SÃO PAULO - Lets get real... As São Paulo Fashion Week kicks off, one of Brazils most acclaimed designers, Alexandre Herchcovitch, says his industry must redirect its eye toward the countrys growing middle class -- and even those just rising out of poverty. This is the rule for those who want to survive in Brazil, he affirms in the following interview.
FOLHA: What do you think of some fashion designers suggesting a separation between commercial and conceptual brands in Brazil's fashion weeks?
HERCHCOVITCH: When you are aware of what you are doing, you dont have to be afraid. My role models are in New York. There some brands that have been showing polo shirts for the past 120 years. Sorry, I dont need to ask Paulo Borges [Fashion Week organizer] for special treatment for my brand. And who will play God to know which one is good and which one is less good? Each designer has to take care of his own stuff, do his best and be brave enough to show it.
What do the final consumers want?
Lets get real. Brazil has enough expertise to make popular clothes for lower classes. We have to look at this reality. I was taking a shower today and wondered what do I sell the most and the least? I dont sell so many dresses that cost R$10,000 ($5,000), but I wont give up making expensive dresses. Still, those who want to survive nowadays in Brazil have to make products for middle and lower-middle class customers.
How is it to compete with international luxury brands?
Our clothes are not as good as theirs. Its hard to compete, and we dont have the same quality of fabrics. If we buy those fabrics, the clothes get too expensive. I do the best I can, while making it possible to sell in Brazil.
And who are your customers?
I dont know well. Ive tried to do this Brazilian female style, but Im not good at it. Thats not a problem, though, the country is huge, and there is a variety of tastes. My brand has conquered its own space. If I focused more on serving the lower classes, I would have more customers, but I dont know how to do it, so I just adjusted my expectations.
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