New designers emerging from the Bloom laboratory
New designers emerging from the Bloom laboratory

They’re not test tube babies but they were definitely born in Bloom’s laboratory and multi-artistic space. They are young designers who learn to crawl and to take their first steps on a platform that hosts innovative fashion performances and fashion shows. It is certainly a big family, responsible for launching 34 children on the fashion industry market, which is not limited by national borders.

And as in all big families, mention must go to the patriarch, in this case, Miguel Flor. He has been the Bloom coordinator from the outset and is one of the main faces of the project. He is proud of "his children” and is delighted with the paths they take when they come out from under his wing, whether these are on the main catwalk of the national Portugal Fashion event (as has already been the case for Hugo Costa, Daniela Barros, Estelita Mendonça, Susana Bettencourt and, more recently, Carla Pontes and Mafalda Fonseca), or through participations in international events (the names already mentioned, as well as the K L A R label, which has already been present in  the showrooms at the London and Parish fashion weeks, and the HIBU. and [UN]T labels and Bloomer Pedro Neto, who took part in the International Fashion Showcase, part of the London Fashion Week programme).

But let’s talk some more about the international travels of the ex-Bloomers, such have been their feats in recent years. The most recent success story from this platform, which prepares its children to face the world, was Hugo Costa’s début at the Paris Fashion Week Menswear, with an individual fashion show on the official event programme in June 2016. This was also an important milestone for the Portugal Fashion project, which was at the event with a national designer for the first time ever. Another highlight was the recent collective fashion show by ex-Bloomers Daniela Barros and Susana Bettencourt (as well as the Pé de Chumbo label) at the prestigious Italian fashion event, Altaroma, which took place in Rome in July. If we take our time machine back four years, we can revisit the fashion shows by six young designers (Carla Pontes, Daniela Barros, Estelita Mendonça, Hugo Costa, Joana Ferreira and João Melo Costa) at the Matadero in Madrid. And if we come back to 2013, we can see the creations by Daniela Barros and Estelita Mendonça (at a time when they were still fledglings) on the catwalk at the Vienna Fashion Week.

A family that takes in new members

Isn’t it often said that when the table is set for a lot of people, "there’s always room for one more”? In fact, this is the philosophy underlying the big Bloom family. And this is why the Bloom Competition is held every two years. This competition will go down in the history of the parent project. The fourth competition was held in March, bringing new members into the fold: the winning label Amorphous, by young designer Carla Alves, as well as the talents of Inês Maia, Sara Marques and David Catalan.

In fact, the challenge has given the winners access to financial, technical, promotional and strategic support, aimed not only at helping them to develop their collections, but also at giving a professional structure to their activities. After all, it’s up to parents to do their best for their children. In addition to this rearguard support, the finalists are also given the opportunity to present their collections at Bloom at the next two national events.

A project favouring affirmation of the artistic identity

But why Bloom? The name wasn’t chosen at random. In English, it means flourish, blossom, prosper or glow. It is an excellent space that allows promising talents in national fashion to dare to experiment, to be bold in the incorporation of underground trends in their coordinates and to innovate in their artistic performances. This inspiration can be felt from the outset, in the set designs built under the guidance of Miguel Flor and which surprise every time, with new aesthetics and the use of unusual materials.

Considering the interventional nature of the role of the platform, which has allowed new talents in national fashion to be discovered through showcasing designers and labels, the parent project is getting ready to give its offspring more independence soon. But there are new challenges in the works and Bloom will certainly grab them with both hands. We won’t tell you what just yet, but if you pay attention, you’re sure to find out!

Bloomers: David Catalán, Eduardo Amorim, HIBU, Inês Torcato, K L A R, Maria Kobrock, Olímpia Davide, Pedro Neto, Sara Maia, [UN] T, and the high schools EMP, ESAD and Modatex.