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PORTUGAL DESIGN


Tech, the world’s first mask to inac- tivate SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19. Created in the labs of fash- ion and textiles business Adalberto, it hit the market in April and quickly became available overseas. Its underlying technology is a fin- ishing that minimises garments’ washing requirements. It was pre- sented at Paris’s Première Vision showin February 2020, but when Covid-19 hit Europe shortly after, Adalberto realised it could serve a greater purpose. “The antimicrobial finishing


kills bacteria in clothes,” explains Susana Serrano, chief executive of Adalberto.“We studied and altered the formula for the virus, applied it tomasks, and then partnered with universities to have it tested and cer- tified.” There are nowother masks that kill SARS-CoV-2, but they have not proven to be as effective under the antiviral standard set by the International Organization for Standardization. Adalberto is also working to


improve the traceability of its gar- ments “with the aim to become a model of transparency”, says Ms Serrano. “Via a QR code, we can show where the materials came from, how many kilometres it has been trans- ported, howmuch water the process consumed, and so on.” This experimentation underpins


Adalberto’s philosophy. “All our pro- jects are based on our three values— innovation, sustainability and social responsibility—and each involves a small component of technology,” says Ms Serrano.“We don’t follow the trends set bymajor brands.”


Newface ofPortuguese design Another local company not follow- ing trends is furniture creator Urbanmint. Its inspired founder and chief executive, Paula Sousa, was working as an interior designer in the late 2000s when she realised most brands were strictly contempo- rary or classic. She had the vision to create something unique — “the new classics”, she calls it — and her home country was perfectly equipped to deliver it. “I travel a lot and I realised there


weren’t many countries with the skills and resources of Portuguese artisans who were still making things by hand,” says Ms Sousa. “It gave me an idea: I wanted to help create a new international identity of Portuguese design.” She con-


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vinced craftsmen hit by the global financial crisis and on the brink of shutting shop to transformtheir studios and become her suppliers. Now, 13 years later, her two brands — Munna and Ginger & Jagger — count Dior, Cartier, Fendi, Van Cleef & Arpels, Four Seasons and Oscar- winner Hilary Swank as clients. Munna has won eight international design awards. Ginger&Jagger embodies the


environment’s forms and contours, and is Ms Sousa’s way of “immortal- ising nature in [her] products”. At the heart of both brands are hand- made processes and traditional arti- sanry, sometimes combining three techniques in one product. “What really defines us as crea-


tives is authenticity.Weare using our heritage of craftsmanship— which is particularly strong around Porto—by working with artisans who have spent years with their par- ents and grandparents learning their skill,” says Ms Sousa. “This is part of our history and we can’t let it die. So, I’mdoingmypart.”


Fromfollowers to leaders Urbanmint’s conquest of the luxury brands market epitomises the trans- formation of Portugal’s fashion and furnishings industries. Once known predominantly for textiles, an increasingnumber of businesses are vertically integrated andmaking a namefor themselves in design. Paulo Coelho Lima, chief execu-


tive of hometextiles specialist Lameirinho, recalls howthe family- owned business’s operations have evolved over its 70-odd years. “In the past, customers used to


bring their own designs to us, asking us to reproduce themfor their brands,” he says. “Nowadays, as we have a very high-skilled teamin our design department; our customers ask uswhat we have to propose.” This message is filtering out into


export markets. “Portugal was always known for doing well what it was told to do. But, over the years, we have improved our knowledge, skills and creativity,” says Mr Coelho Lima. “Nowadays ‘Made in Portugal’ means quality, creativity, innovation and trust.” True to the region’s industrial


roots, thismovementis driven from the ground up. “In Portugal, design is not a political strategy,” saysMsSousa. “The entrepreneurs in this industry, weare doing it by ourselves.”■


www.fDiIntelligence.com February/March 2021


THIS IS PART OFOUR HISTORYANDWE CAN’T LET IT DIE. SO, I’M DOINGMYPART


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