City Guides |

Is Fashion’s Next IMG Coming Out Of Brazil?

Jason Campbell

Paulo Borges and Rio's mayor Eduardo Paes

Here at JC Report, we have long been reporting on Brazil as one of the most important emerging global fashion markets. In the last few years, developments have accelerated in the region, namely with big fashion and media companies converging to bring IMG and LVMH type corporations to South America. One of the most significant changes to take place in the last year is the joining of forces among Luminosidade (InBrands) and ABC Group to form a new enterprise devoted to building out a massive lifestyle and entertainment platform. This marriage puts Fashion Rio, São Paolo Fashion Week and Fashion Rio Summer under a single ownership along with other regional tradeshows, fashion houses (Alexandre Herchcovitch, Isabela Capeto, Ellus) and events. We spoke to Paulo Borges, the managing partner of the project, to find out what this will mean for the future of Brazilian fashion.

JC Report: What’s precipitating this convergence among Brazil’s fashion brands and events—specifically in relations to the recent Luminosidade and ABC partnership?

Paulo Borges: The objective of the convergence of the three major fashion events in the country (SPFW, Fashion Rio and Rio Summer) is the strengthening of Brazilian fashion. The entrance of the ABC Group now completes a powerful fashion platform. We gained an important partner to keep growing and spreading our content and to transform Brazil in global strength. It’s a partnership between a company that understands fashion with one that enhances both the business and the sponsorship.

JCR: Now that you are arguably the most important face of Brazilian fashion, what message do you want to send to the world about the Brazilian fashion identity?

PB: Brazil has one of the most historical and culturally diverse populations in the world: 220 Native-Brazilian communities, a huge population of African-Brazilian descendents, European and Asian immigrants, Arabic and Jewish groups—people of the most different ethnic origins and cultures. Brazilians also live in a region with the biggest range of biodiversity on the planet.

Italians have design, the French have brands, Americans have internal market, China has price—and what do we have? Apparently we have a way of being and a lifestyle that clarifies our creativity. I think our difference is the capacity to synthesize and mix diversity and various influences. Brazil has many faces, many identities and vocations. For us, Brazilian fashion is the one that has the brand of diversity. What it offers is the chance to bring something new to the fashion world—something fresh, with another point of view.

JCR: What are the most significant changes that we can expect from Fashion Rio and São Paolo Fashion Weeks now that they are under one umbrella?

PB: The first change in Rio was the location. It’s no longer at Marina da Gloria and now is at the warehouses of Pier Mauá. The line-up is smaller, with the focus on brands with stable structure. At SPFW nothing was changed.

JCR: Over the years, there’s been talk about showing summer collections exclusively in Rio and winter in São Paulo. Any chance of this happening under the new ownership structure?

PB: To make the winter edition at São Paulo and the summer collections at Rio is out of the question. It was never a part of our business strategy. We do have the intention to bring more beachwear fashion shows, menswear and sustainable clothes (we call it active wear) to Rio de Janeiro, which is rich in lifestyle.

JCR: With the Olympics set for Rio in a few years, what kind of impact do you anticipate that event will have on the fashion industry?

PB: Besides the increase of tourists, there is no way to predict what is going to happen. But the realization of Fashion Rio at Pier Mauá will no doubt accelerate the process of renewing the Port Region.

JCR: With the Luminosidade and ABC partnership, is the aim to keep all the business development on Brazilian soil or should we expect ripples in other global fashion markets?

PB: We are structuring new businesses that are yet to be defined.

JCR: Tell us about the new media initiatives in this new company structure.

PB: 2009 was a strategic year for Luminosidade. The SPFW website will become independent from the events brand and will be called, from Fashion Forward. The main goal is to upgrade the coverage made there, speaking about everything that inspires the fashion universe—music, beauty, behavior, technology, design, people, consumers, pop culture and sustainability.

This interview was conducted by Jason Campbell.