The denim that has become Marques’Almeida’s trademark, since they first showed it in their AW11 debut collection, has not disappeared. The contrary is true: it’s still going strong, and their devotion to the fabric has gotten them shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, after having received notable support from Fashion East and NEWGEN for their past collections. We caught up with Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida in the LVMH showroom on Avenue Montaigne, and spoke about adding more styles and fabrics for AW15, their increased focus on doing business online, and ‘trend’ being dead.
1 Granary: It seems like you’re opening up to a different customer with the extremely colourful garments that you’ve designed for the AW15 collection. But all the while, you still have the denim pieces as the core of the brand…
Marta: Because we have worked with denim so intensely in the beginning of our collections, it has kind of gone on to inform everything that we do at this moment. It’s actually the way that we approach pretty much any fabric.
Paulo: It is what we love, as well.
M: Yes, it’s so instinctive.
The whole denim trend has really kicked off— and it is so you, but everyone wants to get in on something that spreads like wildfire. The term trend has pretty much come to an end, but how do you feel when something like denim becomes so big and everyone starts doing it?
P: We really believe in what you just said about there not being trends anymore.
M: We are pretty detached from everything else [that happens in fashion], so it is even hard to get a sense of what’s in at the moment. Obviously, we did realise that there was this whole denim thing going on when we just started out, which then blew up very quickly.
P: We still keep doing denim the way we think is exciting. It’s denim, but it’s not turned into jeans the way that you usually see it.
M: We focus on the attitude, more than on the actual product itself. For us, denim really has a lot to do with what it means.
You have been sponsored by Fashion East and NEWGEN for past collections, and now there is a possibility that you’ll win the LVMH Prize. Do you feel like you are currently at a level where you no longer need the financial support?
M: The support is always really welcome. You grow, but the fact that you grow also means that you constantly want to invest in new things — and more things — so that you can keep the brand evolving.
If you win the LVMH Prize, what will you put it towards?
M: We have been growing the team, which is so important for us, because it started with just the two of us. It’s nice to have new people to come in and bring their own contribution. It’s great that there are a lot of girls around the studio, which means that they always try things on. So, we would definitely put it towards our team, and also our website. We have the online store, which is hopefully going to be something quite focal when doing business. We need some push on that side. On the other hand, we would put it towards continuing the level of shows, because it is just so expensive to do without the support and funding.
Thomas Tait has recently said that LVMH didn’t give him specific guidelines or expectations for creating his AW15 collection, after he had won their first ever Prize. But obviously, your brand accelerates the very moment you are named the winner, and the industry will closely be looking at what you will create…
P: It is a weird balance, because in the end you don’t really want to be feeling that pressure that anybody is putting on you, for the fact that it means that you might not make it. When I think about it: you’re not planning to spend all that money on a show, but it’s rather something that will actually allow you to grow into a big and amazing thing. At the same time, you still need to make it sustainable, and that is the whole points for us. It is very important to grow gradually, at our own pace.
Backstage photography from AW15 show by Masha Mel