JOURNALNext Gen Artisans: Meet Brand Portugal

Shopping in Portugal? These are the Best Lisbon Brands You Won’t Find Alone.

JOURNAL

Next Gen Artisans: Meet Brand Portugal

Shopping in Portugal? These are the Best Lisbon Brands You Won’t Find Alone.

Ever since lisboeta journalist Catarina Portes launched A Vida Portuguesa, the world woke up to Brand Portugal. Brand what we hear you cry? Ok, it’s not yet reached the commercial kudos of ‘Made in Italy’, but trust us, there’s a treasure trove of talent tucked away in Portugal waiting to be discovered. Aside from the pocket of international fashion houses that line Avenida Liberdade and the eponymous high-street brands clustered in Chiado and Baixa, one of the best things about life in Lisbon is that it’s yet to be engulfed by big homogenised chains and the generic high-street model – call it a slim silver lining to Salazar’s 20 years dictatorship and the financial turmoil that hit Portugal in the aftermath of Europe’s economic crisis. Head to old-school neighbourhoods like Graça and São Vincente and you’ll find the same cobblers tapping away in their windows as decades ago. And in an bid to preserve the city’s artisan heritage, the government have declared heritage shops points of cultural patrimony.

From Livraria Bertrand (the world’s oldest bookshop) to the tiniest of florists, hand-made leather glove shops and gardener’s haven of seeds, weaving your way through Lisbon via its elegant turn-of-the-century stores makes for a unique way to uncover the city. (Find the full-list here) Yet far from out-dated, Portugal’s artisan tradition is blossoming, thanks to new wave of Next-Generation creatives combining heritage skills with twenty-first century entrepreneurship and honest prices.  Supporting the preservation of the country’s cultural talents is recently launched initiative Passa ao Futuro, which is based out of Baixa’s Rua da Madalena and connects artisans with local designers and brands to ensure that their skills are maximised and supported.  Dedicated to facilitating relationships, this clued-up team of local socially conscious entrepreneurs have found an interesting way of preserving culture while keeping with the fast-paced times. Meet Lisbon’s emerging artisans, home-crafted brands and the gifts you’ll want to be taking home.

Catarina Malva

Talented 20-something jewellery designer Catarina Malva takes her inspiration from strolls along the beach in her home-town of Cascais.  With rings, necklaces and earrings hand-crafted from solid silver and gold, enigmatic creations are inspired by natural forms, from octopus tentacles to strands of coral, acorn leaves and romanesco cauliflowers.  With prices ranging from €40 to €200 euros, these are investment level pieces at everyday prices. Catch her at the Saturday market set around the square in Principe Real or at concept store Atelier 1200 in Barrio Alto.

D’Olival

This gorgeous wood-lined boutique set on a hip little shopping street in Santos stands out for the purity of its produce.  Specialising in olive oil from small-batch produces from across the country, it’s a great spot to stop by and chat with owner Lino, who’ll pour your samples of his favourite olive tipples while sharing stories of the producers and their families.  Great gifts to take home, we love the micro-producer ‘Amor é Cego’ (Love is Blind) from Evora, and Magna Olea, which won Gold in the global olive oil awards in 2015.

R. Poiais de São Bento 81, 1200-109.

Aresta Viva

The Portuguese have long been the masters of exquisite tiling and it’s always a treat to walk the city streets and stumble across spectacular patterned houses when you least expect it. This tile specialist dates back to 1989 and is the place to go for contemporary designs crafted from ancient techniques.

Rua Antero de Quental no. 22.

Biocol Labs

Feeling the effects of too many pastel de natas, dancing the night away in Lux or jet-setting around the globe, this Portuguese heritage brand has been creating herbal supplements since the 70’s that are tested by white-coated doctors in the lab. Following a recent rebrand, you can now find them in local Lisbon pharmacies, London’s Frame Studios, Nobu Hotels and Planet Organic (coming soon). Favourites include their recently launched travel kit in partnership with Design Hotels, which solves a whole host of problems.

Futah

Inspired by traditional Arabian towels crafted from Portuguese cotton, these clever light-weight throws make for the ultimate travel companion.  Perfect for lounging in the sand or covering up when the sun goes down, there are double sized options for snuggling too in a carnival-esque riot of colours.  Although Futah’s now gone global, you can find their stand-alone store in Campo do Ourique.

Rua Coelho da Rocha 75 D / 1350

Artes e Letras Atelier

A collective of artists and illustrators hand-craft the array of postcards, notebooks, cards, prints and pictures in this Aladdin’s cave of creativity.  Expect quirky designs and heartfelt quotes overflowing from the bookshelves and folders. There’s always an artist on hand to chat to and you can even commission custom designs to take home.

Poiais de São Bento 90, 1200-349 Lisboa

Muxima

The antithesis of your traditional Lycra swimwear line, Muxima is a home-grown brand conceived by two artists to create vintage designs crafted from organic cotton and printed with ethical indigo die.  Call it Conscious swimwear.