Since their inception in 1851, World Expos are a space for innovation, knowledge and sharing the world’s best achievements. They have presented us with iconic buildings like the Eiffel Tower, innovations such as the telephone, the computer or even popcorn and ice cream cones. Postponed due to the global pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai will now run from October 2021 and presents a new opportunity for Portugal to show what it does best, a decade after the participation in Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
With that in mind, César Araújo, the president of ANIVEC — Portuguese Association for Clothing and Apparel Industries, challenged AICEP – Portugal Global Trade & Investment Agency, to increase the Portuguese expertise on show by creating uniforms for the teams in the Portugal Pavilion. Under the coordination of CENIT — Portuguese Centre of Intelligence for the Textile Industry and ANIVEC, in collaboration with APICCAPS and endorsed by MODAPORTUGAL, a group of 11 companies — Belcinto, Calvelex, Carité, Lameirinho, Marfel, Paulo de Oliveira, Polopiqué, Riopele, Trotinete, Twintex and Vandoma — made the uniforms, from clothing to footwear and accessories. They were designed by the Portuguese fashion designer Filipe Augusto in a project curated by Miguel Flor.
This project truly fills us with pride, and is an excellent representation of the strength of the Portuguese fashion industry. A complete industry with superior quality in both design and manufacturing and a strong environmental focus. In fashion, as in other business areas, the ‘Made in Portugal’ label adds value. As the Expo 2020 Dubai presentation aptly puts it, when the world comes together we create a better tomorrow. The same happens within the Portuguese fashion industry — we have an industry capable of responding to all needs, with quality, agility, sustainability and design.
Luís Hall Figueiredo
Vice President of ANIVEC and Chairman of the Board of Directors of CENIT
“At a time of resilience for the entire industry, we should all be inspired by the Portuguese Discoveries to unveil new pathways”, says César Araújo, the president of ANIVEC and CEO of Calvelex and continues, “Arriving in Dubai is another proof of the ability to work together on an unifying project, translating into a product that will show the world the very best of what is ‘Made in Portugal’. Now is a time to unite, fight and show that we are excellent! The fashion ecosystem is a natural ecosystem for Portugal, a country that can produce the best in Europe and worldwide. A country that needs to finally take its place at the foreground of the fashion market.”
César Araújo’s words perfectly convey “Portugal’s positioning at Expo 2020 Dubai and the theme of its participation: Portugal, a World in a Country,” explains Luís Castro Henriques, the General Commissioner of Portugal for Expo 2020 Dubai and President of AICEP. He continues, “We present ourselves as a diverse and inclusive country. A country that has always taken its culture across borders and welcomed others, that once connected the world through the seas and a country that is, as it has always been, open to the world. Whether in the Portugal Pavilion or through the cultural and economic programming, we aim to show our best: from our tourist destinations to our culture, from science to entrepreneurship, from innovation to gastronomy, including our renewable energies, fashion, jewellery and design. With the emphasis on the link that connects everything: talent”, he emphasises.
We present ourselves as a diverse and inclusive country. A country that has always taken its culture across borders and welcomed others, that once connected the world through the seas and a country that is, as it has always been, open to the world.
“We will be able to leverage this further by creating a virtuous circle in which ModaPortugal and its various brands support each other, through a coordinated and focused effort. This implies greater selectivity in the messages. Fewer, more effective messages. All telling the same story and under the same brand,” continues Castro Henriques. “We do not benefit from multiplying messages and brands when we are promoting the same thing. The path is one of selection and effectiveness. When we achieve this we will be truly integrating the promotion of the sector into the ModaPortugal brand and promoting the country with greater consistency and effectiveness as well as managing public resources more efficiently.”
Castro Henriques also believes Expo 2020 Dubai is the perfect stage to promote the country’s image. “Given the excellence of the textile and clothing sector in Portugal and the fact that the Expo will be visited by millions of people, there is nothing better than to take advantage of this stage to show the best that Portugal has to offer.” The President of AICEP also said, “The joint work that has been undertaken is worthy of deep recognition” and predicts that the Portugal Pavilion’s team uniforms “will be a huge success and will be among the best uniforms of the participating countries.”
We do not benefit from multiplying messages and brands when we are promoting the same thing. The path is one of selection and effectiveness.
The starting point for defining the concept of the uniforms was to think about “Which elements of Portuguese culture are also present in other cultures, especially Arabic culture”, explains Filipe Augusto, the fashion designer awarded Best Portuguese Collection at the Fashion Design ModaPortugal competition and the winner of the FashionClash Festival award in Maastricht. The patterns of traditional Portuguese tiles emerged as a shared reference with Arabic culture and Filipe Augusto decided that the scarf would be the key element for the uniforms, “I opted for a monochromatic palette of white and blue — a classic inspiration with a touch of design,” he explains.
Portugal’s visual memory is revisited through these geometric patterns. The compositions are repeated, coordinated and multiplied to present an irreverent, refined and contemporary country. “This unconventional mix of patterns and fabric was designed to give dynamics to the Portugal Pavilion,” the designer says. “On one hand, we can easily identify staff, whether they are from the management team, assistants, volunteers or others. On the other hand, an element of surprise is always present as we can’t know exactly which total look these ‘graphic pivots’ will be wearing the next day,” he adds.
The patterns of traditional Portuguese tiles emerged as a shared reference with Arabic culture and Filipe Augusto decided that the scarf would be the key element for the uniforms.
“There is an aesthetic using patterns, types of pieces and details, which goes beyond the stereotype of what a uniform is,” says Filipe Augusto. Some examples are the backstitched creases on men’s blazers, a clear “reference to the stiffer and squarer part of the Portugal Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai”. Or replacing the lapel with a silk scarf on the women’s blazer. The fashion designer’s work was carried out under the watchful eye of the project’s curator Miguel Flor, who was also responsible for researching references, co-creating mood-boards and being in close contact with the textile, manufacturing, footwear and accessories factories.
“Based on an element that perfectly represents our culture — the ceramic tile — both classic and bold patterns were achieved. I believe that Portugal is beautifully represented and I would even venture to say that our country will be one of the most eye-catching in terms of uniforms,” comments Ana Lisa, CEO of Vandoma, the Portuguese company responsible for making the scarves and ties. She also emphasises, “Despite the negative corporate stigma that the term uniform still holds, this project managed to create outfits, which, on one hand, due to the quality of the fabric, the colours and the patterns represent the Portuguese traditions and know-how and, on the other hand, are uniforms that the teams will enjoy wearing because of the very soft touch and high level of comfort.”
I believe that Portugal is beautifully represented and I would even venture to say that our country will be one of the most eye-catching in terms of uniforms.
The fabrics selected to make the blazers and trousers were provided by Paulo de Oliveira, a family business specialising in wool fabrics, which is globally recognised for its integrity, quality and innovation. “We were all born into the textile industry, we have a great passion and dedication to this industry. We enjoy doing what we do and this passion feeds a know-how that sets us apart,” shares Paulo Oliveira, CEO of his eponymous company. “Today we have conquered a modern and competitive industry, one that is globally known for its high-quality products and excellent service. We are trustworthy and we have learned to be resilient,” he says and adds, “This union demonstrates that when the Portuguese textile, clothing and fashion industry cooperates, fantastic things can happen.”
Today we have conquered a modern and competitive industry, one that is globally known for its high-quality products and excellent service. We are trustworthy and we have learned to be resilient.
Riopele, another leader in the Portuguese textile sector, provided the fabrics for shirts, over-shirts, aprons, skirts and pants. The President of Riopele, José Alexandre Oliveira, sees this collaboration between Portuguese companies as a “very positive outcome”. In his opinion, there is a joint responsibility to “continue this path of close cooperation and mutual support”. For the President of Riopele, initiatives like this are “opportunities to promote the international presence of the textile and clothing industry as a credible, modernised and respected sector. A sector which has been able to reinvent itself through constant investment in innovation, technology, quality and product differentiation”.
The manufacturing of the various uniform items was distributed according to areas of specialisation. The production of men’s suits and trousers was the responsibility of Twintex. Women’s blazers, trousers and skirts were made by Calvelex. All shirts were made by Marfel. Trotinete was responsible for the production of over-shirts and aprons. The t-shirts were made by Polopiqué, a 100% vertical company, which handled the entire production from the selection of sustainable organic cotton through to printing and manufacturing. The remaining prints were made by Lameirinho, a company specialising in printing and finishing, which has been operating in both the clothing and home textiles sectors for over 70 years.
Initiatives like this are opportunities to promote the international presence of the textile and clothing industry as a credible, modernised and respected sector.
Lameirinho’s CEO, Paulo Coelho Lima, observes, “This consortium between leading companies working together as partners (and not competitors), aiming to complement each other within the textile sector, allows us to embrace projects in which we can offer the client complete solutions.” This initiative also encourages the Portuguese textile and clothing industry “to invest in more ambitious actions, which would not be possible in isolation”. He also emphasises, “As leaders in each of our areas of expertise, together we have the responsibility to represent Portugal well in the international market”, to create “conditions for a brand with the strength of ‘Made in Portugal’.”
As leaders in each of our areas of expertise, together we have the responsibility to represent Portugal well in the international market.
The Expansion Director at Twintex, Bruno Mineiro adds, “There is still no single platform that combines the broad consistency of the high quality of our companies, hence the importance of this initiative, which is the inception of something very positive, the expression of our heritage.” He also reinforces this co-creation experience “represents not only those who had direct involvement in the development of the Expo 2020 Dubai uniforms, but also the know-how, reliability and performance at the highest level of the national textile and clothing sector as a whole”.
There is still no single platform that combines the broad consistency of the high quality of our companies, hence the importance of this initiative, which is the inception of something very positive, the expression of our heritage.
“It looks like we are small but we are great. We may seem few but we represent many. Portugal must continue to assert itself by being successful as one. The future can and should happen here,” claims Moura Guedes, Marfel’s CEO. However, Dubai is not an unknown territory for the manufacturing company from Felgueiras, “Blouses and shirts made by Marfel have been worn by employees in some of the best hotels in Dubai for years,” he shares. In the entrepreneur’s opinion, “The Portugal Pavilion’s uniforms are beautiful and demonstrate a great commitment to design, selection of fabrics and manufacturing.” He also notes that, “Marfel’s employees were delighted with this production.”
It looks like we are small but we are great. We may seem few but we represent many. Portugal must continue to assert itself by being successful as one. The future can and should happen here.
“Creative, dynamic and modern” are the words that best describe Portugal according to Matilde Vasconcelos, founding partner of Trotinete, a company specialising in personalised uniforms. “Quality is the great hallmark of Portuguese companies for which we are recognised internationally. Research and innovation of more sustainable products has succeeded to gain us a prominent position in the textile industry worldwide,” she says and also explains that “reaching further” is only possible by “bringing together upstream and downstream partners along the value chain in a permanent dialogue”.
Quality is the great hallmark of Portuguese companies for which we are recognised internationally. Research and innovation of more sustainable products has succeeded to gain us a prominent position in the textile industry worldwide.
In addition to clothing, the development of uniforms for Expo 2020 Dubai also included collaboration with Carité, representing the footwear sector, and Belcinto, for accessories. “It is always a great honour to collaborate with other companies that, like us, are Portugal based manufacturers with a great deal of know-how,” says Ana Vasconcelos, Belcinto’s CEO. “Unfortunately I won’t have the opportunity to visit the exhibition, but I know our brand will be very well-represented through our leather goods,” she adds. It was also “with great satisfaction the Cárite group made its contribution to taking the best that is ‘Made in Portugal’ across borders,” shares the company CEO, Reinaldo Teixeira. “It is always positive when diverse industrial areas unite themselves around a common goal: to raise the name of Portugal globally and, obviously, through this collaboration we can all show our potential”, he says.
It is always a great honour to collaborate with other companies that, like us, are Portugal based manufacturers with a great deal of know-how.
It is always positive when diverse industrial areas unite themselves around a common goal: to raise the name of Portugal globally.
What these 11 companies have in common is quality, flexibility and international market recognition. But that’s not all. Sustainability has been a criterion implemented in Portuguese factories for generations. “In social issues, Portugal is already recognised for its good practices. In environmental terms, we are concerned with choosing sustainable materials with greater durability,” says César Araújo. This was one of the challenges faced by Filipe Augusto, who sought to “rigorously select materials that are very comfortable, that adapt to the climate in Dubai and that fit different body types”. To make the uniforms, natural fibres, recycled materials and dead stock fabrics were used. “This care is present even in the composition of the labels on the garments, which are made of recycled polyester and cotton blend,” he shares.
In social issues, Portugal is already recognised for its good practices. In environmental terms, we are concerned with choosing sustainable materials with greater durability.
Paulo de Oliveira agrees, “Today one of the cornerstones of Portuguese textiles is sustainability and social responsibility, an aspect that is widely recognised internationally,” and warns that it is necessary to continue to invest in a “differentiating strategy and in an image of Portugal based on the values of respect for the environment and social responsibility”. Also highlighting Portuguese industry as a pioneer in sustainability, Bruno Mineiro points out, “We are taking a step forward with a very strong focus on the future. There is a new ecosystem, with the affirmation of new technologies and Industry 4.0, with good practices and strong basis in tradition.”
Today one of the cornerstones of Portuguese textiles is sustainability and social responsibility, an aspect that is widely recognised internationally.
Expo 2020 Dubai will take place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022. During the 182 days of the international event, the participating countries will be able to share their development and innovation experiences, publicise ideas and projects focused on the future, explore new approaches on the themes of mobility, sustainability and networking opportunities. “Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first major event aimed at the general public in a period of pandemic, but as restrictions are already easing worldwide, there is a great expectation for its success,” predicts Luís Castro Henriques, Commissioner General of Portugal for Expo 2020 Dubai and President of AICEP. ♦
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