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K L A R, Estelita Mendonça and Hugo Costa in the city of light
K L A R, Estelita Mendonça and Hugo Costa in the city of light

The kick-off of the new season by the Next Step project at London Collections Men, where young designers Estelita Mendonça, Hugo Costa and the K L A R label were present, was followed by Paris on the itinerary of international presentations. The same designers were part of the Portuguese delegation in the visit to the French capital to reinforce the promotion of their collections. The trends for spring-summer 2017 were in the sights of the buyers, international press and fashion scouters.

It was in the last week of June that the same trio fresh from London ventured into the Paris Fashion Week Menswear showroom. Benefiting from the support for internationalisation from the commercial arm of Portugal Fashion – Next Step – the young designers increased their visibility in a market that is one of the epicentres of the world fashion industry. In fact, this venture has an associated recent past: in January this year, Hugo Costa and K L A R label (formed by Andreia Oliveira, Alexandre Marrafeiro and Tiago Carneiro) took part in the event, in the company of Mafalda Fonseca. This time, the participation of the Portuguese designers was completed with Estelita Mendonça.

Bearing in mind the selected, specialised audience that usually visits the showrooms, the proposals for the next warm season were not only on exhibition, they were also noticed in several photo shoots posted on social media. An example of this new trend, more immediate publication of the designs, is the editorial on Estelita Mendonça in Fucking Young!, or the sharing by the designers themselves, who made their presence felt in this way on this complementary Paris Men’s Fashion Week programme. It can also be seen in the reposts by Hugo Costa and the  K L A R label, or the posts by the models themselves, such as this publication made by Saaed Easlise on his Instagram personal page.

About the Next Step project

Given the small size of the internal market, the Next Step project focuses on Portuguese designers through an action plan that encourages both internationalisation and exports with added value. This is a project of proximity based on the needs of the companies involved (these companies are associated with each designer and label) and their responsiveness in establishing an active presence in the global market. They thus facilitate points of contact, create multi-disciplinary networks leveraging the business and shape strategies for the future that will drive the expansion of the business.

It should also be noted that the participation at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week was not limited to the commercial aspect of the showroom (which had production support from the Heavy London Showroom). The strengthening of the image of young national designers was also noted by Portugal Fashion’s début on the Paris catwalk with Hugo Costa. In fact, this is also a milestone in the career of the young designer from São João da Madeira, who had his first individual international fashion show in the city of light.

* Photo credits: Ray @raydeeo_ from @dam_models wearing K L A R 
   Photography & styling Iolsi @iolsi