Por­tu­gal

KL100 - - Contents -

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.

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