Next Step in the four capitals of fashion
Next Step in the four capitals of fashion

In this return ANJE – National Association of Young Entrepreneurs launched the new calendar of international campaigns by the Next Step project, supporting the participation of young designers, established designers and national labels at world renowned fashion events. The return to London Fashion Week was the first stop on the travel itinerary. In fact, it was also a return for the participants themselves. In the commercial promotion space at Brewer Street Car Park – the headquarters of London Fashion Week – designers Alexandra Moura, Carla Pontes, Daniela Barros and Susana Bettencourt once again presented their collections between 16 and 20 September, but this time for next year's warm season.

During this new season of international fashion weeks (spring-summer 2017), the worldwide promotion of "made in” Portugal continued in other parts of the world. At the same time as the London Fashion Week calendar, the second stop was made in emblematic New York, more precisely at the Edit trade show. Designers Katty Xiomara, Luís Buchinho, the Storytailors duo and the Pé de Chumbo and TM Collection labels received the support of ANJE to promote business at this prestigious event, which took place from 18 to 20 September.

Back at the European fashion capitals, the Next Step project focus is on commercial promotion of the Portuguese label at the White trade show. Hugo Costa, Luís Buchinho, Pedro Pedro, Susana Bettencourt and the TM Collection label presented outfits designed for next year's warm season, between 24 and 26 September. The anticipation of valid business for the next warm season culminates with the return to Paris. In fact, the Next Step project will be doubly present in the City of Light. From 27 September to 5 October, young designers Carla Pontes, Daniela Barros and Susana Bettencourt were present on the sales and promotion platform at Paris Fashion Week. And also while the Paris Fashion Week calendar is underway, Tranoï Femme, an essential event in the world market for women's ready-to-wear fashion, were hosting the creations of Diogo Miranda and Luís Buchinho and the Babash and TM Collection labels, from 30 September to 3 October.

"Next Step is a proximity project, operating in conjunction with its beneficiaries and involving specialised professionals in carrying out a programme of preparation and mentoring that allows drawing up strategies for approaching the markets and maximising the opportunities inherent to each campaign”, said the president of ANJE, João Rafael Koehler. "The success of ANJE's campaigns thus far confirms that we are blazing trails and promoting the entire Portuguese fashion sector in international markets. In fact, the focus on the four main capitals of the fashion business nowadays and at world renowned trade shows is continuously reinforced by an intensive preparation and mentoring programme for the designers and labels supported, with a special focus on the younger ones. Therefore, we believe that this project operates as a true complement to the image component worked on under the scope of Portugal Fashion, an additional effort that adds economic value to our presence on the main international catwalks and that extends this work to other places”, added Mr Koehler.

Mentoring supports professionalisation of national fashion

Next Step began in late 2015 and, since then, the programme, which complements the promotional campaigns in the field, has evolved with the support of well-known national and foreign professionals who are responsible for providing monitoring for designers. This work is aimed particularly at younger designers and involves specialised consultants. It provides support for competitiveness 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.

Based upon the observance of the small size of the internal market the Next Step project focuses on Portuguese labels through an action plan that encourages both internationalisation and exports with added value. This is a project based on the needs of the companies involved (these companies are associated with each designer and label) and their responsiveness to establish an active presence in the global market.

Next Step 2015-2016 is a project financed by Portugal 2020, under the scope of Compete 2020 – Competitiveness and Internationalisation Operational Programme, with funds from the European Union, through the European Regional Development Fund.