In 2011, life-long friends Jose Miguel de Abreu and André Bastos Texeira decided to join forces to set up a new clothing brand, called LA PAZ.
La Paz Clothing is a Portuguese brand that draws on the vast cultural and design history of it’s homeland and the relaxed style of the founder’s hometown of Porto. Inspired by the Atlantic, its people and traditions, the brand’s aim is to work with some of the best local manufacturers, to make timeless and durable goods.
Having recently darted across across to Portugal’s second city on a team weekend (which included plenty of port tastings..) we were enchanted by the brand and the city. So we sat down with Jose to find out more….
Tell us how La Paz came to be?
Me and Andre have known each other since forever, and we have both had this feeling about clothing. I was working in communications and advertising and Andre was living in London but he had a shop here in Porto at the same time. At some point the guys I used to work for moved to Angola so I started to search for something new, that’s when Andre came to me saying that we should do something together. We first thought about distributing some brands here in Portugal, but the economy was really low. We started visiting some factories and meeting some people and realised that a lot of good brands were producing here, so we thought that we should give it a try and start our own brand, which we did, so here we are!
What have been the chief influences when designing your products?
Influences? Grandpa clothes, street life, people, the sea, nature, antiques markets, old and historical clothes, fabrics, books, fisherman, work wear, vintage shops, people in the countryside, mountains and expeditions. And much more.
I would also say that not having enough money to buy all the stuff I would like to wear was something that improved my creativity a lot growing up. I ended up wearing a lot of my parents clothing, from both my father and my mother.
On the other side, Andre’s mother runs a high-fashion distribution company here in Portugal for many years now. So he grew up around the fashion business. When we started six years ago there was this big heritage trend which considering our differing backgrounds suited us really well. We looked to re-interpret a lot of designs we liked, pretty much exclusively classic stuff, but we sought to bring a touch of freshness I think.
Why the name LA PAZ?
LA PAZ was the name Andre gave to his shop in Porto. It means peace. Andre had some turbulent working experiences and was looking for something of his own. With his store he now had the possibility to leave a mark of a more peaceful future. He first named the store “LA PAZ Merchant Studio”. The name became quite popular, so Andre and José decided to keep the “LA PAZ” part.
What makes your garments ‘well-made’ ?
We have always picked premium materials from certified sources and try to find partners who can guarantee the working conditions within their companies. Plus there are always lost of things on our side of the business that we are trying to improve too, such as the product packaging materials, which are basically plastic, the carbon footprint of the transportation of the goods, and much more.
What have been the high and lows of La Paz journey?
The lows were mostly linked to the management of the quantities with the factories, that was really difficult and if you don’t get it right it can ruin a small brand in just two or three seasons. That and of course the investment at the beginning – process between delivering, paying to the factories, and receiving from our customers, it can get suffocating some times, but a characteristic we both have is that we are very optimistic.
I must say that until now it has been more about the highs than the lows. We have met a lot of beautiful people, we travel a lot, and mostly we are blessed to do what we like to do on a daily basis.
What is in the future for La Paz?
We would like to have some shops outside of Portugal, nothing too big or flashy but something that could reflect our whole concept and we are working on some ideas in two or three major cities. So watch this space.