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Out in Porto with frankie & lou or: “Does it come in organic too?”

This is a guest post by Nadine Kopp from Koppiright Fotografie who joined me on my last production trip to Porto. Thank you dear Nadine for the wonderful photos, it was so great to having you with me!

At early January I was invited to fly to Portugal together with Leny, the founder of the organic wear brand frankie & lou, to finalize the new autumn/winter collection 2020/2021. Of course I was also allowed to bring home some great pictures from the trip.

After a very early flight (6:30 AM is really not my time), we landed in foggy and rainy Porto. From there we drove on to Barcelos, a place just outside Porto, which is known for its tradition of textile production.
There we were warmly welcomed by Liliana. She is the responsible account manager for frankie & lou and takes care of everything concerning the production and processing of the garments. For those who did not know it yet: Leny is a native of Switzerland – just like Liliana. And so the two switched directly to Swiss German. It took my brain a few minutes to “listen” to it. But relatively quickly I was able to take part in the conversations again (here a little thanks to my brain for being able to react so quickly. 😊)

At first we discussed open points concerning the current Spring/Summer collection. Especially the delivery dates were very important for Leny.

But then we went straight to the new autumn/winter 2020/2021 collection, which is already in the starting blocks. Leny had already made the technical drawings in Germany of the pieces she wanted to have in the new collection. So now it was all about choosing the fabrics for these items…and it was really not as easy as expected. Most of the fabrics are also available in organic and organic qualities, but as it is always the case – there are also some fabrics that you can’t get in organic. First of all there is corduroy, which is actually not available in organic cotton. That was a pretty big damper for Leny, because cord is supposed to be one of the main materials in the new collection.

What I noticed most when choosing the fabrics is that Leny attaches great importance to the origin and quality. With every fabric that Liliana presented to her, she therefore asked: “Is it also available in organic? I think I heard this question 30 times that day.
But that shows how much Leny wants to stand behind her pieces. She wants to be able to say with all her heart, “Yes, this is organic cotton.” And I can find absolutely nothing wrong with that.

After we had chosen the fabrics, we were allowed to visit the production hall. It was a fantastic moment for me as a photographer, because I was allowed to photograph anything and everything.
This shows me that the production company also has nothing to hide and works absolutely transparent. Every single machine was explained to us, the individual production processes were shown and all employees were very friendly and welcoming, even if we sometimes did not speak the same language. I hope that I can transport exactly this feeling with my pictures:
Absolute transparency and a lot of people who work with heart on the products to create a fantastic collection. Above all Leny, who puts all her time, energy and heart into these great garments. Thank you for letting me be part of it and now seeing clothes with completely different eyes.

So after spending the whole day in the production company, we had a nice dinner in Porto in the evening and then went to bed pretty quickly. I was on my feet for 22 hours at that point and couldn’t get a straight sentence out.

The next morning we went straight to the airport and back home. Leny, the little workaholic had to continue working on the collection on the plane while I tried not to let it show that the flight was one of the worst in my life. We had continuous turbulence… my absolute nightmare. 😊 Fortunately we barely survived.

I am super thankful for this fantastic experience I had during these 24 hours and hope that my pictures can show a little bit how valuable each of these clothes is.

All my love
Nadine

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