to work full-time at ModaLisboa, which I decided to do, viewing it as an opportunity to complement my training and acquire the maximum knowledge, experience and contacts that I could soon invest in a project of my own!
Portuguese fashion has gained international fame. What are the challenges in the area of communication?
In my opinion, the biggest challenge facing Portuguese fashion is the need to create an identity and define target audiences. It is important that each brand is able to define itself and the public it wants to win over. Given the availability of numerous and diverse communication platforms, free of charge and accessible to all, in constant updating of functionalities and information, it is important to develop strategies and creativity in the way one communicates in order to win over new audiences. What works today may not work tomorrow, and that is the biggest challenge I feel there is in the area of communication: it is necessary to know about and to follow what is happening internationally and to be very creative.
In what way can Portuguese fashion continue to evolve?
We need to rediscover the ‘love’ of fashion and the pieces we acquired, something that was lost with the emergence of and increase in consumption of fast fashion. Today we are able to buy new items and replace the ones we have much more easily than before, and this, in addition to increasing our ecological footprint, prevents us from establishing an emotional relationship with the items. In short, consumers need to be educated at these levels because fashion will always follow the development of societies.
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