Look behind in the scenes of any factory, atelier or small workshop producing clothing, and you will meet a room full of skilled, capable craftspeople. Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida know this well after 10 years of working with such creatives to produce MARQUES ‘ALMEIDA, and wanted to make space to celebrate their work. As Marques says, “We felt that the makers, the crafters and the artisans (who sometimes get so appropriated) are the ones less celebrated in the fashion industry, and they are our community.“
The result is the M’AKERS program. Recognising how vitally important the experiences of these craftspeople are to the future of fashion, the designers sought to capture and preserve this knowledge. M’AKERS reflects this importance through founding a research and mentorship initiative focused on preserving the knowledge passed from generation to generation of artisans.
MARQUES ‘ALMEIDA has identified this communal know-how as an essential tool toward sustainable making in fashion and are working to ensure it is not only protected, but integrated into contemporary production in a permanent, ongoing manner. “This is a continuous work that we hope we can continue to fund so it really has no agenda, no end point, other than to celebrate these people and their knowledge, and to learn from them.”
M’AKERS will connect professionals across Portugal, beginning with an Azorean teacher and quiltmaker, an artisan utilising fish scales in her work and a trained architect using traditional techniques in patchworking. The program hits at the social engagement concern of the M’A Manifesto, which has pledged positive action through community building, product and business operations. For the other two manifesto points, MARQUES ‘ALMEIDA have committed to online pre-sales as a means of reducing waste in garment production for their upcoming A/W 22 collection, to be presented in summer 2022.
As a companion to the program, a new film CAN TRADITIONAL ARTISANAL TECHNIQUES BE USED AS A TOOL FOR SOCIAL CHANGE? will be launching as part of London Fashion Week Digital on 19 February, 2022. Screen the film now and pre-order the collection until 25 February, 2022 at MARQUES ‘ALMEIDA.