What drew you to become a fashion designer?
The thirst for knowledge, without doubt, was what always led me to seek more knowledge, whether in a more academic way - Bachelor and Master in Sculpture, Post-graduation in Cultural Management of Cities (ISCTE / INDEG), and pratical way – Fashion Design (CITEX / MODATEX), the Corseterie / Lingerie Course (CITEX / MODATEX), the letter of craftsman ... I always had na diferente and open perspective and from fashion, perhaps because the last year of CITEX (where we developed our individual collection) was made at the same time as the first year of sculpture in the ESBAP (now FBAUP – FACULTY OF FINE ARTS AT UNIVERSITY OF PORTO) in the course of the night. And this constant connection that I maintained for 7 years with FBAUP while working in companies and teaching at Escola Árvore provided a great breadth of knowledge and awareness that fashion designers were not that far from sculptors and painters. The connection between these two worlds is very close and crossed for many times over the centuries. Only in the 20th century did they distance themselves significantly from the 1950s, due to the great industrialization of the textile, clothing and footwear sector. And I think it was even in this "broth" in which I was being created, it allowed me this opening and the search to find the difference.
For 12 years I was as coordinator and teacher of the Fashion design course at Escola Árvore, in Porto, Portugal. My contact with tridimensionality in the arts is early - since I was 10 years old, I started making ceramic pieces in my mother's ceramic workshop. I think it was the awakening to a great passion, which I still maintain and develop. The first pieces were in ceramics and I was doing it until 1993, when I go to a Workshop in Metal Sculpture (Hannover, Germany) where I learn to weld - I fell in love with the ability of the fire and the temperature to change the metal! Since then I have developed some pieces of stone, and quite a lot of metal and wood, always very organic, small and large, light and heavy - I especially like working wood because it is a warm, soft and living material.
I have developed various sculptural approaches and I am getting closer to the link between the arts and fashion and in 2008/09 when I developed the master thesis "The garment as an artistic three-dimensional object" under the guidance of Professor Carlos Barreira and co- orientation of the sculptor Joana Vasconcelos - from here the connection between sculpture and clothing becomes a constant of my professional production (wardrobe), artistic production and fashion production, where I develop a series of objects in textile art - either sculptural or wearable.
After working so many years in fashion, I decided it was time to move forward with a project of mine that was related to my background as a sculptor as well as a teacher. At first the brand was clothing and fashion accessories and in 2016 underwent a market repositioning, where it restricted the production of fashion accessories namely shoes and bags.
Why was it important to you to offer a sustainable, responsible, Eco fashion line and how do you incorporate ideals such a Zero Waste into your work?
Marita Moreno was created with an unique and ethical perspective, in which the history of the products is fundamental for its definition as a "slow fashion" brand. Our products uses local and national endogenous resources, artisanal or industrial and its constantly in search of how it can create and produce design objects with history that are used in everyday life. Ethics, transparency in the production and social responsibility have always been intrinsic values to the brand. From the creation of the vegan line in the summer of 2017 we started to look at our environmental responsibility as a company and the importance of producing a sustainable way of thinking about the environment and the world we live in. It was a mindset changing for us.
That's why from SS18 collection we´ve started to work to become a sustainable brand.
Our upcycling line is made from leftover materials so this is a big thing for us because the remains of the materials are used for the production of other products, thus avoiding the production of more waste for the environment and efficiently reusing the rest of the materials.
Where do your find inspiration for new work?
The creative process that is done until a collection appears is complex and involves lots of factors - for me as creative director of the brand is precisely the most important, as it is what will distinguish the product of the brand from dozens of others. The thought, the vision, the inspiration, the sensitivity to perceive what the market will ask for, is what is at the genesis of creating all the lines of the brand. There is always a message, a beginning, an inspiration that needs to be transmitted to the consumer so they can perceive and appreciate what the creator wants to share, because when we create and draw - or sculpt -, we transmit emotions and sensations in what we are create - it is this principle (which comes much from the artistic creation) that I bring to the creation of accessories. Art is a constant inspiration in my work. The colors, textures, shapes. Without a doubt, my country is also a great source of inspiration. The people, the light, the crafts, the Portuguese cultural heritage are elements that are always present in my collections.
What materials do you work with – organic, reclaimed, etc.?
Our vegan line is produced from natural materials. We use organic cotton, certified cork, burel (which is a very typical portuguese fabric) and rubber for the soles. We don't use any animal component in the production of the pieces. Our upcycling line is made from leftover materials in a circular economy approach and our sustainable line is made from leather without chromium, PU, biodegradable leather, cork, wood, microfiber, rubber.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an sustainable designer?
When the brand was re-positioned in 2016, there was already a desire to create ecological, sustainable and vegan pieces. However, at the time there was a great difficulty in finding Portuguese raw material that met with what he was looking for for Marita Moreno. It is very important for the brand to think about developing, but in a sustainable way. It is essential to take into consideration the respect for the environment and the impact that we as consumers have with our planet, to be aware of responsible consumption that will bring less and less harmful effects to our environment. At that moment, it is already beginning to be easier to find sustainable raw material for the production of the pieces.
How do you help customers understand the higher cost of sustainable garments when they are so inundated with sweat shop-produced cheap merchandise?
Working in Portugal, with Portuguese raw material, Portuguese artisans and to celebrate our industry, has its price. Unlike producing in other underdeveloped countries in deplorable working conditions comes out cheaper to the consumer. But we should not think that way when consuming. Changing the mindset of the consumer, at the moment we are living, has been easier. People are already beginning to recognize the value of brands that have no problem in showing where and how they are produced the products customers are consuming. It’s very important for us, through the media and our own website to communicate with our client and to explain clearly how we work and how our production process is.
The creative process and our models are made to last. We use quality materials when producing our products for greater durability of the items and we add a timeless design that avoids fashion trends which would imply shorter life cycles to the products.
We work with a craftsman who made our handmade bags, certified artisans who made handmade weaving especially for our brand and a small family factory. We have a close relationship with the suppliers who provide the raw material we use to make our products. Our commitment as a company is to use sustainable and ecological practices in the corporate culture within Marita Moreno thus minimizing the impacts generated in the environment from economic activities as well alert people to the way they consume and change habits and mentalities.
We also have a premium line called Marita Moreno Limited which is a special line with all products are numbered and belong to a limited series of a maximum of 100 pieces, which give to our costumer uniqueness and exclusiveness about the pieces. It follows the same ethics of the brand, we only work with sustainable materials in the production of the products - We only use labor and Portuguese manufacture in the creation of the pieces.
What can we look forward to seeing on the runway at Eco Fashion Week Australia 2018?
High quality and distinct pieces, with a very appealing and contemporary design to which are added carefully selected elements of Portuguese heritage. I think Australians will like what they will see 😊
How do you incorporate sustainable living in other areas of your life?
We do the garbage separation at home. That is, we recycle the plastic, glass, paper wrappers. We try to be conscientious with the consumption of water and increasingly reduce the consumption of plastic in our daily basis. We also have solar panels in our house to naturally heat the water and generate the energy we consume.
Anything else you would like readers to know?
Links (list any you have)
- Website - www.maritamoreno.com
- Blog - www.maritamoreno.com/blog
- Instagram @maritamoreno_pt
- Facebook - www.facebook.com/maritamorenodesign/
- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/marita-moreno/
- Youtube –