In Conversation with Ana Duarte
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
I really love to travel. If I had more money I would travel all the time. I think it has to do with my spirit at the moment, sometimes if I wish I would go to the mountains, and the next year maybe the beach or the desert. This year I was lucky enough to go to Chile, so I had the mountains, the beach, the desert, I had a piece of everything. I just love the world in general.
Your favourite book, film, or music, that motivate & inspire you.
Book would be Life of Pi, Steve Jobs’s biography. I read a lot of entrepreneurial texts, like Elon Musk which is very good to have insights into the industry. Then I also like romantic books like ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks, so it’s a bit of everything. But I read more on the business side of things.
I like to watch musicals like Moulin Rouge, the Phantom of the Opera. For music I would say Lana del Ray, Justin Bieber, Arctic Monkeys, Nickelback, Gorillas, and John Mayer.
Tell us something about your brand.
It’s very sports related. We have already done six collections, three of them were inspired by sports, so Kickboxing, Snowboarding, and Formula One. And the others were travelling called Voyage, and gangsters in the 20s so that was the Prohibition.
All our collections are very theme based, we decide the fabrics accordingly. We don’t really go for the weather season thing right now because people travel and the weather is constantly changing. So we have pieces that can be for summer and winter in all the collections.
I try to do everything as sustainably as possible. All of our manufacturers are Portuguese, almost all of them. Portuguese and Spanish for now. I’ve seen the factories and they are sustainable in their manufacturing process. We work with seamstresses in Portugal. Not yet with factories as the production is small. Somethings are made in-house and somethings are made outside.
I am the head designer and I also handle the business side of things. So although I work a lot of hours I always try that my workers and interns just work the normal amount, so you know 10 – 6. And if they don’t take work home, the better, as then they are more motivated to work. I try to choose materials that don’t pollute as much. So we are trying to source materials that are recyclable for the next season. It’s not easy but we’re trying to find more. And although we want to sell more of our brand, we want to sell sustainably.
What value are you trying to create through your work?
I have always wanted to create, of course, like probably all the other designers. But it’s more about knowing you find a piece that you like and then you know there’s a history behind it, like the concept and the way it was made, that it was well made and the materials were well chosen, and when you open it you see the little detail on the inside that no one else sees but you know it’s there. Then you put on the jacket and you feel like you could do more that day and people will take you more seriously and you just feel better with yourself. I think overall I draw because I like seeing people who actually wear the clothes because they love them, that just makes it special.