Master of Print: Joao Paulo Guedes
In anticipation of Joao Paulo Guedes Autumn/Winter 2016 Fashion Previews at TOM* and Vancouver Fashion week, we sat down with the talented designer to talk about the upcoming collection and the future of the brand.
You initially started off your career in marketing and advertising. Obviously, this is an important skill for a designer to possess. How has your background in marketing impacted the way in which you have formed and run your design business?
My background in marketing has helped me in many ways, but [mostly] in ways I didn’t expect. In Brazil, there wasn’t a degree for graphic design in my University so it fell under marketing and advertising. In school and with my business in Brazil, I really focused on the graphic design elements – that was my strength.
I find that my Illustrator and Photoshop skills have really helped me to create great designs & fabrics, and also to put together a lot of my own promotional tools. Of course, having my own small business [prior] really gave me the ability to trust myself. I am stepping out and building a brand and I am very excited.
In 2013, you graduated the George Brown College Fashion Program. What was it that drew you towards expressing your creativity through fashion?
I come from a city of 4-5 million people, so it’s not small but it doesn’t have the fashion reputation that Rio or Sao Paulo [do]. You go to my city to sit on the beach and enjoy the sun and food. It’s pretty much 32 degrees every day!
When I moved to Canada, I had pretty much never been out of my city. Suddenly it’s autumn and there were beautiful coloured leaves on the trees everywhere. This country has seasons and each one is so different. That was one of the moments that showed me how varied you can dress and present yourself. Also, living in Toronto opens you up to so many diverse people, ideas, and concepts. This experience has helped me find my aesthetic.
When I enrolled in school I was excited but unsure. As soon as I started I worked hard and learned so much. If I told you I only [had sewn] one pencil case before I started school, you wouldn’t believe me. Now I design, I sew, I draft, and I love it.
School also gave me many opportunities like being sent to India on a fashion internship for 3 months. What I learned at Shantanu & Nikhil as an intern in Delhi was so much more than I could have gained just doing an internship here. I try to have interns from George Brown help me with my collection so they have a chance to learn and grow as designers.
I think when most people think of your self-titled label, they automatically think of your vibrant prints. What is the inspiration behind your elaborate print designs? What process do you use to bring them to life on the fabric? I love looking at print and textures. I also love manipulating images. I blend the organic elements with digital elements. It all started when I interned in India. The textiles, colours, and prints there were phenomenal. I decided to create my own. Those prints evolved into my EMDA winning collection. My last two collections were really inspired by architecture and structure. I wanted to see where else I could find inspiration and came across some beautiful images. I found out after that these images were actually of bacteria at a microscopic level. I played around with the concept and colour of my new AW16 collection, and it just started to put itself together.
You were the first winner of the EMDA (Emerging Menswear Design Award at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week), and now you are back at TOM* to showcase your AW16 collection and then headed off to Vancouver Fashion Week. What can we anticipate from you on the runway this season? I think you will see a connection to my previous collections, but I think you will see a connection to my previous collections, but this time I think I took some more risks with layering and textiles. The palette is also a bit dark with grays, blacks, and dark greens and blues. It will still have a lot of fun and high-end streetwear appeal. I also have some great multi-media elements added to the show so anyone that comes should also be entertained. I am so excited for everyone to see it as I have put a lot of energy into this. Who is the type of person you have in mind when you are designing? What is the feeling that you want your fashion to impart to the wearer? More and more I am realizing that it is important to design menswear with a unisex mindset. So really, I just want stylish people to be wearing my clothes. It’s important to feel unique, whether this is through fashion or not, but it is also important to feel comfortable. I really want people to feel original and comfortable. More and more I am realizing that it is important to design menswear with a unisex mindset. So really, I just want stylish people to be wearing my clothes. It’s important to feel unique, whether this is through fashion or not, but it is also important to feel comfortable. I really want people to feel original and comfortable.
@untitledandco campaign with our streetwear line! Check it out! @n.tally @michelleackers @l_gibby ?@yudnguyen A photo posted by Joao Paulo Guedes (@joaopauloguedes_) on
How would you describe the evolution of Joao Paulo Guedes? What direction would you like to see your label go in?
It seems like such a short time since I started this brand but so much has happened. I am still growing and trying to find new ways to be in the market both in Canada and Internationally. As you know, I have tried to follow the traditional and non-conventional methods to get my product out there. The pop-up events have been a great success. I’ve incorporated restaurants and parties to create a bit more excitement. I’m even doing a pop-up shop in Vancouver when I’m there.
Ideally, I am hoping to get my brand recognized and carried in department stores. It would be great to see more Canadian designers carried in our department stores. Simons, Holt Renfrew, Saks, The Bay – feel free to contact me. [chuckles and winks]
There has been a lot of talk about fashion burn out in the industry, and many prominent fashion houses are altering the traditions of fashion week with “shop the season” collections. What is your take on this? Are fashion shows important to your brand? How would you tailor a fashion show to best suit your label’s needs?
I think fashion shows are still very important. They build a buzz and become events. It’s a chance to put on a show. I am really interested in the seasonal shift and having shopping combined with the shows. We live in [an age] that people want things immediately – we don’t want to wait a few months. If the fashion world wants to evolve, we need to move along these paths. I think it could actually create some more excitement. I am hoping to try something similar to this when I’m in Vancouver, but it’s still coming together…
What advice would you give to other designers starting off in the industry?
Take every chance and opportunity that is out there.
Be creative! There is always a way to get things done.
Be supportive of everyone in the industry. We are not competitors. We all need help and support for each other to succeed. We should be building a powerful fashion force in the Canadian market!
Here’s where you can find Joao Paulo Guedes in the coming months….
|TOM*||February 25th @ 10 PM||at College Park followed by an afterparty|
|Trinity Bellwoods Flea||March 12 – 11 AM – 6 PM||At 824 Dundas Street West (Studio Bar)|
|Vancouver Fashion Week||March 18th @ 7 PM|
|Vancouver Pop-Up Shop||March||Stay tuned for details on Facebook|
Shop the collections HERE.