LAASSO recently visited our partnering clothing atelier Spring in Portugal. Here, we spoke with Alexandra Carneiro, who founded the atelier with her husband twenty years ago. Today she is still leading the twenty-person, all female team. Together we discussed what Spring stands for, what it means to lead an almost all women company, and how Alexandra and her team experience collaborating with LAASSO.
What is Spring?
Spring is a fashion textile lab that designs and produces innovative solutions for the apparel sector. We especially focus on advising private labels and in doing so, we embrace creativity that aligns with sustainability. Essentially, this means that we create garments that will pass the test of time, by exploring the best possible materials and craftsmanship out there.
As a season, spring is the most beautiful time of the year. It is when everything starts to bloom and sprout, which is giving origin to such beautiful scenario’s and moods. At Spring, we engage with the same spirit. Ideas and projects bloom, from which beautiful brands arise.
What do you love about your work?
Many things! Working in fashion feels very natural to me, I’ve had a connection to it ever since I was little. My mother was a seamstress and used to make me and my sibling’s clothes. Outstanding and unique pieces, and all self-taught. I vividly remember how amazed I was watching her cutting staples without any pattern – just measuring and designing with a chalk pencil, and then cutting over the fabric directly. She would always ask my sister and I to help sewing the hemlines of sensitive fabrics stich by stich. I guess my destiny was predicted right there and then.
Today, I love being able to follow my mother’s footsteps, to be attentive to the fashion industry and most importantly, to follow my instinct.
How do you select the brands that you work with?
This process is organic. It is important for us to work with brands that have values aligning to ours, but regardless we do always consider every brand that approaches us. It’s valuable to search for ways of collaborating that recognizes both their and our views. I always try to understand the client’s mindset whilst introducing my own point of view. This is how something exciting can be born even when you least expect it.
What would you like to see change in the fashion industry?
There is a lot that needs to change. For me, the main factor is slowing down consumption and helping people think about quality over quantity. Since an early age I believe that a quality staple is an important investment. People should be informed about fabric’s quality, durability and impact on the planet.
What does womanhood mean to you?
This is a fun question. I must confess that I am very proud of being a woman. Women are just so powerful. During my twenty years of being an entrepreneur, I have never felt more vulnerable or less powerful for being a woman.
Within our team, we are almost all women, who together form an incredibly strong group. It it is beautiful to see how each of our own experiences and personalities synergize into such strength and mutual motivation and encouragement, despite our very different characters. This really keeps us all going. I see power in every woman, but at work I am directly confronted with their strength on a daily basis.
What energizes you? What gives your strength?
Energy comes from within myself, from my urge for creativity. My experience from being creative is that you often simply cannot stop. You always want to explore more and search for alternate ways of thinking and doing.
Also, the love for my job and the connection with my team is what gets me out of bed in the morning.
What do you value most in your life?
I am actually quite down to earth and live by the saying that what goes around comes around. I feel very blessed about what I achieved and think that the secret to that is to always be humble and respectful towards others. That is the only way to get further in this world.
What inspires you? What motivates you?
I get inspired by women. I believe that we have much more in common than we imagine. We are just simply so powerful.
How have other women in your life lifted you up?
By giving me motivation and strength to continue. Within the Spring team, it feels like because we all love what we do, we end up stimulating and being there for each other. Communication is key in this. We always make sure we speak to one another whenever feelings of uncertainty arise.
What is it like for you to work with LAASSO?
In a nutshell, it’s a win-win situation. Working with LAASSO is an opportunity for us to grown and learn too. And at the office, all the girls love the project as well. Also, the fact that you share some of our main values such as quality over quantity and slowing down consumption is really important to us.