Filipe Augusto grew up in a small village in northern Portugal. A village of mostly elderly and religious people who continue to follow and respect some of the ancient practices that keep Portuguese traditions alive: whole families wear their smartest clothes to church every Sunday, widows dressed head to toe in black mourning attire, and hard work and a sense of community is valued above all else.
The Peso da Régua region is a treasure that remains intact in the beautiful landscape along the Douro River. Culturally rich and authentic with its unique history and personality, it is also the greatest inspiration for the emerging Portuguese fashion designer. Filipe Augusto's collections stand out for their strong connection to his origins. Each design is a memory of his childhood brought back to life through his conceptual reinterpretation and unexpected selection of patterns, colours and materials.
Believing that the richness of Portuguese history and culture should be explored more by Portuguese designers, Filipe Augusto quickly caught the jury’s eye at Sangue Novo, the contest for new designers promoted by ModaLisboa. He received the Fashion Clash award and an honourable mention, which allowed him to represent Portugal at the Fashion Clash festival in the Netherlands and present his collection again on the runway of Sangue Novo the following year. He also presented his collection at the ModaPortugal competition in which he received the award for the best Portuguese collection.
Filipe Augusto's current collection is called ‘Harvests’ and was inspired by the harvesting of grapes and olives, so characteristic of the region where he was born and raised. His starting point was to observe the different ways of how people dressed up to go to work.
The uniforms, the materials, the floral and microfloral motifs of the women's skirts were a great source of inspiration.
The ‘Harvests’ are another typical Portuguese tradition, in line with the collection that you presented in the last edition of ModaLisboa – Sangue Novo. What was a highlight from this collection?
Filipe Augusto: This collection was a throwback to a time in my childhood when I participated in the harvests. These are memories that are still very much present in my mind and that I decided to bring back to life through the collection. The uniforms, the materials, the floral and microfloral motifs of the women's skirts were a great source of inspiration.
I also explored and manipulated non-textile materials. I applied foil to the fabrics to make them waterproof, representing how you would dress for such a job. In Portugal the climate conditions are unstable, so the scarves are a reference to when men who work in the harvests forget their hat and use a knotted cloth to protect themselves from the sun.
I think we must stand out for what we experience, for what distinguishes us as individuals. If I were to take a more general theme for an international competition, I would risk presenting a concept very similar to the designers from other countries.
Do you think that your connection to Portuguese culture is what most sets you apart as a fashion designer?
FA: Although I am not literal in the appropriation of these themes, of course, it helps. It is not only being inspired by traditional Portuguese themes, but managing to transform these to create something new. I think that many designers choose to explore a more conceptual idea and seek current global themes, which end up being common inspirations. I like being Portuguese and I think that bringing something so typical of my country is a way to show my roots.
Since Portugal is a country with such a rich history and culture, do you think that other Portuguese designers should also be more proud of where they come from?
FA: I think we must stand out for what we experience, for what distinguishes us as individuals. If I were to take a more general theme for an international competition, I would risk presenting a concept very similar to the designers from other countries. Whereas, when I choose Portuguese themes people will identify them and associate them with my work. After winning at Sangue Novo from ModaLisboa, I was invited to represent Portugal in Maastricht in the Netherlands. I ended up winning the competition against 50 designers from all over the world precisely because I stood out in this way.
What was the jury's feedback regarding your work?
FA: In addition to the concept itself, they said that my pieces stood out for being very well manufactured when compared to others that also explored very strong design concepts. My pieces not only worked visually, but if they were turned inside out they were perfectly made. This perfectionism in finishings is something that also distinguishes me as a designer.
Do you think that studying at Modatex helped define your path as a fashion designer?
FA: It helped a lot, yes. Firstly, because the practical component is highly valued in Modatex’ education programs. And secondly, because it is a school that allows you to go through the whole fashion process. I studied everything from fibres to fabric structures and that knowledge gave me the background to be able to deconstruct and manipulate my pieces. I also learned pattern making, production and gained an autonomy that many fashion designers do not have. ♥
Lourenço and João Pedro, Central Models, João Eduardo.
Nuno Paiva, Fernando Ferreira, Adília Ferreira, Nini and Pedro Ferreira.
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