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With less than a month to go, the pair behind grungy label Marques’Almeida preps us for their first show with Fashion East

Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida are obsessed with youth. Not in the surgical and the age-defying; rather, a youth that might evoke your moody teenage sister. Oh, how you wanted to shake her but envied her devil-may-care ways. Graduating from the MA at Central Saint Martins in February, the Portuguese couple behind Marques’Almeida joins Lulu Kennedy’s force to offer a season with abundance of attitude. Fashion East hasn’t seen petulance so desirable yet.

Dazed Digital: What drew you two together?
Marta & Paulo: We met on our BA in Portugal. We’ve always worked on separate projects but were so close, we ended up being each other’s consultants. Initially we used the MA to understand our own identity and to find where our respective strengths lie. When it came to pre-collections, we figured it was the right time to try working together and it felt very natural. It was always in the horizon that we would do a label together, anyway.

DD: What can we expect for S/S12?
Marta & Paulo:
It’s a clear continuation as we wanted to confirm what we started saying with our graduate (a/w 11) collection, so that people understand our identity. So it’s still inspired by 90s street style, we’ve looked at the same things again and more, but always in the same spirit. For the MA show, you’re limited to such few outfits because you’re showing with 20 others, thus we couldn’t do too much. We’ve plumped up for s/s 12 so it now feels more complete, and adapted it to summer. For example we worked with cheesecloth for a/w but didn’t really get to develop it, so we’re taking that further, also to give our show a lighter feel.

DD: Is it more important for Marques’Almeida to offer wearable clothes or to experiment with design?
Marta & Paulo: We want our designs to be really wearable but also cool and often, to be really cool it needs to be new and sometimes weird; it’s a tricky, fine line that we want to walk with our label. We want to keep people interested by pushing ourselves creatively. But our main concern is to make it wearable and desirable in a way that is fresh and young. For s/s at least, we are making sure whatever we did before is easier to wear.

DD: Describe your aesthetic.
Marta & Paulo: We want to make basics exciting. The old i-D magazines were full of people always in jeans, a t-shirt and a leather jacket or shoes – it’s that youth code we are obsessed with. Basically; raw, effortless, young.

DD: So being very much based on youth culture, how do you guys keep fresh?
Marta & Paulo: Probably by being aware of things. We often go into the 90s, but we also do a lot of Internet research. Loads of shitty things on there, but there are some good street-style blogs. We do love to go around, people spotting. Our work is not about what’s happening now in street culture; we don’t draw inspiration from trends – we see it to know what’s going on. Mostly we go after that unfashionable girl who’s wearing a weird sweatshirt with average fit jeans… we are inspired by personalities; it’s the basic idea of designing based on a mood. We like to think, ‘We’ve got this really moody girl, what would she wear, what is she doing.’

DD: Is it possible to wear denim at a formal occasion?
Marta & Paulo: Definitely! We think it would look more amazing at a formal event, but again, it depends on who’s wearing it. Just don’t talk about Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in their full denim… [laughs] We would love for our collection to be worn in a formal context.

DD: Where do you hope to bring Marques’Almeida?
Marta & Paulo: Our whole goal is to obviously, build a brand and keep growing; to make sure that the mood and attitude that we try to reflect through our clothes is identifiable in the future.

Text by Sue-Wen Q