One of the biggest fashion business events in Brazil, Minas Trend happens in Belo Horizonte, a city in the Southeastern region of the country. With spaces for both textile suppliers and fashion designers, the event is an intense showcase of Brazilian fashion. For the Spring-Summer 2020 edition that happened between April 9-12, the theme was "On Sunny Days" -- chosen by the fashion designer and creative director of the event Ronaldo Fraga -- celebrating cultural diversity, fashion democracy, and optimism when facing difficult times.
Since taking the creative direction of Minas Trend in 2018, Ronaldo Fraga has brought significant changes to the fashion event. The first one was broadening the business salon, including companies from the productive poles of Monte Sião and Jacutinga (very strong in knitwear). Part of the event is now open to the general public, making fashion officially more democratic and inclusive. Ronaldo has also made the selection of brands that focused more on original work and craftsmanship instead of following international trends.
Ronaldo Fraga, fashion designer acclaimed for his original Brazilian references in his work, is also the creative director of Minas Trend since 2018. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
Economic Growth in the Brazilian Textile Industry
The Brazilian garment and textile sectors are expected to grow in 2019, according to the Federação das Indústrias do Estado de Minas Gerais (FIEMG - The Industry Federation for the Minas Gerais State, in a free translation). The sector employs over 125,000 people in Minas Gerais alone (one of the 26 states in the country) with 9,750 companies representing 13,5% of the sector. Minas Trend expected over 150,000 visitors for its 24th edition, with over 180 brands, including cultural attractions, fashion shows, and seminars.
Minas Trend´s Highlights: Social Responsibility and Sustainable Practices
No longer a trend but a competitive advantage in an on-demand business model, sustainable practices and social responsibility were a recurring point with the fashion brands that showcased their Spring-Summer 2020 collections on Minas Trend's catwalks and exhibitor area (a topic that has been growing presence in other fashion and textile fairs around the world).
Minas Trend is also well-known for showing many commercial examples of craftsmanship, using artisanal practices from several parts of Brazil and preserving manual work sometimes endangered by the fast-paced technology requirements of the market. The practices that impressed us the most were:
Denise Valadares: Technology and Craftsmanship
Denise Valadares Spring-Summer 2020 collection used a fabric called aspen, by Brazilian textile producer called G Vallone. The silk satin is blended with lyocell, making it extremely soft. The pieces also have a touch of craftsmanship, embroidered by hand. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
Valadares' Spring-Summer 2020 collection was, in fact, a collab with stylist Alberth Franconaid. Together they created pieces that float between the late 70s and 80s, with a lot of inspiration coming from craftsmanship techniques. Many pieces were embroidered by hand, keeping the artisanal DNA of the brand but also using sustainable practices like no wash, a waterproof denim fabric created by Brazilian supplier Cedro Têxtil that doesn't go through washing in its production, saving resources and avoiding chemical pollution. They also used aspen, a natural fibre blend by G Vallone: a fabric made of cotton and silk that is completely biodegradable.
Patrícia Motta: Leather Pieces with a Craftsmanship's Touch
Patrícia Motta showed her innovative leatherwork, with laser-cut lace patterns or patchworked with crochet techniques. The craftsmanship and artisanal are often highlighted in the designer's collections. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
The Brazilian designer is famous for her focus on leather pieces that are luxurious and very exclusive, part of what she calls a "leather lifestyle". Using only certified leather from Brazilian tanneries Motta's work is impressive for its extreme level of craftsmanship and innovative inclusion of artisanal practices like crochet. Many pieces create an intricate patchwork with both leather and crochet, and others recreated Richelieu lace patterns on leather using laser cutting -- a refreshing take on leather that goes far beyond the biker cliché.
Her runway show during the 24th edition of Minas Trend enchanted all viewers with its multisensorial presentation, including chromotherapy, different lighting for separate looks, and music therapy. Young musician Ana Luiza Cicarini, 12, played the harp live -- the instrument is said to have healing properties, in tune with the theme of the collection, named "Cure", also inspired by the four natural elements, fire, water, air and earth.
By My Hands: Upcycling for Slow Fashion
By My Hands is a brand created by Paty Barbosa, a designer that is deeply concerned with diversity and respect throughout her production chain. She presents pieces that are upcycled and given new life with handmade embroidery and custom paintings, or sewn with leftover fabric from previous collections. Inspired by the sewing craftsmanship of her grandmothers, Paty's main idea is that people should develop a relationship with their clothes, wear them and honour them so they don't go to waste.
A fierce believer of slow fashion, Paty was also influenced by Fashion Revolution, hosting some events in Brazil for the global awareness week. Her brand was one of 20 chosen by the FIEMG's Competitive Programme, which selects companies from Minas Gerais to showcase at Minas Trend.
Norb Brand: Sustainable Textile Technology
Norberto Resende, from Norb Brand, created pieces that play with duality and start gender discussions. Credit: "Think Pink" collection - prints by 1 Incomum Studio by Virgínia Domingos and Rodrigo Baba, model Amanda Vitalina (Mega Model), textile sponsorship by Cedro Têxtil with support from UNA University Centre and Renata Canabrava; portrait by Jean Assis.
Another advocate for slow fashion in Brazil, Norberto Resende creates pieces that try and disrupt our preconceived ideas about fashion. He believes that clothes should be designed to be worn on many different occasions, lasting a long time, so his garments are timeless and part of a gender-neutral wardrobe, another growing trend amongst consumer demands. On Minas Trend, he presented laser-cut pieces made with water and dust repellent fabrics that require less washing, hence wasting fewer resources and extending the life of the garment.
His collection “Think Pink”, besides the dualities theme, also brought gender discussions along with rococo references such as the Cupid. The main piece was the bomber jacket, which the designer considers a democratic garment, dressing both sexes really well. Norberto is fond of collaboration too, allowing the shop buyer to be part of his creative process and customise fabrics or prints according to the customer's taste.
Libertees: Creativity and Social Responsibility
When Marcella Mafra and Daniela Queiroga saw an exhibition about the artwork developed by inmates during art classes at the Female Penitentiary Estevão Pinto in Belo Horizonte, they thought how beautiful the drawings would be as prints… And then Libertees was born, produced almost entirely within the Penitentiary by the female inmates. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
Founded in 2017 by Marcella Mafra and Daniela Queiroga, Libertees is a fashion brand made by the inmates at the Female Penitentiary Estevão Pinto in Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais. Nine women are currently responsible for sewing the pieces in a production that is based completely inside the penitentiary, but the project has already changed the lives of 50 different women. They are paid for their work and the brand is responsible for training them as well, giving them an opportunity to return to society with a new skill, not to mention the support of a community. The prints are also developed by the inmates during art classes provided by the Penitentiary.
Seminars: Digital Innovation
Cris Gurgel, a fashion consultant specialised in trends and accessories, gave a talk about the importance of accessories in a collection mix, highlighting the business opportunities around the area. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
The event also had a series of seminars open to the public. Cris Gurgel, a fashion consultant specialised in trends and accessories, had the "Importance of accessories in a collection mix", focused on Spring-Summer 2020 trends, fashion information, and business opportunities. Alice Ferraz, the founder of F*Hits (a pioneer agency for fashion and lifestyle digital influencers), talked about "The Role of Digital Social Media" as a fashion innovation in one of the most attended seminars of the program.
Alice Ferraz, businesswoman and founder of F*Hits (one of the world's first digital influencer agency for fashion and lifestyle bloggers), talked about digital media as a fashion innovation in one of the most coveted talks at the event. Credit: Sebastião Jacinto Jr./Courtesy of Minas Trend.
There was also the "Fashion Talks: Creativity and Design", a series of three short seminars by fashion designer Felicia Biekarck ("Communication: the creative process in fashion"), teacher Layla Mendes ("Why and how to use trends for consumer reality in Brasil, Latin America, and Southern Hemisphere"), and trend expert Vivian Berto ("Art, design, and fashion: continuous sensibility and taste formation"), followed by a discussion mediated by Patrícia Sant’Anna.
Events like Minas Trend remind us of the global community that is the fashion and textile industry, and at the same time, reinforce the strength of local companies as an empowering resource for developing countries. As a fashion designer, experiment with the power of global demand with our platform now.