Portugal has a long heritage of manufacturing textiles and leather goods, a tradition that’s seen a resurgence over the last decade. Meanwhile made in China and Bangladesh, has had some reputation management issues. For the most part “Made in Asia” is associated with poor working conditions, prompting luxury and high street retailers to bring production back to Europe. That’s where Portugal comes in.
Production is all very well and good, but what about design? Unlike their artisan neighbours Spain and Italy, Portugal for the large part has stuck to exporting goods, rather than designing them. A pity really, because if you turn your attention to “ModaLisboa” or “Sangue Novo”, two of Portugal’s fashion initiatives, it’s clear that there’s some fresh talent being nurtured on these Lusophone soils. A premier example of this is Hugo Costa.
Born into a family of shoe and accessory manufacturers, Costa was passionate about design from a young age. He studied at the School of Applied Arts of Portugal, setting up his label in 2010. Originally the focus was on sandals and classic menswear, later branching into leather backpacks – and lucky for us ladies, unisex pieces too. Costa designs full collections, but it’s his footwear that truly stands out.
His streetwear inspired sneakers are luxuriously crafted with thoughtful details – think cutaway panels on high-tops or beautifully tactile surfaces and graphic prints. For those embracing the sneaker trend (myself included) his are sleek, contemporary pieces with urban edge. Of course all his work is designed and crafted in Portugal. So if you’re loosening up tailoring, or looking for that perfect pair to complement your streamlined sweatpants, Costa is the man for you. Perfeito.