A master's degree in London and a long trip through India planted an ever-growing skein of ideas in Joana Duarte's mind. The fashion designer was then lost in distant lands of dreams, slowly entangling herself in a love affair with untold stories. Songs sung by characters from the most diverse corners of the world, adventures narrated by fabrics that traverse the globe, and even chronicles adorned with crystals, saris, doilies and all kinds of embroideries. Out of these treasures found in her grandmother's chest or in flea markets and antique shops, Joana creates fashion for this day and age. But she doesn't do it alone: a banner of the connection of women through textiles, BÉHEN collaborates with small communities of woman artisans to give the rags of yore a second life. Thus is spun the romantic tale between the brand and the fashion that favours time, skill, beauty and durability. And from there sprout the seeds for a richer, more ethical and more sustainable world too.
FREEDOM IS A WOMAN'S NAME
BÉHEN’s SS22 collection, speaks of a female artistic identity in a dictatorship, which is made of gags written on the inside. Creating, communicating, producing, or the simple act of existing as a woman in a society of a very small human order was — and is — a trench of resistance. This collection runs through 15 names of the greater thought through 15 looks that are less clothes and more a study of the construction of meaning.
In addition to the continued work with artisans, such as bell-bottom pants, bedspreads, traditional embroidery — Madeira Embroidery, made from scratch by wise embroiderers — and denim pieces (made at Pizarro) do not gain a political dimension because Fashion has always been political. Fashion is freedom, even when Freedom, in Portugal, was not a woman's name.
With the support of Casa do Artista, which works every day for the deep recognition of professionals in the Arts, this spring is born from the stories about what it was like to live under Salazar that these 15 people — the women and men who fought for them — shared with fire in their voices. They are born from the pre-harpsichord stories, a period in which the body, opinion, personality and female presence broke the gray days with the strength of all armies and with the consequences of all wars. A period when war was about breathing. This isn’t, therefore, a collection about Portuguese Freedom Day: it is about the revolution in every day. A metalanguage of transformation, which needs to be expanded and shouted out while equality remains an utopia. There is hope in the power and firmness of these testimonies, and it is in this clarity of being that our tomorrow must lie.