The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is a charming, cobbled city where yellow trams rattle up and down the steep, narrow streets. It is a city that reminds visitors of the 18th century; but still very Portuguese in feel, with a very special light, a breeze from the Atlantic and spectacular cafés where some of the long-lasting memories that tourists take home from Portugal are made.
Tourism i s booming and history, cuisine, good weather, great nightlife and the easy-going nature of the people is attracting the attention from international media – but so is the ‘Made in Portugal’ fashion industry.
Without the globalization that has enveloped many other European cities, Portuguese fashion is fast taking on importance, as it is synonymous with culture, modernism and a commitment of promoting the national image while asserting itself as a benchmark of creativity and aesthetic sophistication.
If you're the type to pay close attention to where your clothes or shoes are being manufactured, you may have noticed that "Made in Portugal" has become more and more commonplace lately. Scenes where fashionable crowds are grabbing their seats in venues that range from minimalistic to the
extremely opulent; and models are walking down runways in the newest designs, spanning from edgy to elegant, are all too familiar throughout Portugal these days. While, this is particularly the case during certain weeks of the year were Portugal hosts “Portugal Fashion”, the country’s own version of fashion week, there is no doubt that Portugal has been fostering a fashion culture in the country that has brought about a paradigm shift with regard to domestic textiles and domestic apparel worldwide.
Today, as one of the largest textile exporters in Europe, several fashion labels you know look to Portugal to sources fabrics. One of the oldest and most respected textile manufacturers in Portugal is Riopele, which is about a 36-minute drive from Porto in Pousada de Saramagos. Companies like Zara, Calvin Klein, Versace, Giorgio Armani and Hugo Boss are just a few of Riopele’s international clients thanks to its innovative techniques, and high-quality synthetic fibers. In Portugal there are some 6,353 textile companies that provide 123,463 jobs in the country and the industry exports for about 4.2 million euros, making up 9% of Portuguese total exports. With an additional leather manufacturing heritage equal to that of luxury production powerhouses France and Italy, and offering comparable quality at a significantly lower cost, ‘Made in Portugal’ is on the rise. In fact, from 2006 to 2013, the local leather shoe industry has increased exports by 213 percent, from 36,510,000 pairs to 114,387,000 pairs and Portugal today makes up for 3.8% of the global leather goods trade.
In Portugal you will find the same craftsmanship quality as in France or I taly at a l ower cost, and the industry is largely driven by small-scale factories that are able to produce smaller orders, which appeals to high-end designers who often want to be able to produce their products i n limited quantities. Many high-end brands and even large retailers use Portuguese production.
Long respected for apparel and accessories production, and now trending in tourism, art and tech, Portugal is over the last few years gaining some serious fashion recognition.
Enter Lisbon, one of several alternate European fashion centers that compete behind the ' big four' (London, Paris, new York and Milan). Lisbon has become a particular hit among artists, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs drawn by the light, lifestyle and l ow cost of li ving. It is also drawing visitors l ooking for a familiar yet exotic destination that has not yet succumbed to the globalization steamroller. For several years now, Parisian fashion insiders have come to play - if not yet to work - in the city or nearby Comporta, Portugal's answer to the Hamptons.
Add to this Portugal's role as manufacturer of choice for many European fashion and luxury brands. Independent design houses are within easy reach of high quality, moderate cost production willing to take on small-scale orders.
It should be no surprise that a city favored by creative brands, has creativity of its own, because in Portuguese society appearance is very important, especially in the cities. People are just as fashion conscious as in all most revered fashion capitals as clothes indicate social standing and success.
The Portuguese take great pride in wearing good fabrics and clothes of the best standard they can afford; not because they are traditional or conservative, but because they retain a sense of formality when dealing with each other, which is directly displayed in their particular form of extreme politeness.
This sensorial-emotional approach i s not only captured in the people or i n the incredible fashion brands coming out of Portugal these days, but also reflected in the lifestyle.