Interview with Fàtima Santos of AORP
On the occasion of the webinar organized by HOMI Fashion&Jewels, we interviewed the speaker Fàtima Santos who represented AORP, the Portuguese Association of Goldsmiths and Watchmakers. There she told us how contemporary jewellery is changing and how important are the emotions revealed through each piece that is created: as value unties from the most precious materials to embrace the interpersonal human relationship. Hence the importance of communication as a means of telling stories that are fascinating as much as they are hidden, such as those animating Portugal.
Contemporary jewellery is more something that reminds you of special emotions and feelings when you are wearing it rather than a precious object to own. This redefines a new relationship between the brand and the customer because it relies on a specific connection between them. How do you think the world of online and offline retailers will change? How will sales channels change?
Nowadays, fashion as an industry is reshaping itself and jewellery is writing a new chapter. Since society is becoming much more open and inclusive, identity and diversity are emerging as the major drivers of thought and action. Individuals as consumers are looking at fashion as an expression of their identity, lifestyle and vision. So their connection with the brand goes beyond the attributes of quality, price, convenience. Now they are asking themselves - "does this brand express who I am?", "does it share my values?", "what is the story behind this brand and this product"? This decision is even more profound when we talk about jewellery as a high-value fashion product. Each piece of jewellery is like a shared story, between those who make it - design and production - most of Portuguese jewellery is still handmade using centuries-old techniques - and those who wear it. It's a brand-consumer relationship that no other industry has, at least not at the same level.
To support the brand at AORP you created an important video project: how important is the communication strategy and how has it changed throughout this recent pandemic period?
As the Association behind Portuguese jewellery, our main objective is to promote worldwide the values that differentiate our industry as a centuries-old tradition that is now being renewed by design and innovation with a global ambition. Our last campaign, "Together We Stand", aimed to show how the jewellery industry should come together to meet challenges and opportunities in this new context, as a true value chain. As we all need to adapt and evolve, our mission is to foster this collective unity and strength. Furthermore, we believe that Portuguese jewellery is like a "hidden gem", that is now being discovered by the world, as the values of craftsmanship prevail and contemporary design and innovation are added to take tradition to new levels and new ambitions. It's exciting to be part of this transformation. It's the revolution of Portuguese jewellery!
What is the most important meaning of "legacy" for Portuguese jewellery?
"Legacy" is what defines Portuguese jewellery. Generations of artisans dedicated themselves to the art of goldsmithing and jewellery making, handing down techniques from one generation to another. In every jewel there’s a story of tradition, devotion, art. But it's not (just) about preserving the past. Today, a new generation of entrepreneurs and designers is embracing this heritage and adapting it to the new fashion and consumer trends, in a symbiosis that will ensure the future of the legacy.
How does AORP support your members?
The mission of AORP is to support and protect the interests of its members by offering a wide range of services such as legal advice, financial advice, internationalization, marketing and communication. But also, and most importantly, our goal is to develop and promote worldwide the brand of "Portuguese Jewellery", supporting the collective growth and international expansion of the sector.
Recently, the jewellery sector has directed its attention to the study of design and the use of innovative materials (not necessarily precious), showing much more interest in contemporary jewellery rather than "fine" jewellery. What do you think are the main reasons for this change?
I don’t think it's a case of one replacing the other, but an evolution that runs through the entire industry. Design and innovation are the main drivers of the industry and this is creating new opportunities for contemporary jewellery, as it gets naturally incorporated. Even the fine luxury industry is embracing these concepts to appeal to the modern consumer. So it's a change that we can identify on both sides of the product range and one that will surely redefine the future of the jewellery market.