+351 is the country code of a brand proudly made in Portugal. Inspired by the Atlantic, it was created by Ana Costa. The Portuguese designer and former professional surfer travelled the world in search of the perfect wave, exploring new cultures and experiences along the way.
Simple and relaxed clothes with a minimalist aesthetic at its heart intended for everyday wear. Mixing her adventurous, sporty background with a contemporary Lisbon lifestyle, all garments are made from cotton for the softest, cosiest and comfortable fit.
The brand produces all its garments locally, valuing the high-quality standards of the northern Portuguese textile and manufacturing industry. +351 is available at selected stockist such as Boxroom15 in Spain, WP in Italy, Lusa Luso and Battaglia in France, Baule x in Mexico and Seilin & Co in Japan.
The textile industry is a fascinating new world so that when I go to the factory, I end up losing myself surrounded by so many possibilities. That’s why I decided to always keep a main aesthetic in the brand, with our permanent line of essential t-shirts and striped textured pieces in lamé cotton.
Your pieces are developed in very close connection with the Portuguese industry. How did you get so close with the producers?
After working at Osklen in Brazil, I returned to Portugal and worked as an intern at a jersey and knit factory in Guimarães. At my previous jobs, I didn't have access to production, because the factories were far away, and I wanted to understand this part of the process better. I love watching my pieces being made and it is always a plus to realise what I can do differently in digital prints or finishings.
So do you develop part of your collection on location?
I often call the factory owner, who advises me on new dyes and prints. The textile industry is a fascinating new world so that when I go to the factory, I end up losing myself surrounded by so many possibilities. That’s why I decided to always keep a main aesthetic in the brand, with our permanent line of essential t-shirts and striped textured pieces in lamé cotton.
You have been a competitive surfer for many years. How did your interest in fashion come about?
I started studying painting at 17 years old. But as I always preferred drawing, I did my degree in Graphic Design at IADE. I was a competitive surf athlete at the time, so I was always travelling and couldn’t go to many classes. Finally, after finishing college, I interned at the Partners advertising agency and then got an internship at Billabong in France. It was my first experience related to fashion. But it was a little disappointing for me because the designs came to me almost finished and I could only make small adaptations for the European market.
But your interest in the fashion industry remained...
It did, so much that I did a short course at London College of Fashion and I even considered whether to keep studying there. But then I went back to Portugal and decided to do a master's degree at FAUL instead because I was still very connected to surf at the time and I didn’t want to be too far from the sea. During the master’s degree, I realised that I wanted to work in fashion. So, when I was working at Osklen, I started thinking a lot about returning home and creating my brand.
+351 was the Portuguese country code I used to dial every day to call home when I was working abroad. It was during a meeting at Osklen in Brazil that I scribbled the brand name for the first time.
How did the name +351 come to life?
+351 was the Portuguese country code I used to dial every day to call home when I was working abroad. It was during a meeting at Osklen in Brazil that I scribbled the brand name for the first time. I decided to start by making the technical drawings for my collection and to contact producers in Portugal. One of them answered me and that's how I made my first garments. In the early years, it was very much about selling to my friends, because I didn't understand anything about business. I started by making t-shirts and swimsuits and then women's clothes for a luxury segment. But I quickly realised that I wanted to come up with a menswear brand, with pieces that could be worn by all genders.
How did the business grow until you opened your first store?
It's a funny story. An electrician from whom my mother used to buy lamps told her that he was going to retire and close his store. So, I took the opportunity and opened the first +351 store in Rua do Poço dos Negros in my hometown of Lisbon. After a few years, I started looking for a shared space with a friend and I found the second store in Chiado in downtown Lisbon. Eventually, we decided to go in separate directions and open our own business in two different locations. I still have that store and I am happy with it so far. Recently, I opened a new +351 in Rua da Boavista, which is one of the coolest and trendiest emerging areas in Lisbon. It was a former construction tool shop. 220 square meters seemed the perfect size to finally merge a studio, stock warehouse and a new brand store all in one space.
Internationalisation is the next step. I sell a lot to foreign people visiting Portugal and to people who value local products and recognise the 'Made in Portugal' high-quality standard. Looking into the future, I know that I want to keep creating menswear collections, inspired by my deep connection to a lifestyle that combines my love for the city, the beach and the sea. ♥
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