Proper Interview: Jose M. de Abreu, La Paz

It’s always a pleasure to see our friend Jose whether we bump into him at a trade show or he’s in Manchester looking for advice on tourist attractions (it’s never a long answer) whilst being an ambassador for his beautiful brand La Paz. Handsome, funny and charming in equal amounts it’s hit us very hard this season not being able to catch up with our favourite Portu-geezer. So to make amends we decided to drop him a line and see what he’s saying via one of our quick and quirky Q&As.

Jose how are you my friend and what are you wearing today?

All good here mate, all good. I’m wearing my board shorts and a basic pocket t-shirt. No shoes.

How have the good people of Portugal been coping with the lockdown?

Pretty well, I would say, people behaved and followed the rules in a general way, so we are managing to keep the numbers down for now, let’s see…

How have things affected the running of La Paz?

Well, it’s been really weird, as it has been for everyone I guess, but we have a small structure and a great spirit in the company so, besides the bad winds, we managed to keep sailing and the boat is floating properly. 

Has it had an effect on the way that you will design things moving forward?

I guess so…during a situation like this at some point you realize that we can live with much less, but also that sometimes we can relax a bit more, we don’t need to overthink and/or overdesign around something we instinctively know that can work in a certain way. There’s a Portuguese author (Agustina Bessa-Luis) who wrote something like sometimes what’s more important is not what you say but what remains to be said, like, in a poem the blank spaces being as important to the main idea as the actual words, and I like the idea of applying this to the design too – Sometimes what makes a garment special can be the detail you don’t design.

I remember reading on your ace blog you saying that the pandemic was an opportunity to contemplate our lives and concentrate on the smaller things. What kind of stuff have you (re)discovered during isolation? 

Personally I’ve always tried to manage to get some time for myself on a daily basis, by reading, meditating, surfing, playing tennis or whatever, but as soon as we got locked down – It’s me, my wife, our three kids and our dog – we all had to rethink the way we look and interact with each other, the more practical tasks and the daily stress went out of our routines but at the same time we had to push each other in order to stay positive and with the good vibes pumping around the house, and it was fun, I also became an alcoholic, but at the end it was great fun. I’m in detox now.

I know your big fans of both music and the sea, so what’s your favourite kind of stuff to listen to when you’re by the coast?

Well, I like to listen to the waves breaking in, the wind, the seagulls, the kids playing and the traditional beach vendors proclaiming the prices of the shit they have for sale, it can be a proper symphony. 

How is our favourite (bearded) model coping with the current situation?

Things haven’t been easy for him during the last few months as he makes a living from selling fishnets on the street markets around Porto and they all have been closed for a while, but he is a strong lad who have been through a lot of shit during his whole life, so he has a hard shell, if you know what I mean. I was shooting with him three weeks ago and he was in a great mood though,I guess that his sense of humour helps him to deal with a lot of stuff.

Tell us about the new La Paz collection, what’s the inspiration behind it and talk us through some of your favourite pieces?

This new collection is probably the strongest we’ve done up until now, honestly, with great fabrics and funky pieces, the inspiration being always around the same stuff mate, I could write you down a novel with some bullshit trying to intellectualize something behind it, but you know, LA PAZ is always about the Atlantic, its people and traditions. All these real people who surround us with their hard wrinkles and soft smiles, no bullshit here.

I can’t believe it’s been over six months since I saw you in Paris. When do you think I will be able to gaze into your dreamy Portuguese eyes once more?

Soon, I hope, can’t wait to get my hands on one or two pints with you mate (my detox will last two days only, just between you and me).


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