Meet the Designer #1: Benedita Formosinho

29 / 06 / 2018
More info here: www.beneditaformosinho.com
Photos: Mariana Rocha
Model: Bárbara Godinho/ Face Models
Make-up: Catarina Carreira/ Black Silver
With a degree in Fashion Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Lisbon, Benedita Formosinho recently inaugurated her own studio in Setubal, which also brings together the brands of young, up-and-coming designers. Finding inspiration in nature, she seeks to combine her passion for manual arts with an urban style, featuring asymmetries and contrasts between different shapes. The result can be seen in refreshing and vibrant pieces that appeal to a greater environmental awareness.

What led you to recently establish your own studio?
It was the need to have a place where I could work and simultaneously exhibit the work to as many people as possible. Since the studio is space that is open to the public, where they can witness the creative and production processes, different and personalised pieces can be bought. It’s also a way of establishing a closer relationship with the client and a way of being able to better respond to each request.

What are the things that most inspire you?
My main inspiration is nature; its highly diverse shapes and its perfect coordination of the imperfect. I usually create pieces with asymmetries integrated into a minimalist style. I’m especially inspired by places where nature is still to be found in its purest state, places where there is tradition, since I believe that they are excellent starting points for any piece of work.
 
 
What kind of materials do you prefer working with?
For clothing, I tend to go for fluid and comfortable fabrics, and my preference is mainly for natural fibres, which isn’t always easy. I am increasingly interested in finding different materials that are sustainable and not often used. In terms of accessories, I love working with burel wool, rushes, and rye straw, all organic materials which are made by Portuguese artisans and can find expression in a contemporary context.

What can you tell us about your latest collection?
This collection explores a more elegant and feminine side, that is fresh and simple, yet also has details that make it stand out. I prefer to focus on handmade things, since I think this adds value to the pieces by virtue of the care and attention given to each detail. This collection began with drawings of flowers, evoking the dance of tulips. The shape of this flower is connected to the female figure, and is adapted, and becomes an integral part of each detail. The tulip moves in a vibrant and relaxing way in nature and grows colourfully and joyfully in an unrestrained dance. This collection has a range of vibrant tones such as electric blue and orange which contrast with other more neutral ones such as pink, light blue and white. All the pieces match with each other.

The presence of up-and-coming designers is one of the studio’s priorities. What brands can we find here and why did you take this approach?
Yes, I try to choose recently-created brands in order to give them a chance to reveal their work. They are brands that I identify with particularly in terms of concept and design. At the moment, I am working with the SIZ and Bahïa brands, but I am also hoping to work with new creators and brands as a way of making the space even more dynamic and revealing more Portuguese options. 
 
Where can we find you when you aren’t working?
At the moment, the inauguration of the studio takes up most of my time, however, there is always time to be with friends, go out and visit events and exhibitions. I really enjoy seeing what innovative and different things are being done.

Do you have a project that you would like to materialise in the future?
Yes, I’d like to launch a range of accessories with a material that I have created, that could be completely sustainable, natural and biodegradable. We are working on this and I hope to have news about this soon.

Benedita, you have also mentioned the importance of sustainability. In what way is this concern a part of your work?
Yes, it is a path that I am following; to increasingly use natural and sustainable fibres. My major concern is to try to reduce pollution and the strain that the fashion industry is putting on our planet. Presently, this idea is best seen in our accessories and that is why our materials are handcrafted and organic. The rushes are gathered from rivers and then hand-processed by local artisans, and Burel wool comes from the sheep on the Serra da Estrela. In addition to using these types of materials, limiting the quantities we produce and being guided by ethical values are also an integral part of our brand concept.