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Last week we travelled to Porto, Portugal, to attend the 8th edition of MODAPORTUGAL, the European young designers' contest and business excellence awards gala of 2022. A very important event for the international fashion industry that allows us to meet some of the young most outstanding talents on the current scene. Eighteen young designers from six European countries presented their collections and shared their creative vision with an exceptional jury made up of well-known industry professionals. In addition, all of us present had the opportunity to see their works on the catwalk in a fantastic location, the Palácio da Bolsa, in a collective show that left no one indifferent. Read on to find out about the participants and winners.

It’s well known that Portugal is a very important country on the international fashion map. Not only for hosting two very stimulating events with which to learn about the work of some of their most iconic designers, ModaLisboa and Portugal Fashion but also for their exquisite manufacturing and savoir-faire. Large fashion houses have produced and continue to do it in this European country, which is struggling to position its national fashion in the global circuit of the industry, attracting more and more international press and buyers.

But that’s not all. Portugal, more specifically MODAPORTUGAL, has been celebrating young European designers for eight years. Offering them a platform on which to publicize their work and opt for a coveted award given by recognized professionals in the sector, this event promoted by CENIT - Textile Intelligence Centre, in partnership with ANIVEC – Associação Nacional das Indústrias de Vestuário e Confeção gets more attention year after year from the specialized press. And it is that they have not only created a great contest in which to discover new profiles whose names will be heard in the near future, but they also offer the contestants a program of visits to national factories, such as Adalberto, Calvelez, Petratez, Riopele, Citeve – the Technological Center of the Clothing Industry and Valérius Recycling Centre. 

Students from eight European schools participated in this 8th edition. Eight prestigious centres where some of those who will end up being well-known professionals in the sector are trained, either consolidating their personal brands or working for other major brands in their teams. These schools are Aalto University (Finland), Institut Français de la Mode (France), Polimoda (Italy), ESAD (Portugal), FAUL (Portugal), Modatex Porto (Portugal), London College of Fashion (UK) and Head Genève (Switzerland). Three young designers from each country have shown their work to the public and the jury, which was made up of Eduarda Abbondanza, Chris Vidal, Serge Carrera, Federico Poletti, Philippe Pourhashemi, Miguel Flor, Serge Ruffieux, and Karen Langley.

They have been in charge of choosing the winner of the eighth edition of MODAPORTUGAL, which has ended up on this occasion at the hands of Norman Mabire-Larguier from Head Genève, as well as the best collections from each of the countries. Different awards with which to celebrate emerging design, where we saw a lot of talent and very strong identities transmitted through a universal language full of nuances: fashion. The gala culminated with the 2022 Business Excellence Awards (Awards for Entrepreneurial Excellence), which were delivered to a set of national companies which stood out in the development of the clothing, apparel and fashion sector in Portugal, in categories such as E-commerce, Exports, Industry 4.0, Investment, Sustainability and Turnover.

But, who were the European designers who participated in MODAPORTUGAL? Their names are Ellen Rajala, Jarno Kettunen, Taneli Ukura, Mouyakabi Diamondé, Paul Billot, Zoé Gerolymos, Federico Di Nisio, Fengqin YueSamuel Lewis, Andreia Reimão, Ivan Hunga Garcia, Rita Miguel Costa, Agapornis, Niels Raonison, Benjamin Ethan, Dayoung Jang, and Leo Prothmann. Each of them proved to have a personal stamp that makes them unique, which made the selection of the winner by the jury extremely difficult. Among the works presented, we saw an evident interest in experimentation, mixtures of fibres and fabrics, reformulation processes of upcycling and creative reuse, exploration of accessories and footwear or demand for fashion devoid of gender, among others.

Now it’s time to explore those names whose work you find more interesting because it’s likely that some of them will be seen very soon on other catwalks or at international events. And we must remember that we discovered them thanks to MODAPORTUGAL.

David Alarcón

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