Cultural Perceptions of Fashion: Welcome to Brazil!
With all eyes on Brazil for the Fifa World Cup, it is clear that passion is the name of their game. Something special is going on in Brazil and the reason has nothing to do with cultural clichés like soccer and samba. Brazil is claiming its place on the global platform and fascinatingly, fashion is playing a major role in the country’s ascendance. Brazil embodies diversity with different cultures mingled into a melting pot of attitudes and influences and Brazilian designers are infusing their own flavour to the world stage. The crowded cities and beach culture in turn reflect a soul that is both cosmopolitan and free. From the Wild Amazon and its lush forests to the grey skyline of São Paulo; we discover Brazil’s true colours!
We begin our journey in the Amazon. The majority of this vast forest belongs to Brazil and is considered to be the lung of the world. With its unparalleled biodiversity, we can understand why designers constantly infuse Brazilian runways with inspiration drawn from the nature and wildlife found in this lush landscape. A diverse range of greens as well as animal prints – especially feline – are timeless in Brazil, evolving every year with innovative techniques and fabrics.
Next we go to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo is the business center and one and only megalopolis of Brazil. This city is violent, crowded, intense and hyper-creative. Some of the most influential Brazilian designers come from there and show at São Paulo Fashion Week, including Alexandre Herchcovitch, Gloria Coelho and Reinaldo Lourenço. From the polluted sky, to the runway, grey is the colour that best reflects the city’s mood and blocks of grey are a trademark for Paulistas. In Rio de Janeiro another influential landmark lies. The boardwalk of the Copacabana Beach; A remarkable sight as it mimics the waves of the ocean with its bold black and white wave patterned tiles. These optical patterns have existed since the 1970’s when landscaper Roberto Burle Marx, inspired by ancient African Tribes, created the design that is often infused into the catwalks of the SPFW. Not only do places inspire fashion but people as well. Oscar Niemeyer was one of them. He was a visionary architect who built Brazil’s capital Brasilia in the 1960’s and died at the age of 103, but his creations live on in. His aesthetic was both unique and futuristic with the use of curves and free-flowing lines which profoundly inspired and influenced fashion with the creation of structured yet soft pieces.
Another huge influence to fashion all year round is the carnival culture. From the extravagant receptions at the Copacabana Palace Hotel to the streets of Salvador, the carnival is best described as contagious. The best performers are idolized by locals while floats and stages bring extravagant richness to the streets.
Fashion holds a special place in Brazilian culture, it is a national pastime and a topic of everyday household conversation, not just a luxury of the urban, privileged classes. It is only a natural evolution that their fashion influences have begun to greatly influence the world stage.