Favouring the Underdog
There are some realities in the world that are kept from us by an illusory curtain, until the time comes to actually experience them first hand. As so many other things in life, fashion also plays a part in this universe of illusions, which is more apparent to some than others…
I won’t get too deep into the issue of branding, as by now it would be almost like preaching to the choir, but I’d like to write a brief reflection and bring forth some topics on why I favour smaller labels.
First and foremost, I hope enlightenment has come to you at some point that big names and reputation don’t necessarily translate into quality; unfortunately, in some cases, it’s quite the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, most fashion giants deserve their hardly-earned reputation. I’m a fan of some of them, but the truth remains that the values, legacy and heritage left by their founders are slowly being put to shame by an ever-growing urge for profit. Bear with me…Of course at the end of the day it all comes down to business, fashion represents massive revenues, but in my modest opinion, business can be run in several ways.
Working in the industry for some time now, has opened my mind to the harsh realities behind major labels. For me, the biggest disappointment was witnessing how passion is lost throughout the years and profit alone dictates everything as newer generations and luxury groups take over. I wholeheartedly believe passion has to be part of the equation, in order to create a connection to consumers and actually produce something unique (that stands out for something other than a particular label). Common scenario…Imagine a brand that starts out set to deliver quality and attention to detail in each piece, sourcing the best fabrics and working with the best manufacturers (within its budget): say the original retail price is €100.
Lots of hype, global praise and several raving reviews later, it assumes a cult/exclusivity status, allowing it to increase prices to + €300 (not all manage to do it, but there are several successful examples out there). Although it’s stellar to achieve such an increase in margin and markup, let’s keep in mind they were already making money to begin with…So, one would think that the logic thing to do would be to make the most of this extra breathing space and try to upgrade your product, slowly and even if ever so slightly: better fabrics, materials, quality and craftsmanship, all while enjoying the recent found success of course.
Reality is quite different I’m afraid. Once that leap occurs and brands gain market recognition and dimension, the majority of them work exactly in the opposite way, pressuring manufacturers for lower prices often achieved at the cost of all of the aforementioned. As fashion becomes ultimately a question of numbers, where major brands are run by financial departments, it’s up to us as consumers, experts or aficionados, to actively make thoughtful choices and spend our hard-earned money where it’s actually worth it, instead of merely considering insignias or status.
Miguel Amaral Vieira
PG - Blogging My City #2
With a unique concept and proven success, A Vida Portuguesa seemed like a natural choice as a favourite shopping venue. Located in the heart of the city and offering a never-ending range of traditional Portuguese products, some of which most people thought of as extinct, the space allows you to travel back in time and experience what life was like back then. This focus on the revivalism of Portuguese culture is perfectly balanced by an array of current products from both upcoming and renowned designers, including everything from clothing, homewear, accessories, up to design pieces and beauty products.
As an aficionado of “made in Portugal” products and our rich cultural heritage, it’s no surprise I feel right at home here. Furthermore, the space itself is astonishing: the carefully refurbished 3-storey house preserved most of its original architectural elements, conveying a unique ambience filled with natural light.
As for the look itself, it portrays a well balanced put together ensemble perfect for everyday wear. While it may appear somewhat simple at first, the color and texture combinations work great, while the small details add a refreshing take: the contrast stitching on the buttons, polka dots socks, orange straps on the suede boots and an unexpected twist with the elefant print bandana worn at the waist.
Details: green cotton cardigan, striped linen button down shirt, white denim, snuff suede boots, elephant print bandana and polka dot socks by Purificacion Garcia.
Model and Styling: Miguel Amaral Vieira
PG - Blogging My City #1
For the first entry in this collaborative series I chose one of my favourite restaurants in town - Góshò. Located in Avenida da Boavista, this beautifully unconventional space hosts some of Porto’s finest Japanese cuisine: from traditional and rather exquisite sushi dishes up to more elaborate fusion alternatives, it definitely sets itself apart from the myriad of sushi places of the northern capital. Mixing luxurious and industrial elements within its architecture you are faced with a refined environment that allows for different experiences according to your mood and occasion. Sitting at the counter puts you face to face with the sushiman, providing an enriching experience as they masterfully prepare every single piece right in front of you, whereas a more intimate surrounding can be found within small rooms with paper walls, mimicking a more traditional Japanese atmosphere.
Model and Styling: Miguel Amaral Vieira
Today is about mixed feelings…letting go and moving on, focusing on a major life change I hope will allow me to grow not only on personal and professional levels, but also grant me an overall sense of fulfillment.
After years of embracing Beyond Fabric as a side project, on top of a full-time job and working an average of 14h a day, the time has come to devote myself entirely to the blog. With a lot of upcoming challenges and opportunities, I wanted to thank you for supporting my work during recent years and for granting me the confidence and opportunity to take this leap. I can only hope you will continue to do so in the future…
My most sincere gratitude to all of you!
Miguel Amaral Vieira