Next Step returns to the fashion capitals
Next Step returns to the fashion capitals

The tour that Next Step project has prepared for this season has just started. The itinerary includes different international fashion fairs and the first stop was in London, from where the young creators Hugo Costa, Estelita Mendonça and K L R flew, to participate in the London Collections Men. The same designers are now preparing for a new round into the Paris Fashion Week Menswear, between 24th and 28th June. On Next Step map the following cities; Milan, New York and Shanghai.

With the opening of a new season of international fashion weeks (spring/summer 2017), the "made in" Portugal program for global promotion presents the road map for this second part of the year: in addition to the fashion capitals of London, Paris, Milan and New York, the Next Step (project promoted and run by ANJE - National Association of Young Entrepreneurs), put foward activities in Shanghai. The expanding zone reinforces the strategy "fit to the market", involving referenced fashion fairs which are adjusted to the profile of designers and labels involved.

"The Next Step is based on proximity, working near its beneficiaries, involving professionals in the execution of a mentoring and preparation program, which allows the design of strategic approaches to different markets and maximizes the opportunities of every action" says the president of ANJE, João Rafael Koehler. "The success of these actions powered by ANJE near Portuguese designers and fashion labels allows us now to present Next Step under the epithet of 'commercial arm' of Portugal Fashion. This is a true complement to the image component worked in the Portugal Fashion, an additional effort that adds economic value to the presence in the main international catwalks, which is being expanded now to other regions, as it is the case of Shanghai " the president added.

The incredible results of menswear in the fashion industry

The Next Step starts a new semester of actions giving close attention to a growing potential segment - menswear -  in the national and international fashion scene. One recent proof of it's growth of London Collections Men showroom, which set up the first stop on this newer itinerary map. The British Fashion Council's warranty seal and the integration in the menswear official fashion week allow to distinguish the event in terms of business and visibility opportunities granted to Portuguese designers. ANJE seeks to boost such opportunities through the collaboration of a group of local consultants responsible for monitoring designers and for guiding promotional work close to buyers and specialized press. This consultancy will now continue in the counterpart Paris Fashion Week Menswear, again with Hugo Costa, KLAR and Estelita Mendonça, between the 24th and 28th June.

In September, with the arrival of Female Fashion Weeks, the Next Step program intensifies and also redirects to the cities that receive the most popular catwalks. The showroom of London Fashion Week opens the season from 16th to 20th September, followed by New York with the second participation in a year in the Edit showroom, between 18 and 20 September. Then the return to the European continent with the White Milano, between 24th and 26th September. In Paris, the Next Step supports designers and labels in two events during the official fashion week: Paris Fashion Week Women SS17 (27th September to 5th October) and Tranoi Paris (30th September to 3rd October 2016) . Completed the major fashion weeks, the project heads to the eastm from 11th to 13th October,  to support the participation of designers and labels at Pure Shanghai, the most influential fashion fair in China.

Mentoring supports professionalisation of national fashion

Next Step got off the ground in late 2015 with the season of presentations for the following summer. Since then, this 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 specialised monitoring for designers. This monitoring 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.

The Next Step project is based upon the observance of the small size of the internal market and focuses on Portuguese labels 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 to establish an active presence in the global market.

Next Step 2015-2016 is a project supported by Portugal 2020 under the auspices of Compete 2020 - Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation, with European Union funds of European Regional Development Fund.