Belo Horizonte Travel Diary
The sun is shining warmly through the large windows of Belo Horizonte Airport; the leafs of the enormous palm trees that form a perfect line alongside the highway sway rhythmically in the summer wind. After being invited to attend this season’s Minas Trends by Texbrasil, one of the most important fashion events in Brazil, I made my way over Lisbon to South America.
With an intense jet lag but even more extreme excitement, I embarked on yet another journey into a completely different fashion industry than I had known until now.
Wandering through the long corridors of the airport I tried to mentally prepare for the week that was ahead of me, including a strict schedule of runway shows, atelier visits and designer interviews.
After arriving at the hotel in Belo Horizonte, I had planned to spend the day working and exploring the area, but the jet lag and exhaustion from the day long travel kicked in and so I decided to rest before the big opening show that night.We all traveled to the fairground, which is a fancy building holding everything from concerts, trade shows, conferences and press days, to meet the rest of the team that would experience the week with us and enjoy a runway show presenting outfits from the designers that had a booth at Minas Trends.
We enjoyed a cold Whiskey on the rocks before making our way to the runway show, and I was instantly in love with the mix of traditional Brazilian design and the modern interpretations these brands presented. The outfits were stylish and absolutely wearable on a daily basis, while still expressing creativity, the story behind the brands and fine craftsmanship.
We began the next day with a hearty breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant, including the famous cheese bread, Brazilian coffee and fresh fruit, before making our way to the opening conference of Texbrasil, Abit and FIEMG.
Here, we were presented a number of facts about the region of Minas Gerais, and especially the core characteristics and values of Minas Trends. These include the growth of the fashion industry in the region with a special focus on footwear, while advocating for innovation and education by supporting schools and educational platforms. The trends developed in Brazil are perceived internationally, in order to promote the products and enable the national industry to compete on an international scale. A fact that was mentioned by the committee who held these presentations was that Brazil cant compete with superpowers like China on the market in the traditional sense; pricing will always differ largely due to different production chains and processes, but Texbrasil’s main goal is to create advances through quality and innovation, while preserving traditional influences and techniques.
Overall, 16 buyers from countries like Israel, Australia and the UK were brought to Minas Trends to bring these trends to a global audience, as well as 4 journalists from other Latin American countries and Germany were invited to report on these developments.
After hearing the mission of the event I was immediately excited to see the tradeshow and speak to the designers. We made our way through the large halls of the fairground and discovered emerging design talents, social projects and traditional manufacturers – and a few designers stood out immediately. Some of them presented their newest collection for the Spring/Summer 2019 collection in runway shows on Tuesday and Wednesday, such as Fatima Scofield and NotEqual. Meeting the creative minds behind the collections is always a rewarding experience, but especially the talents we were able to speak to before their shows such as Fabio from NotEqual changed the way I perceived the trade show. Even though it seemed to be focusing on the commercial part of the event, such as increasing international and national sales by creating and presenting commercial collections during the previous night’s show, the sense of the event became evident: Brazil is – and should be – celebrating their fashion scene.
The days we spent walking between the booths, eating Brazilian snacks and enjoying beautiful runway shows were too short though – it felt as though we merely spent two days at Minas Trends and didn’t even see half of the brands and trends that are currently emerging on the East coast of the country.
On our last night together I finally had a typically Brazilian cocktail, the Caipirinha, and we reflected on the last few days while sitting on the porch of a fancy bar downtown. These are truly the moments that I will remember forever.
Before departing home the next day I couldn’t miss the chance to visit the local market again, indulge in Brazilian Dulce de Leche, Espresso from locally harvested coffee beans and the smell of freshly grinded spices of any kind. The sun was burning relentlessly this April morning, but the big palm trees provide the desired shade. I make my way further downtown to the big hall that holds everything from craftsmanship, souvenirs, cheese, fruit and vegetables and even live animals – and I try to soak in as much as possible before making my way back home.