Portugal Fashion’s BLOOM project moves away from the traditional catwalk concept in order to provide new designers with fashion shows in a more informal, urban, multi-artistic environment. The word Bloom means to flourish, blossom, glow. It also means freshness, to prosper, to shine. The aim is to spread the word that this is something new, something fresh, something that is being born, or growing, but also something more laboratorial and therefore, more experimental, riskier, more innovative.
At Portugal Fashion’s national BLOOM events, everything is "performance”. In other words, the clothing is on show, despite being worn. It is a living installation. In addition to the fashion performances, BLOOM events also include concerts, DJ sets and artistic interventions. Through this combination of different artistic expressions, BLOOM is intended to promote creativity as an essential contemporary value in a wide range of fields, including the economic area.
BLOOM’s young designers are currently coordinated by designer Paulo Cravo. Fashion schools are also associated with this project, taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise their students’ work and promote fashion training in Portugal. Porto Fashion School, Citex and ESAD – Matosinhos Higher Institute of Art and Design – have already taken part in BLOOM. Proof of the success of this event is the transition from BLOOM to the main catwalk by names such as Hugo Costa, Daniela Barros, Estelita Mendonça, Susana Bettencourt and, more recently, Carla Pontes and Mafalda Fonseca.
It was first held in October 2010, at the time of the 15th anniversary of Portugal Fashion, and soon proved to be a success in terms of the originality of the fashion proposals, the public it attracted and media attention. The focus on young designers has long been one of the fundamental elements of Portugal Fashion’s strategy. The event seeks to act as a lever of emerging talent in order to renew the national fashion panorama, to facilitate the integration of new designers in the labour market and to fill any gaps that companies in the textile, clothing and footwear industries may have in terms of design. To this end, the BLOOM project was designed with the aim of publicising the work of young fashion school graduates that show potential, as well as consolidating the results of all the promotional efforts that have been made on behalf of emerging designers who have previously taken part in Portugal Fashion.
By launching new promising talents, Portugal Fashion is also making the entire national fashion circuit more dynamic. More designers on the market means added value for industrial production and a higher number of activities in the Fashion Area (fashion shows, showrooms, trade fairs, auditions…), with all that this entails in terms of human resources (models, hairdressers, prop masters, makeup artists, sound and light technicians, photographers…) and material resources.
BLOOM has also been associated with Portugal Fashion’s internationalisation strategy, through fashion shows and showrooms. In fact, it has been promoting an itinerary that included Madrid, Vienna, London and Paris. Indeed, in these last two markets the BLOOM presence in showroom format was powered by Next Step, the project known as the 'commercial arm' of Portugal Fashion and whose action plan is also focused on young designers. Is in this context that bloomers have marked a frequent presence in the showrooms of London and Paris Fashion Weeks Menswear. Next Step project is based upon the observance of the small size of the internal market and focuses on Portuguese labels, specially the youngest, through an action plan that encourages both internationalisation and exports with added value. It provides support for competitiveness involving professionals and includes active support and services in the markets visited, but it also focuses on skills training (management, networking, expansion and internationalisation, prospection and sales force) with a view to attracting human, technological and even financial resources.