A topic on the lips of many of those in the fashion industry revolves around ensuring every culture is represented. Diversity should be celebrated, and that does not exclude fashion.
Many designers embrace the world we live in and take inspiration for their designs and fabrics, or when choosing their models. This certainly includes Marques’ Almeida. What they do is celebrate, and they do this with ease; second nature. The women in their shows are their friends – with whom they work with on a regular basis – and real representations of the women they see everyday. When they are showcasing their collection in London’s East End (like they did for their SS18 show recently) they fully portray the women who live in that area. It’s difficult not to wax lyrical about them.
Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida are the ingenious duo behind the London-based label. Both hailing from Portugal, the design house was launched in 2011 after they combined their talents while on the Fashion MA at Central Saint Martins. “It’s this weird connection with every woman around the world in all these crazy different circumstances,” Marta said, speaking to Vogue after their SS18 show last month. “It could be like a mum of three in Middle America living in a trailer park; or it could be an artist; it could be a retired woman. There’s all these crazy references coming in, and it just builds on that.
“So yeah, there are Americana references and Oriental references. It was a very messy approach, but – as always – it’s about who they are; their personalities. I think we had 44 girls and 35 of them are Marques’ Almeida girls that we find and that we’re friends with. It’s about how we put it together in the end.”
Using street casting – or, in some cases, Instagram – helps keep the brand real. It’s this connection with reality that engages in people’s brains and attracts them to see what the pair will do next. Arguably, not enough designers represent real women, and it is an ongoing discussion in the industry and further afield. When the day comes that women of every shape, colour, culture, and age are portrayed in high fashion, then we’re sure we won’t be alone in celebrating that.
For now, we will continue to put Marques’ Almeida on that pedestal for embracing our world. It is this element of realness which means Marques’ Almeida are noticed and have remained as a brand to be reckoned with. And, even though SS18 has just gone, we already want to see what they have planned for AW19.
** Illustration by Charlotte Righton **
Words by Eliza Frost