It was all different. For many years, quality fashion in Brazil came from the European market. Brazilian magazines used to maketheir fashion editorials based on the international aesthetic. The designers of the time were required to follow trends dictated by the international textile industry. However, there was a need to explore the fashionable Brazilian cultural universe of its own. That's how models, producers, stylists and fashion journalists emerged for a sector on the rise and here comes SPFW – São Paulo Fashion Week.
Regarded as the embryo of what is now one of the biggest fashion weeks in the world, SPFW had its first edition in 1996 - under another name - presenting four shows dailyand an audience of approximately 300 people. Over 15 years later, arriving in 2012 in its 33rd edition, the numbers of the event will not let us lie. In six days of exhibition, there are about 30 shows. There is a public of morethan 100,000 guests standing to cheer over 300 models at the catwalks.
Considering that in the fashion world so many things matter to build a good image, Paulo Borges, Director of SPFW, assumes: “We have always believed that clothing is not fashion. Clothing is a process of fashion. It is one of the elements that fashion embraces. To build a fashion culture is looking at the meaning of creation, inspiration, production, innovation, technology…”
Some factors were crucial in the transition from when it was believed that there was room in Brazil for an organized fashion week, close to what you saw out there. The opening of the internal market - created by the government at the time - for imports, forced the Brazilian entrepreneurs to invest in technology to combat the entry of foreign products, including big brands like Chanel and Versace that arrived in the country in the 90s.
It was also during this period that top models like Gisele Bundchen, Ana Claudia Michels and Isabeli Fontana emerged. Big names in fashion became known in Brazil: Ricardo Almeida, Reinaldo Lourenco and Ronaldo Fraga. Currently, the annual event features two editions: one in January, with the anticipation of the collection of winter, and another in the middle of the year, with summer collections. The investments also grew significantly from US$300,000in 1993, to approximately US$3.5million in the latest editions.
Undoubtedly, SPFW is a milestone in the history of international fashion business. Today, it is the largest and most important fashion event in Latin America and is already considered part of the fashion world, appearing in the circuit of major fashion weeks such as Paris, Milan, London and New York.
The highlights of the last parade of São Paulo Fashion Week Winter 2012 - that happened in January - was marked by shows of major brands such as Animale, Tufi Duek, Cori and Osklen. The launch of the spring and summer of 2012/2013 collections, which just happened in June, brought 32 brands, with massive attention directed to the big international models Candice Swanepoel and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
In January, a survey conducted by the In-Mod - National Institute of Fashion and Design - showed the number of staff involved in producing the event, directly and indirectly. There were almost 11,500 people (in each occasion), among professionals, buyers, journalists and sponsors. The event generates over US$ 250 million of spontaneous media. Also according to the research, the figures showed that 70 percent of designers export their products, mostly to countries like Japan (Tokyo), Middle East (Dubai), Greece, USA and others in Europe.
It is clear how much each edition of SPFW generates news, information, jobs, resources, creativity, and business projects. It is noticeable the progressive production of various forms of those who believe in the disclosure of Brazilian fashion and attest to the high representation ofSão Paulo.
New markets have also been drawing attention, as was the case of Russian and Egyptian journalists covering the event, American and European buyers, and the growth of young talents on the circuit, with recognized potential gains and ideas. Above all, many other initiatives, focused on universal themes with creativity and concern for environmental sustainability, bring even more significant achievements to this mega event.
Overall, it is almost like magic. “There are few creative areas, which may gather and use all this information and inspiration and what is most interesting about it, is that fashion does that twice a year. It makes, creates, states, it dies, it’s born, reborn, reinvented, showing everything again through a new angle,” celebrates Borges.
VIDEO: PALO FASHION WEEK