Fátima Lopes is the most successful fashion designer in Portugal. And, thanks to her elegant, futuristic designs, she has also caused a sensation outside of her home country. She opened the Fashion Week in Paris several times and lived in the French capital for a long time. But when the crisis hit Lisbon, she returned to live in her home town. She talked to BOX IN A SUITCASE about how Lisbon inspires her.
YOU LIVED IN PARIS TO WORK ON YOUR LABEL, FÁTIMA LOPES, FOR QUITE SOME TIME. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO MOVE BACK TO LISBON?
Lisbon was the obvious choice for me – it’s a warm place and I feel at home here. But I still travel a lot and I visit Paris regularly.
HOW HAS LISBON CHANGED OVER THE LAST YEARS?
Since I first moved here, 23 years ago, everything has changed. Back then the city had no real notion, no vision of fashion. Lisbon was very isolated, but thanks to globalization, a scene with many designers and manufactures has formed. Today we have everything a fashion city needs. That’s the reality.
HOW DID YOU PERSONALLY EXPERIENCE THE GREAT CRISIS THAT PORTUGAL HAD TO GO THROUGH A FEW YEARS AGO?
The crisis was real, everyone was affected, some gave up. But those who stayed here have decided to grab everything they can to reinvent this country and I hope very much that there is a positive future waiting for Lisbon!
Many who have left Portugal to live abroad are coming back to Lisbon. Why?
We are a seafaring nation: the Portuguese have always gone out into the world to discover foreign treasures. The aim was to learn from this experience and, after each return, to change and advance Portugal as a country. We’re doing this again. We always had to struggle and I believe that good times are dawning on us now!
WHAT DO YOU miss the most about Lisbon when you’re abroad?
I love to travel, but this city has a special impact on me. I like to live with the sun every day – it has shaped me. When I’m in Lisbon, I wake up with a smile on my face every morning.
WHY DO YOU PRODUCE your clothes here? YOU could ALSO PRODUCE IN CHINA …
I’ve decided that no other place is as good as Lisbon at producing my clothes. We simply have the best quality. And at reasonable prices and under good working conditions!
WHAT DO YOU wish FOR PORTUGAL’S FUTURE?
I just hope Lisbon will keep evolving. It’s a fashionable city that I’ve chosen to live and work in, and I want to live here in future as well, so of course I hope that Lisbon will grow even more and remain a great place.