Written by: Amy Watts
Olá from the beautiful city of Porto! Situated along the Douro River and the second largest city in Portugal, there is a breathtaking view in every direction! After an evening of exploring the city, Cohort 16 traveled to AAC Textiles in nearby Vila Nova de Famalicão. With 30 years of experience in the textiles industry, AAC Textiles works with high-end luxury brands from all over the world to support the design, sampling, and production process of quality made Portuguese textiles. The textile industry accounts for 10% of Portugal’s exports with 95% of the industry located here in the northernmost part of the country.
What sets AAC apart from other manufacturers is their ability to work with companies specializing in specific aspects of textile production in order to create a high-quality product. They focus on delivering smaller quantities with a quick turnaround time and work with many high-end designers from all over the world. Products produced here are sold across the globe including Europe, Asia, and the US.
Paulo Pereira, CEO of AAC Textiles, gave the cohort a tour of the facility where we reviewed various aspects of the textile making process. We visited the sample library where all of the various fabric and embroidery samples are available for clients to review, met pattern makers who turn a designer’s sketch into real life, and visited the prototype department where articles are first created for clients to review. Clients visiting the facility can get a true understanding of the textile making process starting from their idea to the completion of a finished piece.
The textile industry is focused on how manufacturers and designers can produce quality products using sustainable materials, while creating less waste and reducing their carbon footprint. AAC Textiles encourages clients to use organic cotton and recycled plastic whenever possible and encourages eco-friendly printing techniques. They lead by example with their commitment to working in a sustainable work environment themselves. They do not use plastic at their office, and their space has been designed to minimize electricity using radiant heating and cooling in their floors. AAC Textiles operates with a belief that clothing brands and their producers should promote sustainability in a way that one day will become the industry standard.
In order to keep the textiles industry thriving in Portugal, AAC Textiles believes in investing in people and a continued focus on sustainability. From artists and designers to pattern makers and factory workers, hiring, training and keeping skilled workers is important to their business. Focusing on sustainability is not only a responsibility to them, but it is also a differentiator they have made for themselves in the industry. After today’s visit the cohort had a greater appreciation for textiles made in Portugal.