Home > Interviews > Paulo Rabelo (Fashion Chamber): A Real Win-Win

Paulo Rabelo (Fashion Chamber): A Real Win-Win

16:00 19 de November de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

Paulo Rabelo, President of the Fashion Sector Chamber

The fashion market is, undoubtedly, one of Ceará’s strong points and is expanding, especially with the development of new technologies for design, as well as for the qualification of the workforce. There is room for everyone, small, large and medium-sized enterprises. The Fashion Sector Chamber plays a fundamental role in this sector, uniting links in the chain and defending the interests of the professionals in the area, as Paulo Rabelo, President of the Chamber, explains.

What is your assessment of the fashion industry in Ceará?
The strong point of the area is Jeans Wear. We follow some very interesting footsteps with the history of design, since Fortaleza was elected Creative City of Design in 2019 by Unesco. We are very focused on making better elaborated pieces to gain more space in the market. Generally speaking, we see a slightly stronger circular economy, as well as name brand fashion appearing, which we haven’t seen before. More and more new brands are appearing. Fashion in Ceará has decentralized and the businesses are more dispersed.

How does the Fashion Chamber contribute to the sector’s development?
The Fashion Sector Chamber is available to unite fashion and market links. There are many interesting projects, but these initiatives are fragmented and poorly connected. Our job is to bring together the separate links in the chain and unite them with entities so that, together, we can reach a goal. Another objective is to make the market more sustainable. We have a project to create eco-points in Fortaleza, so that people who want to throw away their clothes can do it sustainably and in the right place. The associations that want this material can take it and transform it into new products. Our focus in fashion is to stimulate these ideas, to stimulate innovation, through new designers and new products and in a more sustainable and circular way.

The 100% Ceará project is an example of this…
We have clothing stores in the interior of Ceará where we noticed that the producers only copy products and put them on the market. So, the intention of this project is to professionalize these people. In other words, help professionals who have little information and create branding. In this way, we help everyone to achieve market positioning so that they can grow in the Fashion market. The National Service for Industrial Apprenticeship (Senai) also helps with the training part.

Can you give an example of the scope of the project?
In the city of Marco, for example, we have practically 70 clothing makers and all of them focus on intimate fashion. The intention of 100% Ceará is to professionalize this hub, both with sewing training, as well as design and innovation. We are working to obtain land, obtain buildings and put these people inside their own factories. In other words, the initiative is joining links to make the chain stronger.

What message would you pass on to these designers and investors looking to enter this market?
That they can look for their representative entities such as the Federation of Industries of the State of Ceará (Fiec) or Fecomércio, because in these places there are people who will help. All these institutions do an excellent job of connecting small, medium and large companies. They receive projects of all sizes and, without a doubt, will identify the problems of each one.

How do you assess the business environment in Ceará today?
The more I travel, the more I admire Ceará. We even joke that it’s “My Country Ceará”. When we went to the Febratex fair, in Blumenau, the largest event in Latin America for machinery, the state supported us by encouraging and offering facilities. Ceará is always open to new businesses. The most optimistic calculations indicate that in five years Ceará will increase its Gross Domestic Product fivefold. We have large companies in Ceará, and other companies are coming, and this will bring many investments to our sector and more and more jobs. Here we have the Export Processing Zone (ZPE), which few places in Brazil have. We also have the most connected city in Brazil with submarine cables, which attracts technology companies. It is a true “win-win”. Ceará is living a vibrant moment and this needs to be encouraged, we need to surf this wave.