BÉHEN is a project created by an avid dreamer that travels to lands beyond the sun, but always leaves a foot in Portugal. Joana Duarte, Fashion Designer, went to London for her master's degree at Kingston University, and started to fall in love with untold stories. Those with adventures colored by saris, bérber tribes and other characters who took her with them. She easily gets lost in distant lands of dreams and lets herself go by songs from other countries and fabrics that travel the world. Today, she focuses on making garments with old bedspreads and all the other fabrics that she can find in her grandmother's trunk.
Based in sunny Portugal but firstly imagined in India, BÉHEN believes in fashion being waistless and in one-off clothes made of antique textiles or textiles weaved with the magic of time in faraway lands. A brand born to be a storyteller, it tells the tales of women singing in hindi and dancing under Rajasthan’s sun. Women who step on the Portuguese sidewalk with ‘saudade’ on their chest. Women who saw the sunrise in Syria but don’t close their eyes to darkness. Women who want to change the world. Clothes ethically made by women communities around the world supporting Syrian boy’s and girl’s education.
I have left behind the land of mangoes and tamarind
And have come to the land of wild petunias
Mother, you married me off to a place in the desert far away
Morubai, song of the Jogi Nath Kalbelia tribe
A tale told by cloth. Of women from far and near our hearts. Cloths that tell us the knowledge of time and that, together, are layette or “enxoval”, as we call it in Portuguese. The celebration of women and of cloths in the drawers. This collection was possible thanks to the collaboration and efforts of many women who, with the designer, believed in the magic of unity. Together with Aga Khan Foundation and Madalena Toscany Atelier, the clothes were made by real life fairies: lex bouquet made real dreams about vegetables and flowers turned into jewelry; Buketnaya lavka mimimi created shoes that are real bouquets with actual fresh flowers and the beautiful hand-made glass beads from the powerful ladies at Cooperativa de Valorização de Resíduos from São Tomé and Príncipe. The majority of the textiles used are from the designer’s grandmother collection or bought at flea markets all over the world.