Portugal, re-thinking fashion


Every six months we travel to Porto Fashion Week to take the pulse to its sustainable dreams. Our date is at Modtissimo, the most important textile and fashion event in Portugal. This time, we were surprised by the sustainable commitment showcased by the show. Welcome to the Green Circle!


During two days of enormous excitement, the vitality and energy of the Portuguese fashion sector was on display at Modtissimo. The show was visited by more than 500 international buyers and fashion professionals. Near the entrance, the Green Circle space was the centre of attention, with many companies showing how well they’re prepared for the circular economy. With a gallery of garments designed by Portuguese fashion designers, the exhibition caught everybody’s eyes with its exuberance, in a clear demonstration that the ecological fashion is happening now!


Green Circle: a fashion romance

For the first time ever, Modtissimo showcased Green Circle, an artistic fashion installation powered by Selectiva Moda thanks to the partnership established between iTechstyle Showcase and Manifeso Moda.  “It is a first step to express the new order of sustainability, the local know-how and the high quality of Portuguese textile manufacturers” – they said.

Green Circle wants to echo not only alarming concerns with the current status quo of the fashion system but also, and in opposition, the efforts that are currently been made by some top Portuguese textile manufacturers, putting sustainability at the heart of their decisions. That was the textile part of the exhibition. The Fashionable part was focused on an arty installation: a Group of recognized Portuguese Designers was invited to interact with some enterprises and provide a generous sustainable fashion vision.

“We asked some of the best portuguese fashion players to think under the umbrella of the sustainable processes and the sustainable design solutions and seduce us with a new luxury (…) What you get to see here is an extraordinary example of how, together, we can fight for a better future without loosing the pleasure of being dream makers”- declared during the show Paulo Gomes, founder of Manifesto Moda.



Within Green Circle we would like to underline the designs of Story Tailors, Alexandra Moura, Nuno Baltazar and Alves/ Gonçalves. Story Tailors designed a jigsaw coat (with numbered parts that you can build by yourself) made by this unique portuguese wool, called Burel. Made of 100% bio sheeps wool, Burel have extraordinaries smart functionalities. 

Alexandra Moura made a special trench-coat with hand made details full of surprises. The reason is this Cotton/Cork yarn made by Texteis Penedo with powder cork wastes, increasing the fabric resistance to microorganisms, in addition to decoration, and recovering a natural raw material (cork) that otherwise would not be valued. 

Nuno Baltazar designed a demi-couture dress made by Tenowa from Riopele. A fabric made of wastes generated from the textile industry. Virgin raw materials, water and energy are saved upon. Tenowa means circular economy by recycling and reusing textile leftovers.

Alves/Gonçalves made a romantic dress-shirt of Demi, a sustainable fabric developed by Somelos. It is a blend of long staple cotton with Rose Fiber (a viscose extracted from roses) characterized by its luxurious feel and drape, giving a silky and shiny appearance. 

TAP's Upcycling competition

Green Circle was not the only sustainable scenario of the fair. At the end of day two, Modtissimo closed its doors with TAP's Upcycling competition, in which young designers were challenged to create new garments using the belts and fabrics from old airplane seats. Tatiana Ribeiro, an ESAD student, was the winner, presenting a multifunctional vest that can be turned into a backpack.

How creative can the sustainable side of fashion be! It is really interesting, yes! But, fashion may include a business model and it has to be commercial. And it is already! Some Portuguese sustainable fashion Brands and Designers are already selling their collections Worldwide. They produce locally and nurture the traditional artisanal techniques and craftsmanship of their native country. Most of them are also adding ecological fabrics to their collections. Misci, Hibu, Reality Studio, Coraçao Alecrim, Marita Moreno, Toino Abel, Pé de Chumbo (cover image), Katty Xiomara, Roselyn Silva or Nazareth Collection are some of them. And they are doing it great!



Thinking in Sustainable Fashion

As Paulo Vaz, ATP (The Textile and Apparel Association of Portugal) General Director; and Manuel Serrão, Director of Modtissimo and President in Selectiva Moda, assured us during last event, fashion events from Portugal will have sustainable fashion always in mind. “Technological innovation, design (creativity) and sustainability are our main focus now” – declared Paulo Vaz during the press conference hold during Modtissimo. "It is not just a commitment to the planet and to the new generations, it is also a strategy to differentiate ourselves from the fashion offer coming from other countries. How to combine technology with sustainability? It is the third pillar of our future and, in our case, it's based on authenticity”.

“We changed from competition based on price to competition based on value” – he underlined - "We want to profit this segment, to get a better margen and better markets. Sweden, Finland, Norway, EEUU…, even Brasil…even in emerging markets... We have to show that we are really sustainable. Because it's the truth. The new Green Circle area has to grow in the future. In four or five years, sustainable fashion will be one of our big markets” - Vaz declared to Luxiders Magazine.

Manuel Serrão added: “The biggest bet we have made in this edition is Green Circle. It is one of the new macro trends. There are many companies that are investing in this area. Here, in Portugal, we have many products from many companies, for example, lots of companies are offering recycled products. It is not a new thing, it is just something that was not known until now. It is very important to show that there are many fashion companies in Portugal working on this”.

“Next year we want to present this platform in some fairs abroad, in Germany and in Italy. We will participate at Neonyt Berlin, for instance. It is very important for Portuguese Designers to position their own brand abroad, that's why we have to go for collective exhibitions” – said Serrão.

+ images Green Circle Credits: © Art Direction: Paulo Gomes; Photography: Sorin Opait; Model: Amy Gambini

+ info: Modtissimo