Born out of an idea by Robert Guimarães and Fernando Molinari that came publicly to the fore in 2004, Rio Moda Hype has, over the years, evolved from being an awards scheme to reward emerging fashion talent in Brazil to become a fully-fledged business support programme vital to the Brazilian fashion industry. With much-appreciated sponsorship by Sebrae/RJ, the scheme entails an entire development programme whereby fashion designers get professional advice on issues as diverse as financial management, marketing and company establishment. In addition, the winners have the opportunity to show their premiated designs on the runway.
The winning labels and designers of this year’s edition of Rio Moda Hype (Helena Pontes, Unak, Acolá, Marie Raz and Wasabi) exhibited their collections during the 23rd edition of Fashion Rio, Brazil’s second largest fashion showcase after São Paulo Fashion Week. If all of the budding creative minds showed different strengths that made them all winners for panels of judges, during their collective runway show Unak and Marie Raz stood out for their resolutely confident and well-edited collections.
Under the creative direction of Bruna Cineze Santini (a graduate from Milan’s Maragoni Institute, and FAAP and FASM schools in São Paulo), Unak’s collection for Spring/Summer 2014 reworked the artistic techniques of collage and perforation and applied them to the sartorial realm. The result was a range of garments where patchwork and effective laser cutting methods were adroitly used as ways to distill grinding and rotating motions inherent to mechanical and artistic manufacturing processes. This inquisitive approach to fashion as artistic commodity was beautifully displayed in the purposefully irregular layers of patterns that deconstructed traditional designs (namely of the 1950s, such as argyle patterns of knitted sweater of the cut of denim jackets) to highlight the importance of craft. In addition, the methodical performation designs evoked the delicate textures of lace.
Mariana Razul (a graduate from Berlin’s Esmod University of Arts for Fashion) presented the label Marie Raz through the elegant collection ‘Breath of Life’, which was inspired by the lifestyle of Southern France, particularly in its monastic environs. The Mediterranean climate influenced the lightness of tailoring and fabrics such as linen, cotton and raw silk in a confident palette of lavender, stone, and light shades of grey. The relaxed atmosphere of human existence was also manifest in the different leg lengths and minimal boxy shapes that evoked the best designs by Thom Browne and Jil Sander without being devoid of a strong personal touch.
Amidst a myriad of emerging designer in the buoyant Brazilian fashion industry, Unak and Marie Raz are, without the shadow of a doubt, labels to watch out for. Should they continue to invest in their ingenuity, Santini and Razul will most certainly join the names of established designers who received the Rio Moda Hype in the past and now show during Fashion Rio or São Paulo Fashion Week, such as Fernanda Yamamoto or Vitorino Campos. The fact that Marie Raz is opening a store in São Paulo together with two other brands within the next few months is testament of such vigour.