Proper Interview: Manuel and António, Portuguese Flannel

I don’t know what they put in the water over in Portugal but whatever it is, it appears to give it’s population the ability to make truly amazing clothing and the warmest of personalities. Intrigued by these admirable characteristics and their spellbindingly good shirts we decided to delve into the talented world of Manuel and António from Portuguese Flannel for another ‘Proper’ interview.

So how have you guys been during what must be the craziest year of the century so far?

Despite all the instability, sickness and general fear of the past months, we are holding on, moving forward with a positive mind. The world grows in cycles in all aspects and this is undoubtedly a challenging moment. We just hope that in terms of health, employment, social and environmental awareness, things will improve.

How has the pandemic affected the running of Portuguese Flannel?

It has been challenging but we have overcome adversity steadily and gradually. one step at a time, but we are very confident in the present and the future. keep on moving

What is the situation like in Portugal at the moment?

We think that everything has been treated with serenity, professionalism and rigorously. There are some situations more out of control but on a general balance, all institutions and the population in general have made common efforts that are giving good results.

I’ve just seen the teaser video you’ve posted on instagram for your AW20 collection and it looks amazing. Tell us how that came together and who all

Thank you Neil! It was great doing that shoot. great people, very talented indeed. Harmonia is an agency of a friend of ours, Mariana Krug, who brought together a photographer: Ines Silva, directors: Wearegatopardo and very talented artists: Alex Daniel, Cararina Reuss, Duarte Valadares and Rodrigo Viegas. It was spectacular to make this video. and it was also very special because it was filmed where Our great grandfather João Magalhães had his first job in a factory called Cuca

It was there that his craft in textiles began.

Nowadays it is no longer operational but it is a magical place, full of history and sentimental value for us. 

It was there that we filmed this collection: full of rhythm and movement and also a kind of return to our genesis but always with a sharp look into the future. 

Being based in Manchester we’re currently obsessed with your cord Lobo shirt. Do you guys also call corduroy ‘Manchester cloth’ or is that something we’ve just invented here? 

Hehehehe, in Portugal we call it Bombazine. We think it is sometimes difficult to decipher the origin of a certain type of fabric, if we look back in time it is incredible to see the patterns and types of fabrics that were already made even thousands of years ago that are still up to date. if you are going to do some historical research you will be amazed by the similarities of very old fabrics with the most current ones. the world is just reinventing itself, always looking to the past as a reference.

What is corduroy like to work with as a material and are there any other new pieces in the collection made from cord?

We think that those who grew up in the 80s and 90s had a great affinity for corduroy. is a fantastic fabric with lots of variables of size, color and textures. We love working with corduroy. We use it to make shirts, pants and coats.

Which are your favourite pieces from the AW20 collection?

With so many new pieces it is difficult to choose, but we’ve made some unique and special ones, such as reversible pieces: a fantastic gabardine, a sherpa / flannel jacket, an overshirt: jersey one side and flannel the other. The collection is solid, we think.

I know you guys are keen to make your products as sustainably as possible, how is that side of the business developing? 

This is something natural for us. and you don’t even have to make much effort, it’s a pure question of will. We use 99% natural materials and the 1% non-natural is recycled. Even in the packages where the pieces go out to our customers, they are made from potato starch: a biodegradable compound. As a business we have more responsibility to do things in a way that disturbs the ecosystem as little as possible. It is not an obligation for us, it is a personal duty that gives us some sense of responsibility

What does the future hold for Portuguese Flannel? 

The future is the present, we are always keen to do things better. It is part of us. We live the brand, in a healthy way. It is very good to have a job that is not really a job, it is a diversion. As we said, for us the future is the present, therefore, if you are living in the present, you always have a good future.

Final question, LIDL supermarkets in the UK make really good Pasteis De Nata but who makes the best ones in Portugal?

 Hehehehe, it’s very personal. All bakeries in Portugal make pasteis de nata. Sometimes, like everything in life, it is when you least expect it that you find the best. Thank you very much Neil, you have been a good friend of Portuguese Flannel over the years. and you have a magazine that is a reference. we salute you!

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