Cristina is no newbie in the fashion world. Very wise in her approach to the urban life and the balance between the city-nature dichotomy, she has consistently delivered great work throughout the years and has proven she is here to stay and a force to be reckoned with.
You’ve studied in Modatex and interned with Alexandra Moura. How do you think these experiences helped you grow as a designer?
My path in Modatex was the beginning of my journey as a designer, my learning period, my first steps, first bets and first experiences. My internship with Alexandra Moura was the first contact with reality, with industries and all the production process behind a brand.
Your SS15 collection was inspired in the work of an architect, Kengo Kuma. How do you think architecture and fashion are related?
The relation between different subjects occurs quite often and Fashion and Architecture are no exception. They can always cross according each designer’s or architect’s imagination and creativity.
These are distinct worlds that use a similar process: a concept is created, sketches are made, different materials are experimented and we go through different stages of the process until we reach the final product.
Your FW 15/16 collection, Mineralis, transports fashion design to the natural, the pure, the origins and highlights the contact with the environment. In what way to you think this contact is important nowadays and how do you apply it in your designs?
Nowadays there is a growing concern about the environment, not only in fashion but in different areas, which is a great thing. We need to maintain what surrounds us and gives us life. Although I use synthetic furs and leathers since my fist participation in “Sangue Novo”, that doesn’t mean I’m contributing to the environment’s preservation, unfortunately. However, it’s a small step and a personal choice I’ve made.
In your SS 16 collection, Disforme, you go from the concept of Nature to the one of Man manipulated environments, that are translated in the city. In your FW 16/17 collection, Miles, you speak of journey, adventure, adrenaline and instinct, keeping Nature in the background. Do you keep this city/nature dichotomy in mind when you’re creating?
Yes, this dichotomy is always present in the city life, since we can have contact with nature through the different green spaces we find in it. This contrast is a part of my daily point of view, that ends up influencing my creative process.
Can you explain us a bit about your creative process? Like how/when you start planning a collection, where the first inspiration comes from…
There isn’t a right moment to plan a collection. I can start drawing a collection and already have ideas for the next one. Inspiration comes from all and nothing. Everything can be a starting point… my state of mind, the crossing of people and places, small details of objects that surround me… Each collection is a new story, a whole of different stages I adapt to my pieces. Everything comes from an vast research that culminates in the combination of ideas and creating of the original concept and leads to the final product.
As a young designer, which are the main obstacles you feel still exist in Portugal in what regards launching collections and how do you think these can be surpassed?
To launch a name, as a designer or a brand, is, by itself, a complex process with many obstacles. It is necessary to support young creators and to bring together different sectors of the industry so young designers can give their first steps, instead of creating obstacles. The difference between brands with a large production and an inferior one can also be a huge obstacle because the prices applied to exclusive pieces are not the same as the ones applied to mass production. It is also important to appreciate national products, that have the same (or higher) quality of foreign products.
Who is the woman you design for? Do you think the Portuguese woman fits in this description?
There isn’t a pattern for how to use my pieces. They can be adapted to many audiences. There are bolder pieces with types of materials that fit better in the international market, and simpler pieces that can belong to both national an international market. Every woman that feels confidant enough to use my creations and adapt them to her style can wear them.
Do you think Portugal is starting to belong to the global fashion environment or do we still have a very specific market that works separately from the global scenario?
Portuguese market is still very specific, although not so distant from the global scenario, since we already have great designers representing Portugal abroad and showcasing the quality of what is made here.
interview: Catarina F. Pinto
photography: Gonçalo M. Catarino
find out more at: CRISTINA REAL