Leather Goods

A Growth Sector

Design, quality, know-how accumulated over generations and a great passion for leather goods. These seem to be some of the ingredients of the Portuguese leather goods sector’s success. Growing fast, this is a sector that is ready for the future and which welcomes new faces and new brands every day.

Ana Maria Vasconcelos claims “the sector is growing and the forecasts for the coming months are very encouraging.” The head of Belcinto points to versatility and rapid responses as some of the factors of the sector’s success in foreign markets. Recently, this renowned company launched the Leather Goods brand.

“At Leather Goods, we set ourselves a serious, difficult but achievable goal: production derived solely from the leftover raw materials from other collections, reusing them and using them in their entirety without generating new leftovers in the process,” she says. “This forced us to think rigorously about design, to invent new compositions and combinations that maintain consumer appeal, to take risks and challenge the team’s creativity, starting from an idea that is dear to us — to look at the whole potential of a piece, to satisfy fully the issues of functionality without ceasing to please and even surprise consumers, keeping us current, but without concessions in terms of sustainability.” For the launch of the new label, Belcinto looked “at unused raw materials and accessories as one looks longingly at a treasure, knowing its value. We experiment, we recombine, we try out other options,” she adds.

António — a handmade story has just celebrated its fourth year. It emerged from the heart of the António Mateus family business, with sustainability and design as its guiding principles. “There’s something very interesting about our sector that deserves to be valued: manual know-how,” says Ana Mateus. The head of António believes one of the brand’s successes is “the timelessness of the shapes. We realized they do not go out of fashion and that customers actually prefer this type of product.”

New talent emerges in the sector

Every day, new faces emerge in the sector. With them they bring new ideas, ground-breaking designs and new concepts. They promise to be the future of this sector.

This is the case with Ownever, which emerged out of Eliana Barros’ dream of creating a wallet that wouldn’t go out of fashion. “I wanted to make a difference in a world in which consumerism is rampant, and do so without adding to the fast fashion industry. We are at a turning point in history that will influence future generations. We must be able to choose better and discover that less really is more,” is the message on the company’s website.

So in March 2021 Ownever was launched, and with it a special feature: a lifetime warranty, or rather a 136-year warranty. Inspired by the French lifestyle and such icons as Françoise Hardy and Emmanuelle Alt, Ownever wants to differentiate itself by its fair price, which reflects both the raw materials used and the work of the artisans who create the piece. “In addition to the use of sustainable materials, I believe we must ensure workers, the planet and people are considered when creating a product.”

Architecture and sustainability are the building blocks of Carui Atelier, a brand created by Elena and Maria João. Carui is an accessories and bag brand with an architectural vibe, functional design and, most importantly, it is a brand that is responsible and (increasingly) sustainable. According to the company’s website, “Carui was born by combining responsibility, truth and tradition.”

“Carui is the starting point on this path. A brand that views fashion as an eternal interpretation of art, that inspires and creates a legacy of timeless items that should be passed down from generation to generation, items with a soul that will hold memories and stories, making them increasingly iconic and special.”

Back in 2018 Ana Matos Oliveira created Cluoh, a brand that combines fashion, illustration and design. With a background in graphic design and marketing, Ana and a group of friends realized that there were no patterned purses with which they could identify.

This led to the birth of Cluoh, a name that combines the words classic and clutches, with the interjection ‘oh’. “The project emerged from the desire to create a brand that linked the values and passions of each of the founders. It is the result of a group of creatives and the fusion of their characteristics and personalities,” claims the company.

New Campaign: The Journey

The Journey sets the tone for the new campaign by the leather goods sector. Set against the backdrop of Porto, the sector is “embarking” on a new journey around the world.

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