The second day of the ModaLisboa’s Check Point platform, organized in partnership with Catalyst Future Fashion and Global Fashion Exchange, was dedicated to the analysis of Portuguese business models. Moderated by Patrick Duffy, several professional who are driving change reflected about the actual fashion industry.
Maria Guedes is the author of Stylista, a fashion and lifestyle platform that already has 10 years. Her passion for construction, materials and cut culminated with her latest project, a namesake brand that wants to explore the path to responsible design.
António Vasconcelos is one of the founders of ‘The Natura Step’ organization. With a background in business strategy, his work stands out for its collaboration with leaders from around the world to transform and evolve.
Joana Cunha is the social impact entrepreneur behind Fair Bazaar, a Marketplace born in 2017, which connects conscious consumers with brands and sustainable products. Today they count with a network of 50 brands that sell worldwide.
Ana Rita Clara is a television hostess and founder of the global organization for social impact, Change It, dedicated to social exchange and the promotion of new events in the field, all of this while being aligned with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals da ONU.
Daniel Mota Pinto is strategy director and business development of Scoop, a sports apparel company. Its focus is the ethical and responsible production and the creation of humanitarian partnerships under a common global objective.
Despite the connection for the same goal - the game-changing for a better world - a roundtable allowed us to receive different insights from every guest as topics such as innovation, branded DNA, the consumer, and the role of the media were addressed. The conversation began with a contextualization of what is going on in the world right now, and how the fashion industry relates to it.
António Vasconcelos explained that the first step is a clear understanding of what sustainability is: It is not only to point the finger to a certain material (plastic) and to propose a solution (paper). The SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) from the Nações Unidas can be used as a compass in meeting the definition, however the complement of global policies is necessary. When we talk of fashion, it is important to anticipate in order to stay healthy: The industry only shows a symptomatic fever of a much larger problem, which can only be solved if we understand the lack of limits and responsibility in the way we have produced and consumed fashion. Summarizing, it is important to understand what we are talking about in order to act correctly.
When we are talking about goals, no matter the scale in which we operate, Maria Guedes and Daniel Pinto proved that everything is possible and that Portugal needs its small players.
Regarding the low-quality products that we can find everywhere, Maria Guedes wanted to create a brand that would elevate once-dominant values such as simplicity and durability. The reduced scale of her business allows her to produce in small quantities, and to maintain a closer relationship with her production chain that most of times is made with deadstock materials from factories.
Daniel Pinto told us that, in Scoop's case, the company’s biggest focus has been on people and respect and appreciation for their work and quality of life, both inside and outside the professional sphere. Between 2000 and 2016, they obtained certifications related to the environment, quality and social responsibility, which proved to be a great investment for a company of only 70 workers. Despite their size, they quickly realized that their impact could increase through their customers. And that was how a collaboration with PVH Group (Tommy Hilfiger) was born, which allowed them to save three million liters of water by reusing deadstock for a loungewear capsule collection.
Moving on to the consumer sphere, Joana Cunha told us that she was her first customer herself: Fair Bazaar was born out of a desire to change its consumer habits, and to offer exposure and communication tools to sustainable brands. The first step was to open a physical store in Lisbon, and later a marketplace that would allow a worldwide reach. Its clients were mostly foreigners, but Joana is proud to see a growing influx of Portuguese consumers, thanks to changing habits and media communication.
Speaking of the important role of media in disseminating information, Ana Rita Clara is an example of how communication work can be done inside and outside the door. Sustainability is one of the most recurring themes of her television show, “Makes Sense,” but the need to make it happen outside of television and to be closer to people and their stories led her to found Change It in 2014. Ana Rita is moved by the idea that we are all change makers, and that we can not only change our lives, but also inspire change in others, and Change it wants to continue to actively participate in that movement through discovery and sharing of disruptive projects, and networking.
When asked what will be the ultimate driver of the responsible future, Joana Cunha and Daniel Pinto believe that education is the biggest social lift we have. It is necessary to educate not only current generations, but also those who will operate the future, so that evolution does not stop happening. Patrick Duffy reinforced that design and manufacturing professionals also need to be exposed to re-education, so they can rethink their work in light of new and future realities.
For Maria Guedes and Ana Rita Clara, awareness is an equally powerful tool: those who can reach large masses have the responsibility to pass the message on loop, until it is rooted in everyone's mind. Only in this way can we transform this awareness into concrete actions made by all and for all.
We can conclude this roundtable with a statement made by António Vasconcelos. “There is a great momentum to form and so it is very important to start acting as soon as possible; We have to stop collecting information, because analyzing is synonymous with paralysis. Let us start today with concrete actions, and communicating those same actions, so that more and more people jump onto the boat. There is already more than enough evidence that there is a problem, and it needs to be solved by setting foot in 2030 and looking at the present. Events like this talk must be honored with due practice; disruption, innovation and radical transformation are the keys to the future.”