Why Brazilian Designers Should Be On Your Fashion Radar
You may not know their names, but you've definitely seen these Brazilian designers' pieces at the forefront of resort trends in the last few years. The increasingly popular basket bag—particularly those by brands like Nannacay and Confraria Studio—have been seen on all the It-girls and Insta-famous stars, paving the way for other South American designers.
We spoke to Daniella Helayel, the designer behind the beautiful dresses of Dhela, and Duda Maia, creative director and branding expert behind cult favourites like, Vanda Jacintho, Nannacay, Abi Project and Confraria Studio, about easy maximalism and sustainability that have become the identity of Brazilian fashion.
How did you guys start your fashion careers?
Duda: I started in fashion when I was 15. I studied journalism and did my masters in design, fashion and marketing in Europe. After five years I realised that Brazil had a lot of opportunities so I moved back and developed my branding agency.
It was a very new concept at the time, but I felt a necessity to teach these young designers about creating a brand so they can move into the international market. My work is to help brands create an identity and image so they can go out in the world.
Daniella: I am Brazilian, I went to fashion school in New York and I worked mainly in London. Then I started a brand called Issa in 2001 (a brand loved by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton) and left in 2013 to start Dhela.
Brazilian fashion is known for taking inspiration from nature—where specifically can we see that?
Duda: Many of our brands take inspiration from vintage images and materials, then give them a modern twist. Brazil is a mix of many different cultures, and when you pair that with the tropical atmosphere, you get an explosion of patterns and colours.
Many Brazilian designers are focusing on high quality and sustainability. For example, Confraria Studio only uses wood found in Amazonia and leather that has not been treated with chemicals.
Daniella: My resort collection is called Living Jewels because all the colours and prints are inspired by insects and their shine, like the Monarch butterfly and the firebug or space bug, which is my favourite. Most of my prints are inspired by nature, like in my fall/winter collection, which was inspired by the rainbow mountains of Peru. I always love to work with colour.
Why do you think Brazilian fashion is becoming more globally known now?
Duda: Brazilians are more open to international markets now—there are a lot of new talents who go to visit tribes and bring the artisans' works from Brazil, give them a little twist and put them on the market.
On top of that, Brazilians do resort wear the best, and with everyone travelling so much now, resort is no longer just one season--these are pieces you can wear in the city with jeans, like the basket bag, because they're so versatile.
Daniella: The modern woman is always looking for pieces that are easy to wear. I love working with lycra and stretch in dresses and knitwear that are flattering on most women. I like clothes that are timeless, seasonless and ageless.
Shop Daniella Helayel's designs at dhela.com