The trips to Porto are always inspiring, be it for the city itself or the new places opened meanwhile, however this last visit was specially inspiring for the people. After leaving early from Lisbon, we arrived (me and Marta) at Matosinhos to lunch with Miguel Barbot of Velo Culture and Alice Bernardo of Ofício. Being familiar with the reality of portuguese production, Miguel and Alice share a common passion for things well made, quality products and pieces made locally, everything i try to promote in O Editorial. At Velo Culture, between the best international brands, Miguel (and his partners) also show portuguese bicycle accessories (like the Saber Fazer baskets), making the bridge between artisans and the general public. Alice, through Ofício (together with Miguel and a friend), takes this notion of promoting the work of artisans even further, with a service that makes the connection between designers and makers, keeping up with the production quality, developing brands and their image. Thus, the service not only gives the opportunity to designers to make their creations in a small and controlled scale, allowing also the artisans to broaden their horizons, increasing order volumes and creating new jobs.
At dinner, in the company of Rute Vieira and José Lima, founders of Ideal & Co, the conversation went the same way. With Ideal & Co, Rute and José brought to Alcanena leather industry a new pride, helped to maintain production techniques in danger of extinction, adapting it to new challenges, and gave an incentive to the region. Besides the work with the brand, we talked about the urgency of portuguese companies to create products with added value, instead of competing with countries with cheaper labour costs.
In conclusion, the importance of consumers is vital. Increasingly, a growing number of people want to know where things are produced, the story behind the products and the social impact of brands. However, it's only a niche that is interested in this themes and that values quality. We've to question ourselves how it's possible to buy a t-shirt for 5 euros, in which conditions was it made and if this is what we want for our future. It's absolutely essential to consume less and better, and to give, as consumers, a message to big clothing companies that we're willing to pay more and know if the products were made ethically and payed fairly at the origin. As such, we have to look at good portuguese brands like Ideal & Co and La Paz, support their work, because this way we ensure our 'neighbour's' job, but also make possible to artisans and industries to evolve and adapt to the needs of the future!
Photos by Alice Bernardo with Ideal & Co pieces