Graziela Sousa

Alumni Talks @FAUL

Nov
02

We started to implement the Alumni Talks at FAULisboa, in the fields of Design: Fashion, Communication and Product Design.

The scheme is as follows: each month we have a talk at lunch time with an alumni which comes and speaks about its career, discusses the challenges of the workplace and also explains the way he/she chose to pursue studies, courses, post-grads etc.

We already had the opportunity to host 3 talks in the field of Fashion:

  • December 2017 – with Filipa Homem, who graduated more than 15 years ago, worked with Alexander MacQueen, H&M, TopShop, Knot among many other international brands;

  • May 2018 – Daniela Pais – a sustainable designer and trend researcher, who pursued studies in the Nederlands after graduating from FAUL and has since built her own sustainable brand Elementum, while collaborating with Li Edelkoort’s trend office ‘Trend Union’;

  • October 2019 – this time, we decided to try something a bit different and tried a different orientation, having topics or themes for each talk, having the chance to gather more than 1 alumni for each one – so we tried for the first time at October 26th. The theme was Fashion Communication and we invited a fashion journalist, Margarida Brito Paes (editor of Delas.pt – the Diário de Noticias online fashion magazine) and Maria Rita (a fashion photographer who has been working for the last 8 years with several brands, stores and magazines).

The format is still evolving, but this was an approximation to a better format – specially because we aim to show our students what a graduate can do after leaving the university as well as the different courses that a career in fashion can take.
It is very important to show them that they can do several things other then designing clothes, because the fashion industry demands much more than that, and can offer several other jobs and opportunities.
It is also important to underline that these alumni can help to uncover the ‘unknown’ gap from leaving the uni to finding a job one loves and one can excel and make a proper living at.
The room was full and the attendees made several questions, so we’ll do one more in the next semester and then reflect about the growth and evolution of the initiative.

sponsored’ly ever after

Sep
23

It’s been three weeks since one of the biggest Instagram events ever. Yes, The Ferragnez! This marriage between two celebrities came to mark a critical moment and deserves attention in our history. If not, it strongly affirms the power of influencers and what they represent to brands.

But I can’t really speak about this without having contradictory feelings.

On the one hand, it fascinates me how this great influencer (Chiara Ferragni) works with the brands that invest in her, a true entrepreneur with an incredible structure of competent managers and marketeers which generate unprecedented values ​​of brand turnover.

On the other hand, there’s something about it which makes me feel unconfortable. I often remember the movie ‘The Truman Show’, where we could foresee all this.

We were suddenly able to spend the day peeking at her wedding, seeing Leoncino playing, knowing where the groom is, how the bridesmaids are dressed, what people are eating at the party. In a little while will sure be able to smell the flowers and hear the songs live. Maybe, to be there in VR. Who knows?

I question how much of that is made up, how much is actually be true. A sponsored truth? A sponsored life? A sponsored happily ever after?

An influencer as such makes her life her profession. And this is as astonishing, because it alters many of the previous paradigms, as it is scary.

The world has turned with the Queen of Instagram but I really don’t know if I want to ‘keep up with the Ferragnez’.

go do

Oct
26

It’s not that common to get this inspired by the daily thought by Seth Godin on my email. So here’s what shook me today:

First, interact

The best way to tell if your speech is going to go well is to give your speech.
The best way to find out if your new product has market appeal is to try to sell it.
The best way to become a teacher is to teach.
There’s a huge need for study, refinement and revision. No question about it.
None of it means anything, though, if you are hiding from the market.
There used to be a dangerous myth: the genius in an attic, who arrives one day, fully formed, with a grant, a Pulitzer and a string of accolades, out of nowhere.
Great work doesn’t come out of nowhere. It comes out of interactions with the people you seek to change.

Creating something to help students and upcoming fashion designers has been my drive for more than two years, and I’ve said many times ‘I need to be prepared’, or ‘I’m building my model, I’ll apply it later’. Truth be told – I just need to f&€king start something, devote myself and make it grow.

I watched this keynote speaker sometime ago (professor Paul Hannon) saying that if one wants to teach and promote entrepreneurship one has, first of all, to have an entrepreneurial behavior – so here’s me, just leaning in!
I just started a Facebook group in which I’ll be sharing a few important matters and opportunities with students, upcoming designers and professionals, hoping I can ignite the innovative and entrepreneurial spark, while fostering information sharing and collaboration. It’ll work as a complement to the blog’s activity and will be more focused on sharing interesting articles, useful links, resources, job opportunities and contests.

Let’s see how it goes/grows.

DO AVESSO by Constança Saraiva

Sep
30

“Inside Out or The countries we carry” is the name for Constança Saraiva’s art project which will be presented tomorrow with a round table discussion at Edge Arts, in Lisbon. This artistic project poses questions about the clothes we wear and the places they came from – a very well pointed perspective since Constança relies on the clothe’s tags that tell this information. Constança made participants reflect about the fashion industry throughout this participatory process during the last week – while collecting clothe’s tags and insights, which will all be included in an upcoming publication about the whole process.

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© Edge Arts| Constança Saraiva

So do not forget to go: tomorrow(1st of October) at 18.30 at Edge Artes, Espaço Amoreiras, in Lisbon.

Serendipity – is what I call to the fortunate event of meeting Constança during the event Conversas in Lisbon, in which I was (with my dear coleague Mário Matos Ribeiro) talking about the PopUp shop of FA-ULisboa’s grad students – DEMO’15, which took place during last July thanks to a partnership with Res do Chao.

During this event – an informal gathering of people who always brings up nice conversations around the presented themes – people, including Constança, started asking us questions about the students, the fashion business, mostly about how do we educate/prepare them for a future in the fashion industry and about how can we make Portuguese fashion make its way to the general not-filthy-rich-nor-vip public.

There’s a lot of times in which I feel a bit lonely in this endeavor I took upon myself to grow interest in fashion education, fashion careers and fashion entrepreneurism, in which I feel like I’m that girl who wants to change things and still hasn’t figure out where to start. That is why I have to thank Constança, because Avesso is proof that it is possible to do it – getting into people’s minds and making them reflect about things, one action at a time.

Failure and self-conciousness

Sep
10

It’s very easy to say “make mistakes and learn from them” – but what about the real feeling when s#$t happens, is it any good?

I’ve been reflecting about it for a long time – we all have our nice short tales about failing, about the mistakes we will never forget and will avoid for years to come. But what about those we are secretly still embarrassed about?
I remember a few from my time as a junior-designer for a brand, specially one time when I spent some days designing a line and it was totally crushed – and looking back, I don’t know what was on my mind back then – thank god they crushed it! 🙂
We fail, we feel the shame (actually I blush, so I feel it and people around me see it as well) but then we just walk right through it and do better the next time.

So I always tell my students and friends: “don’t be afraid to ask for things” – self-exposure is a very serious thing and the faster you start getting used to it, the faster you’ll stop blushing or excusing yourself. And that’s why I started this blog, that’s why I send a few emails and go meet people to ask for help and question their ideas – I still blush, yes, but at least I’ll never say I didn’t try.

Dior and I

Sep
09

Had the luck to get invited by ModaLisboa to the premiere of the movie-documentary ‘Dior and I‘, showing Raf Simons’ entrance in the fashion house and the eight weeks that preceeded his first couture show for Dior.

Not so much for the fashion genius anyone can see in Raf, well I don’t, I saw an organized aesthete, facing a professional and artistic challenge and surpassing it with distinction – I got to admire his way of thinking shapes, connecting visual arts and maintaining his own point of view: his lens, his touch, while reinterpreting Christian Dior’s.

I was excited while watching the movie, I still want to watch it again… and yes, I missed the runway rush more than ever.

It’s not that I’m changing my mind about what my intentions as a professional and an educator are, I just realized that, when it comes to fashion – on the couture league at least, you can still do your ode to creativity, if you’re talented enough, if you get your chance and specially if you love doing it. And at the Dior house, business will just make its way (thanks to great professionals and a huge reputation) and that’s something we didn’t see Raf worrying about.

So yes, maybe we can split fashion in two sides: the artistic side and the business side – maybe we should be exploring both – one focused on processes and products and bringing to life new shapes and proposals, and the other making them work and helping them finding their way to reach the audience – fashion is made to be worn after all and maybe it’s in the interconnection of these two mindsets that we can learn and evolve.