Milena HamanÀ, a young designer from Brazil, has closed her first foreign sales deals during the Mercado Mundo Mix trade fair in Portugal. She and four other designers associated with Casa de Criadores (House of Creators), an initiative known for launching new talent into the fashion market, attended the event in Lisbon, in late May.
The items designed by Milena – sophisticated bikinis and bathing suits – have attracted lots of attention abroad, both for the design and the eco-friendly appeal. This is so because Milena herself develops the thread using yarn made from PET bottles.
"It took six months of research and testing with several clothing manufacturers before inking a deal with one, but it was worth it. In addition to using all-recycled items, the result is an exclusive fabric," she explains.
According to Milena, the collection was designed for women who like to dress well even on the beach. A holder of a degree in Fashion from the Santa Marcelina School, in the city of São Paulo, Milena was born inside the fashion industry. Her grandmother used to own a haute couture atelier, and her parents migrated from knitting to beachwear.
In order not to break tradition, the designer worked at knitting mills Dalutex and Santa Constância and, after spending five years in Paris, returned to Brazil with a diploma from Studio Berçot.
This year, the designer finally launched her beachwear brand, bringing a new proposal in bathing suits and bikinis. Inspired by Art Déco, the debut fashion show took place at Casa de Criadores, in early June, featuring lots of red lipstick and wavy hairdos on the catwalk.
After Portugal and other European countries, Milena wants to reach more distant destinations such as Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. "I believe that the more glamorous items will be successful over there," she says.
Casa de Criadores was established on May 1997, when a group of young designers decided, in partnership with journalist André Hidalgo, to promote an event for launching their new collections. The main objective was to create a space that would place those new designers closer to the Brazilian fashion industry.
From then on, the event became the largest and most visible shop window for Brazilian fashion design. At first centered around the underground scene in the state of São Paulo, which combined fashion, behavior and electronic music, the event started to attract designers and creators from other states of Brazil, at various stages of their careers.
Since its first edition, Casa de Criadores has launched and projected names such as Marcelo Sommer, Cavalera, Ronaldo Fraga, Carlota Joaquina, André Lima, Mário Queiroz, Lorenzo Merlino, Fábia Bercsek, and Giselle Nasser.