Porto, Fashion City

It is urgent that Porto, as a city of enormous creativity, of strong production capabilities, and rich in new urban and cultural experiences, is recognized as a capital of fashion and creation on a global scale.
Text by Porto Fashion Makers Team
Insights Think Piece
September 08, 2014 14:49

Fashion and City are inseparable concepts. The evolution of fashion is intrinsically linked to the definition of identity and cultural development of the city. When Paris became the first “Fashion City" due to its strong history in tailoring and the extravagance of the seventeenth century, the concept of being "in fashion" was already defined by urban behavior and vice versa. In the late nineteenth century, fashion was already recognized as a commodity and a way to set a city apart. Paris represented female glamor while London was the home of male tailoring. Later, New York and Chicago increased the democratization of fashion as a profitable business and, with their innovations in industrial production, also became major fashion capitals. Many other examples emphasize and validate the idea that fashion plays a fundamental role in the definition of urban identity and that the city itself is instrumental in the creation of fashion. Today, brands like Dior are still the symbol of Parisian elegance and extravagance.

Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, renowned brands in the contemporary world, continue to use sensuality and Victorian melodrama as non-ironic inspirations in their creations. The truth is that the production and consumption of certain genres or styles in any given city was never divorced from concepts such as architectural growth, cosmopolitan cultural consumption and tourism development. Therefore, museums, patrimony, schools, galleries, restaurants, shops, people, places and behaviors are a source of inspiration and encouragement of creativity in many areas of urban life and around the world. Thus, both the historical context and the contemporary dimension of lifestyles contribute to the process of creating each city. The knowledge and strengthening of the connection between culture, creation and fashion thus constitutes a major challenge for today's cities and is accepted as a fundamental contribution to their social, economic and cultural development. In the era of globalization, where information travels at the speed of light and physical barriers are disappearing, a question is raised:

Where will the future capitals of fashion be? The answer lies in a new interpretation of the economic and cultural context of the emerging cities.

History tells us that times of crisis, of any nature, push creative people towards innovation without limits or barriers. When economic, political or social capital fails, creative movements become the new urban capital. Shanghai, Mumbai, São Paulo and Johannesburg are clear examples of new capitals of fashion and creation that employed disruptive movements of the predefined concepts. These new centers of creation and production are also, and increasingly so, the stage of the biggest events in the industry, thus reaffirming their positions as capitals of fashion. It is therefore in this context that the concept of Porto as a Fashion City arises.

Porto is the center of a territory as culturally wealthy as any of the major European capitals (though on a smaller scale) and has been increasingly recognized nationally and internationally as the intersection of a unique cultural expression, a distinctive urban character and an intriguing cosmopolitan offering. Such wealth, combined with the strong historical roots of industrial production in the fashion sector of the north of Portugal, makes Porto the distinguished center of the region that supplies the world with textile, footwear, jewelry and furniture. But Porto does not just settle with production. World-renowned architects, communication designers honored at major international festivals, illustrators and photographers who work for catalogs of major global brands, fashion designers who design for renowned shoe brands, product designers who develop projects for major international luxury brands, experts who create innovative solutions for the car industry and technical textiles for prestigious sports brands:

What do these people have in common? Porto: their home, their office and their place of inspiration.

It is urgent that Porto, as a city of enormous creativity, of strong production capabilities, and rich in new urban and cultural experiences, is recognized as a capital of fashion and creation on a global scale. Thus, Porto Fashion Makers proposes to be the vehicle of communication between all these areas, and also to contribute to position the city, its creative people and their brands on the global map. Porto Fashion Makers establishes the connection between all of these vectors into a single platform: a meeting platform between people, places and lifestyles, where Porto fashions are the focus. From artists, creative directors, designers, illustrators, chefs, communication agencies, surfers, seamstresses, workers, entrepreneurs, and many others, Porto Fashion Makers will make known all those who comprise the fashion ecosystem and the local urban setting; it will offer a stage and a voice to those who do, those who think and those who live the city. We pledge, therefore, to connect the city's culture, emerging creativity and the fashion makers of the city and the region. It will be in this connection of the various links in the chain of value of fashion and lifestyle that we will distinguish ourselves. It is through this locally-owned movement of global thought that we are going to build, every day, a new vision of Porto, Fashion City.