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ANA SEGURADO STUDIO: SUSTAINABLE LUXURY FASHION FROM SOUTHERN PORTUGAL

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SUSTAINABLE CLOTHING MADE IN EUROPE, WITH A SUBTLE TOUCH OF JAPANESE MINIMALISM IS HOW ANA SEGURADO PROPOSES WE FORM OUR WARDROBE ESSENTIALS. THIS YOUNG DESIGNER AND ENTREPRENEUR SHOWS US WHY PORTUGAL IS BECOMING A POINT OF REFERENCE IN EUROPEAN ETHICAL FASHION.

Words By José M. Sainz-Maza

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Many eco-conscious brands have been born here in the corner of Southwestern Europe, and today Ana Segurado brings us a taste of the best that Portugal has to offer for our future. Worldwide, there is an unstoppable tidal wave heading towards more ethical consumption models, and the fashion industry is now also moving in the same direction. With still much room for improvement, from production processes to the types of fabrics used, it is the small labels such as ANA SEGURADO STUDIO that are leading this shift towards sustainability. 

It is often not easy to differentiate between genuine actions and ‘greenwashing’ simply aimed at increasing sales among the younger generations to enhance brand image. That is precisely why it is necessary to look beyond the slogans and promises and look into the day-to-day operations of each company. Ana is very clear about this, and she defends that her firm is sustainable from a global point of view; from the selection of clothing materials to packaging. In addition to being the CEO of the eponymous clothing brand, she is also the design lead and is behind all the manufacturing processes, carried out by a small and motivated team of talented professionals. Far from the quantity-over-quantity business model and strongly delocalised production of fast fashion companies, Ana’s garments are a true reflection of her personal ethics.

But who is Ana? Born in Beja, Alentejo, the entrepreneur told us that she developed a fascination for fashion from an early age, helping her grandma unwind knit hanks for the blouses that she knitted, spending hours with her while she sewed with perfect skill and rediscovering old favorites in her closet. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts, she joined the Fashion Design course at the Modatex Vocational Training Center in Porto in 2010, in February 2012 winning the 1st prize in the Young Fashion Designers Contest – Modtíssimo Portugal. Later that year, she participated in the runway show of the 31st Portugal Fashion Spring-Summer 2013 at Espaço Bloom, followed by the launch of her own brand, a little more than two years later.

When founding ANA SEGURADO STUDIO, Ana intended to unite her passion and work by combining her love for nature and commitment to sustainability, with her interest in fashion. Asked about the most significant challenges she has faced over the years, she highlights the financial and logistical aspects of the business, and acknowledges that leveraging a brand implies much more than just being a designer. Corporate tenets ​​are important too, of course, and this is something Ana has worked on from the beginning. She defines her label as mindful, honest and positive, aimed at curious, refined, empathic, caring individuals who feel good in their own skin.

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Ana’s will to celebrate a slow, cruelty-free and greener lifestyle is reflected throughout the manufacturing and distribution process. In her atelier in the beautiful coastal city of Porto, her team produces small, exclusive collections using organic materials and biodegradable fabrics, such as fair trade GOTS certified organic cotton. Her suppliers and business partners are aligned with ANA SEGURADO STUDIO’s values, must be committed to eco-friendly practices, and also take responsibility for the impact they have on the planet and the people working in their supply chains. On her end, Ana also emphasises their efforts to reduce water and energy consumption, as well as to minimise their carbon footprint. Her firm delivers their clothes in recycled, recyclable cardboard boxes and compost mailers, avoiding the use of plastic, and has partnered with CTT Correio Verde (Green Shipping) who use carbon-neutral shipping, electric vehicles and electronic purchase receipts.

Her creations are unique and comfortable-looking, timeless, the kind that withstand the passage of time well and have potential to easily become wardrobe essentials. She explains that the simple cuts of her garments, and their elegant and uncomplicated designs and natural colors are inspired by Japanese minimalism -of which she declares herself a fan-, and are complemented by androgynous themes, allowing self expression by any wearer. A brief visit to her website is enough to understand what Ana means when she talks about the luxury of simplicity, and between dresses, culottes and tops of those that you know you will be able to use for years, her joyful and confident style is easily revealed. 

Looking to the future, this Portuguese designer shares that “fashion is gradually becoming a force for good, though is not yet very significant – it needs to be more supportive of women’s rights and gender equality, the rights and livelihoods of children globally, reducing poverty for some of the poorest members of our global community and preserving our planet for generations to come.” Companies like hers, focused on local production and seeking to educate consumers and challenge the status quo in one of the world’s most polluting industries, are the spearhead of a generation of young entrepreneurs who not only dream, but work hard to achieve their goals. 

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