The Portuguese capital will be the stage of a major action in the first week of May involving Spanish fashion designers. After this Portugal’s designers will show their work in September in Madrid, thus putting an end to the polite disregard, joining two countries whose fashion worlds have been apart for too long.
Polite disregard, brief conviviality and lack of deeper knowledge is what best defines the relations between the two countries forming the Iberian Peninsula. Estranged for long by wars dating back to centuries ago, both countries have always had a bit of a love-hate relationship. Spaniards love Portugal for their custards, the cuisine, the beautiful cities and beaches. The Portuguese love Spain for the tapas, the wild movida and the equally beautiful cities, but that is nearly about it. Aside from major names in the arts, literature and football, the common people on both sides of the borders do not know much about each other, stuck for too long in their own national identities. It is a bit like the cousins we love but only see now and then in family occasions but don’t know or care much about their lives.
Fashion is no exception in this respect. Aside from the major Spanish fast fashion chains in the major cities of Portugal, this country does not know much about the work by the likes of Teresa Helbig, Etxeberria, Ana Locking or Juanjo Oliva. As for Spain, and the despite the fact that some of the major designers in the country have their stuff produced in Portugal, Spaniards know very little about Portuguese designers such as Nuno Gama, Alexandra Moura, Pedro Pedro or Luis Buchinho. Some might argue that we do find more Spanish names in the Lisbon and Oporto high street, e.g. Loewe or Hoss Intropia and Portuguese brands in Spain like Salsa or Quebramar. But as regards designer mode a lot has to be done. The showcase Días de Moda could be the first step in that direction.
This major initiative brings both fashion worlds together begins on May 5 at the Spanish Embassy in Lisbon and will join David Muñoz and José Avillez, two chefs from both countries who during the official presentation of “Dias de Moda”. May 6 marks the opening to the general public of the “Fashion Designers Exhibition” equally at the embassy, organised by the Association of Spanish Fashion Designers. On May 8 three round-tables will be hosted, joining Portuguese and Spanish fashion designers and covering issues such as “Fashion and Design”. “Fashion and Technique” and “The Business of Fashion”. These talks will rely on the presence of Portuguese designers Luis Onofre, Filipe Faísca, Nuno Gama and Ricardo Preto and Spanish Designers Juanjo Oliva, Roberto Verino, Francis Montesinos and Modesto Lomba along with the head of communication of the Portuguese Shoe Association and the Head of Procurement of El Corte Inglés. This showcases ends on May 9th with a fashion show hosted by the department store El Corte Inglés.
In September it will be Portugal’s turn to show the work by its designers at Momad Metropolis; Intergift; Bisutex and Madridjoya, three major trade fairs who will take place at the same time as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid. So far so good, the intentions are good and hopefully this will open the appetite on both sides of the border and get consumers to buy and pay attention to the work by fashion designers on both sides. However the major question remains: when will we get to see designers from both countries sharing the catwalks in Lisbon, Madrid, Oporto or Barcelona? And will this and other initiative bring designers, shop owners and consumers closer?