One of the Portugal fashion week stars took us through his past in fashion, his views ,his projects and his future vision for the label.
Estelita Mendonça proposes to develop men's wear, to renew it, deconstruct it and rebuild it. Based on the classic male clothing works on a more cerebral and free of rules and conventions. Try to find a balance between female, male, urban and contemporary in order to achieve a new aesthetic / silhouette that can translate into a new manhood.
Estelita Mendonça was born in Porto in 1987 .In 2007 he graduated from Oporto Fashion Academy,since october2010 he has been presenting his collections at Bloom and Portugal Fashion week.
In 2012 he awarded the prize for “Best Young Talent” at Fashion awards Portugal.
We interviewed the talented designer and he answered to our questions about his life,projects, future vision of his label and creative process.
- Can you tell us about your background? How did you get started in fashion? Where did you study?
I started in fashion doing some modeling (ages ago), then I understood that I enjoyed the backstage more than the spotlight.
I’ve done some make-up and production work for companies and magazines.
When I felt I should design my own brand I started my fashion degree at Academia de Moda Do Porto and after that I went study abroad. Once I was back to Porto, I started working as a designer and fashion stylist.
- Do you feel a kinship with any other designers? Do you feel part of a specific generation of designers?
Well, I always think of Margiela as the most exciting designer but I can relate to Helmut Lang, Walter Van Beirendonck, Hussein Challayan and the incredible Carol Christian Poel.
When I started doing presentations there was a group of designer in Portugal called Wolke Bos.
I know all of them and love their work, and I helped a lot in the production of the shows, but I never felt I was part of the group.
So, I can say, I'm a part of that generation but I was always an outsider.
- How do expect your fashion house to evolve?
The strategy now is to built a solid ground from where we can evolve.
It's a difficult and very expensive process. So we hope to grow slowly but consistently achieving the international market.
- Do you want to see it expand or would you rather it stayed independent?
I would love to stay independent, I think is the dream of any fashion designer, but we have our feet on the ground and know that to continue growing we will need outside help.
If we manage to continue independent it will be perfect.
- Do you have an ideal man in mind for your clothing?
When I'm designing , I'm thinking of the brand and the collection's concept.
Aesthetically, I believe a modern man with no shaped prejudices that love well made, conceptual and cerebral clothes would be the perfect match for our brand.
- How do you feel about the notion of hype? Do you need it to succeed today?
Today we are living in a society where the market need you to promote everything in an intensive and extravagant way.
I don’t feel that the “hype” transform your product in a cool and well-made object, but certainly helps you sell it.
I don’t agree that a brand can only succeed because of “hype”, but it can be a good start.
I just want to believe that you will only succeed if you have more than a creative and well-made product, you need a solid concept. Even so, in today's market it seems that it doesn’t matter.
- What does the notion of elegance mean to you?
Elegance for me is a glass of water.
Transparent, honest, versatile, fluid, meaningful and hyper realistic.
- In December 2012, you traveled to Madrid to present your designs at Matadero – Centro de Creacion Contemporanea.
This cultural center will be joined next year by the important Italian cultural space Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo confirming its importance worldwide.
How important is art in your collections?
Art is the ultimate communication form. You can understand all historic eras if you look to the art production at the time. I think that with fashion is the same. There are an intrinsic relationship between them.
In my case Art is always present, by getting to know the classics and trying to understand the contemporaries.
We all want to communicate or express our vision. That's all I’m trying to do.
- In 2012 you awarded the prize for the best young talent at fashion awards Portugal:
How changed your life? What means to you being one of the most talented designers in Portuguese scene?
You know, it's amazing to be recognized. In one moment you are THE GUY.
After the prize i went back to the studio and designed up to 10 collections and dropped off all of them.
Nothing was good enough. I was talking with a friend back then and I remember saying “people are expecting something better or as good as what I made until now!”
That's the responsibility you heir from wining that prize. It's good for a designer to have that kind of responsibility and pressure, but it can be overwhelming.
I do not recognize myself as one of the most talented designers in the Portuguese scene. If I was one of them I was selling a lot more.
I think I'm one of the most creative ones and that’s something I'm dealing with until today.