Portugal Fashion at Altaroma with Inês Torcato, David Catalán and Nycole
Portugal Fashion at Altaroma with Inês Torcato, David Catalán and Nycole
The third international event on Portugal Fashion's fall/winter 2018-19 itinerary was in Italy last weekend, more precisely at the Altaroma fashion week. After the Men's Fashion Weeks in Milan and Paris, the project travelled to Rome to promote young national talents. The fashion show by the designers on the Bloom platform, David Catalán, Inês Torcato and Nycole, was on 28 January, in the Guido Reni District cultural centre. In its third showing on the Altaroma calendar, Portugal Fashion has decided to focus only on new designers and consolidated a strategic partnership with the renowned Italian organisation aimed at establishing regular synergies with regard to identifying, supporting and publicising young designers.  

This fashion show, and the entire partnership, took off at the Altaroma Fashion Hub project. In addition to revealing young Italian designers who stand out for their avant-garde collections and were discovered through the "Who Is On Next?” competition, the Fashion Hub also seeks to reveal new designers who have been blazing a promising trail in other European countries, preferably giving more emphasis to those who have already begun their internationalisation processes. To this end, Altaroma and Vogue Italia work together on what is a permanent scouting initiative.  

"Bloom is Portugal Fashion's catalyst, our guarantee of renovation in national fashion. And as is the case nowadays in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, Bloom's high potential projects are "born global” labels, whose success is dependent on internationalisation. Portugal Fashion is focusing more and more on the tools for accelerating these young fashion and design projects, providing them with the conditions and opportunities for promotion on the national and international markets”, said Adelino Costa Matos, President of ANJE. "Its proximity to Altaroma falls under this framework. In fact, we have realised that Bloom and Portugal Fashion have much in common with Altaroma and all its dynamics. Many synergies are already being established. This Sunday's fashion show is an example of this, and is also a sign of how important this market is for our talents. Indeed, this partnership allows us to benefit from Altaroma's experience and network, with all the underlying advantages of support and communication”, he added. 

Showroom complements fashion show at Italian hub 

The men's fashion weeks set the scene and Portugal Fashion began its international fall/winter 2018-19 campaign with the Portuguese creations for men in Milan and in Paris. In the city of light, in addition to Hugo Costa's presentation, part of the official calendar of the fashion week, Portugal Fashion also supported the showroom appearances of young designers Inês Torcato, David Catalán and Nycole. This trio, who is among the talents to keep an eye on in terms of men's fashion (Inês Torcato also features proposals for women), has put on a presentation in fashion show format in Rome, although the fashion week is not devoted to the menswear segment alone. 

Participation in Altaroma was also complemented by the presentation of the collection in showroom format. At this event, the commercial arm of Portugal Fashion, Next Step, has focused on the proximity between the fashion show's promotional campaign and the commercial campaign through the exhibition of the collection to buyers. The dynamics of the Fashion Hub project, focused on multiple ways of identifying and promoting new talents, justified this. The three Bloomers were thus able to make the most of the platform, presenting their collections on the catwalk with all the styling and communication logic associated with this moment and, in addition, providing the different audiences, especially the international buyers, with the possibility of closer, more immediate contact with the items presented. 

A focus on national menswear marks Bloom's début at Altaroma 

This was Inês Torcato's first international fashion show. The young designer from Porto, with a degree in Fashion Design from ESAD Matosinhos, was one of the winners at the Bloom Portugal Fashion Competition in 2016 and has been receiving support from the platform since then. In her own words, Inês Torcato's label has "aesthetics based on the reinterpretation of the classics and the exploration of new formal elements”. For winter 2018-19, she is presenting her "Self-Portrait (Touch)” collection, based on the "concept of a self-portrait”. According to Inês Torcato, this is "a play on material textures with very different fabrics, such as cashmere and wool mixed with waterproof nylons and papery transparencies”. As for colours, the focus of the young designer was black, white, greys, browns and aubergine. In a collection where touch is what really sets it apart, Inês has incorporated an innovation: "a partnership with writer and lyricist Regina Guimarães for writing for prints”. The aim, she maintains, is to add "a new graphic language and the meaning of touch”. 

David Catalán, like Inês Torcato, has been receiving support from Portugal Fashion since his success at the Bloom Portugal Fashion Competition in 2016. Born in Spain, where he began his training in the area, the young designer now lives in Porto. He has a degree in Clothing and Fashion Design from ESAD (Higher Institute of Art and Design) in Matosinhos. He has been presenting collections since 2014, on the EGO platform at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Madrid, an international experience in fashion show format, added to his participation at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul. He has also taken part in events such as the International Fashion Showcase in London and was award the Mediterranean Fashion Prize, organised by Maison Méditererranéenne des Métiers de la Mode, in Marseilles, as well as being selected by the programme, The Future of Fashion, a partnership between Who's Next Paris and Not Just a Label. More recently, he took part in the project, The Latest Fashion Buzz, at Pitti Uomo 92, in a partnership with L’uomo Vogue, GQ and Mini. 

For next winter, David Catalán is proposing a collection he sees as a journey to his own childhood. Among the personal elements he uses as an allusion to his career, there is an "aesthetic easily associated with scouting”. "The morality existing in this kind of association” is highlighted as an essential in the process of constructing the clothes, and the designer says that he has transposed "this kind of extremely positive moral imposition” to our daily lives, through embroidered messages and patches. 

Finally, the Nycole label was invited to join the Bloom Portugal Fashion platform at the beginning of last year, and took its first international steps, still in 2017, in showroom format. The menswear label based in Porto, which stands out for its inspiration in classic menswear and for sportswear details, was at Paris Fashion Week with the support of Next Step to promote the SS18 collection. An order was placed by a Japanese shop at this first international showroom. Founded by young designer Tânia Nicole, the Nycole label took first place in the ACTE European Young Designers Competition in Italy and, following the FASHIONCLASH prize, she was invited to present her collection in Maastricht in the Netherlands. 
For winter 2018-19, Nycole proposes the "Unknown” collection, inspired by the creative universe of the young English musician, King Krule. "His hip-hop influences, his obscure lyrics and his look were the starting point for the development of this collection”, explained Tânia Nicole. As the young designer also said, the world of hip-hop "brought wide silhouettes and some iconic items, such as baseball shirts, sweatshirts and quilted jackets”. The more graphical side of the collection is influenced by the lyrics of Krule's songs, and there is also a fusion between his retro look and the sporty details of the hip-hop look. 

Bloom Competitions: eight new names incubating 

Meanwhile, here at home, Bloom continues with its commitment to contribute permanently to the renovation of national fashion: the eight finalists for the Bloom Competition 2017 have been selected. Ana Eusébio and Catarina Gonçalves, Carolina Sobral, Diana Quintal, Mara Flora Costa, Maria Meira, Patrícia Augusta, Rita Carvalho and Sara Cruz will now have the opportunity to present their collections at Bloom in March, during Portugal Fashion's Fall/Winter 2018-2019 event. The fashion show will be the third and final phase of the competition and the two winners will be announced immediately afterwards. 

After the selection of the 12 dossiers for the competition, the second phase of the competition selected eight candidates, all women this time round, based on the production of a specific coordinate that they were able to exhibit and defend before the panel of judges in early January. At the same time as the presentation of their work in fashion show format next March, the third stage of the competition, the candidates will also be assessed by the panel of judges backstage in order to ensure the collection corresponds to the selected project. The decision will then be announced at the end of the fashion show.

The two young designers that win the Bloom Competition will be able to benefit from a wide range of prizes. In addition to the opportunity to present their collections at Portugal Fashion in October 2018 and March 2019, the winners will also receive mentoring and guidance from the Bloom platform, as well as technical support in the fashion show. In addition to all of this, there is also a financial incentive of €2,000 for producing and developing future work. 

The focus on young designers is undoubtedly one of the main strategic strengths of Portugal Fashion’s strategy. The project is intended to act as a springboard for new talents, in order to renovate the national fashion panorama and support the integration of new designers into the production and distribution chain. These competitions aimed at emerging talents were introduced in 2004 and have already been responsible for launching names like Carla Pontes and Diogo Miranda and, more recently, Sara Maia, Olimpia Davide, Beatriz Bettencourt, David Catalán and Inês Torcato on the market.

Next Step (a project run by ANJE) and Portugal Fashion (a project run by ANJE – National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, developed in partnership with ATP – Textile and Apparel Association of Portugal) are financed by Portugal 2020, under the scope of Compete 2020 – Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation, with funding from the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.