Sofia Lucas: “A new talent must have passion”
Sofia Lucas: “A new talent must have passion”
The SS18 edition of BLOOM IN, the editorial project associated with Bloom, featured a conversation with the Director of the revamped Vogue Portugal. Sofia Lucas' new project and Bloom both share the freshness of a flourishing ecosystem, as well as the ambition to support national fashion design. With a lot of initiatives like this in the works, Sofia Lucas believes that the editorial panorama must "open its doors to a mixture of national and international brands, whether in editorials, photo shoots or campaigns”.

What does the specialised press look for in terms of young talents?
They look for exactly the same thing they look for in established talents: creativity, quality and that touch of genius capable of amazing. New talents might not have experience, a highly developed network or economic backing, but they should always be passionate, dedicated and fully committed to design.

You have a new project on your hands as the editorial head of the new Vogue Portugal. Do you have any specific editorial coverage projects associated with young designers? 
One of the major commitments of the new direction to be taken by Vogue Portugal is, in fact, to position Portuguese fashion design worldwide. We've already thought up several projects and we want to put a series of ideas into practice. These will begin to take shape in the upcoming editions of the magazine, and on our online platforms too.

We believe that GQ has made you pay more attention to men's fashion, precisely at a time when menswear is emerging globally. Do you think Portugal has more talent in designer fashion for men or for women? How do you see the future of national fashion as regards this dichotomy?
I don't believe talent is divided by gender. The majority of designers clearly prefer women's fashion, but I believe this is due to the idea that still persists of a larger consumer market aimed at women. The global panorama is constantly changing, so I believe the same will apply to Portugal in the medium term.

What advice would you give young designers who are launching their label?
Hold true to your passion. Always. It's the only way to overcome all the difficulties, from the biggest to the smallest, that are par for the course for people who are trying to make things happen. Work hard and don't count on having it easy.

If you had to present the national fashion ecosystem to an international expert, how would you do it? Would you include new designers in your arguments?
Recently, Suzy Menkes, probably the best-known fashion editor in the world, came to Lisbon for the relaunch of Vogue Portugal. Such a visit does not happen every day and it lived up in every respect to Vogue Portugal's commitment and responsibility regarding the international positioning of Portuguese fashion. The visits organised by Vogue Portugal for Suzy Menkes to the studios of some designers were fundamental in terms of strengthening the ties between Portuguese fashion and truly international communication, through the eyes of the international editor of Vogue for Condé Nast and the undeniable recognition it has all over the world. But going back to the original question, Suzy's visit is the best answer to it. Due to scheduling issues, and to her and our dismay, her visit could not be extended to Porto this time, but her presence was as important at the new talent fashion shows as at those of more established designers. Indeed, it wouldn't be a fashion ecosystem if this presentation hadn't covered all kinds of talents, including emerging ones. We are planning to organise similar visits with some other designers whose studios are located in Porto.

How important are young designers to the future of fashion in Portugal?
They are as important as new cells in any living organism. As part of a whole new generation, with different opportunities and resources in this digital era, young designers are provided with a range of marketing and communication tools giving them a wider reach than, let's say, 20 years ago. Of course, the secret to success will depend on the quality of the work and its distinctiveness.

In your opinion, what do fashion designers in Portugal need to do to achieve more international recognition?
They still need to echo a sense of national pride. In such a small market and area, designers and production must learn to work together, to fight economy of scale. As for dissemination and communication, we must also get rid of the ghetto idea and open doors to a mixture of national and international brands, whether in editorials, photo shoots or campaigns. This distance is almost a tradition enrooted in the editorial panorama and the doors leading to the world can be opened here. Above all, we have to like ourselves.