I’ve been really into football since I was about five, but no matter what other interests I have developed since it’s the only thing some people relate with me (I get on average four football-themed birthday cards a year). So I can empathise with the people behind Cotton Project, a super hip São Paulo-based label aiming to show the world there’s more to Brazil than samba, bikini-clad beach babes and the beautiful game.
“Brazil its a tropical country and being born here means that you are going to be overwhelmed by massive beach culture fascination,” founder Rafael Varandas told us. “All the bikini, coconut water, nice tan and Rio de Janeiro thing are true and really aspirational for most of the population, so as you would expect, all the clothing brands explore this over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, we like bikini and coconut water but we’ve been going to the beach since we were kids, we love it but we are used to it, it’s a pretty resolved relationship. We don’t need to wear clothes that show it to people.”
“Furthermore, we were born in São Paulo and not in Rio de Janeiro, so this means we don’t see palm trees and sunsets everyday. The good part of it is that São Paulo is a big city, and probably the cultural and financial hub of Latin America – this means we are constantly absorbing information and global culture, therefore, we have lots of different scenes to be part of, unlike Rio for example, that is mainly involved with the beach culture.
“We like bikinis and coconut water but we’ve been going to the beach since we were kids, we love it but we are used to it. It’s a pretty resolved relationship – we don’t need to wear clothes that show it to people.”
“Cotton Project was born in the idea of having a clothing company that could be in harmony with the characteristics of a tropical country like Brazil, casual and beach-oriented, but at the same time function in a urban environment. So, for example, we do a very light cotton chinos that you could were to work and also roll the cuffs up and walk at the beach, or even a swim short that you can wear and not look like your 13-year-old nephew.”
Their new collection is a cool, contemporary reflection of the cultural melting pot that is their home city, photographed fabulously for a super-impressive lookbook. And despite the challenges faced by all new businesses, and a few specific to Brazil (sky-high taxes, frustrating amount of red-tape) Rafael has high hopes that Cotton Project can communicate a new message about his homeland.
“I hope Cotton Project becomes a real alternative for clothing company industry in Brazil –something cleaner, timeless and more content oriented. We also want to show the world something cool about Brazil that does not rely on the same old assets, like Amazon or Samba, but is based on the creativity of the professionals here.”