Béhen is a Portuguese fashion brand developed in the hardest time for all, in the pandemic. The designer behind this project is Joana Duarte who creates and combines the impossible. Her passion for the history of textiles and the stories they retell from all over the world bring into the existence most unique pieces.

After finishing her Master’s Degree in London, Joana, like most other young fashion designers, thought that her future lies in some grand fashion house. But, after her trip to India, Joana was inspired by the colourful saris and their transmission from generation to generation. This was a decisive moment when Béhen was born. Finding and reusing old fabrics, Béhen started to make connections with women all around the world. Restoring old beauty and transforming it into something that will last. It does not matter for what specific materials were used or intended all of it can be reinterpreted into the fashion world through beautiful apparel.

Credit: Observador

However, Joana did not only want to create unique and special garments that will be worn all over the world but of good quality. Béhen works exclusively with small businesses and ateliers due to the ability to have greater control over the production alone. Not only that but, even though small businesses can offer a lot not much is known about them since many rely on mass production companies. Also, being in partnership with local ateliers and market broadens the skills and encourages the creation of the most unprecedented pieces of clothing.

Credit: ModaLisboa

What makes Béhen more interesting is the brand’s desire to take care of the planet and be as sustainable as it can. Working only with antique fabrics and authentic collaboration with local communities results in the creation of clothing that avoids damaging the world around us as many big industries do. Additionally, there is no mass production of Béhen’s clothing lines. How can it be sustainable if there is almost a vast number of the same garments? As a result, Béhen produces only a limited number of pieces, making them even more special and one of a kind.

Credit: Gonçalo Silva

Béhen takes pride also in working and supporting many projects that help in providing better lives for the ones who need it most. Alongside several ateliers they have in Lisbon, they are collaborating with the Aga Khan Foundation which is encouraging and providing sewing training for unemployed women. Furthermore, as Joana was volunteering for an international organisation, she has met a Syrian family to which she is still supporting and giving 5% of sales for the education of children.

Joana Duarte’s vision has blossomed not only into a fashion brand but into a piece of art. Every fabric and design piece takes us to another part of the world, describing extraordinary life stories. Having one of the most noteworthy sustainable plans, Béhen is a brand a fashion industry should look up to. Wearing Béhen makes everyone be a part of exclusive history.

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