A trip to Belo Horizonte in Brazil uncovered a wealth of attractive womenswear brands and a great indie.
Belo Horizonte, capital of Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, may not be the first place that springs to mind when it comes to sourcing inspiring brands, but maybe it should be. Although more used to playing second fiddle to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte last month hosted Minas Trend Preview, one of Brazil’s largest womenswear shows which attracted 13,000 visitors.
Drapers was lucky enough to be one of those visitors and found plenty of brands to excite UK buyers.
Catherine Bremond, contemporary and luxury womenswear buyer for French department store Galeries Lafayette, visited the show for the first time and said she would definitely return. “Brazil is going to become more and more interesting,” she said, picking out brands such as Gig, Coven and Faven as ones to watch. Bremond did note that footwear and accessories were more competitively priced than ready-to-wear, and this is something Brazil’s textile associations, Texbrasil and ABIT, want to address on a visit to Europe to discuss import tax reductions aimed at wooing European buyers.
Graciette Medina, owner of Succès, a womenswear indie in Lisbon, Portugal, which stocks Brazilian designers including Iorane Rabelo and Regina Salomão, said: “I take less margin to be able to bring the customer something exclusive, and once they buy they begin building a relationship with the brand.”
We pick the best Brazilian brands and visit a new indie that could teach UK stores a thing or two about merchandising.
Artsy is the new, more trend-led sub-brand launched by contemporary brand Rampage, which was previously fronted by model Gisele Bündchen. Less mainstream than its parent brand, it features modern silhouettes which chime with a number of UK trends. Cocktail dresses are its best-sellers, while separates including shorts and blouses also perform well. It has 98 stockists in Brazil but is hoping to expand overseas. Wholesale prices range from BRL150 (£53) to BRL600 (£214).
Faven is known for its tricot knits, which is a form of warp knitting in which the yarns zigzag vertically. The brand describes its typical customer as a working woman aged 40 and above. Its autumn 12 collection features metallic yarns and mixes floral prints with monochrome panels and snakeskin with leather on dresses and skirts. The 15-year-old brand has no international stockists at present, but is looking for opportunities. Wholesale prices start at BRL98 (£35) for a blouse and BRL139 (£50) for a dress.
A change in direction
for spring 12 took Bora Bora down a more contemporary route, and this continues for autumn 12 via a range of slouchy knitted dresses, oversized knitted T-shirts and printed silks. The brand has 70 Brazilian stockists. Wholesale prices start at BRL75 (£27) for a blouse and BRL182 (£65) for a double-layer knitted dress.
Pat Bo is an offshoot from designer Patricia Bonaldi’s eponymous mainline and aims to target a trend-conscious woman. With a focus on eveningwear, key pieces for autumn 12 include a café crème blouse with black lace embroidery and toffee suede and silk chiffon dresses. Wholesale prices start at BRL180 (£65).
Guatemala, Antigua and Mayan culture inspire Coven for autumn 12. This mix of nature and destroyed civilisations has been interpreted by the brand as smoke-effect prints, and vivid florals on a smoky grey background. Forest greens, gold and silver metallics dominate the palette in addition to raspberry red and slate grey. Knitwear is a signature of the brand and key pieces include knitted T-shirts and jumpers. The brand is stocked by Anthropologie, Intermix and Bergdorf Goodman in the US but at present has no European stockists. Wholesale prices start at BRL175 (£62) for jersey pieces and rise to BRL1,000 (£356) for embellished dresses.
Based in Minas Gerais state, women’s footwear brand Luiza Barcelos has 800 stockists as well as two standalone stores in the city of Belo Horizonte. It is also stocked in the US, France and Portugal, while in the UK, Anthropologie has been a stockist for the two past seasons. Best-sellers include ballerina flats and slipper shoes. For autumn 12, the brand is heavily backing the glitter trend and coloured suede, as well as faux snakeskin. Prices range from $54 (£34) for flat pumps to $90 (£56) for high heels.