Luso-Canadian fashion designer conquers the world stage

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Noele Baptista, Luso-Canadian fashion designer

Noele Baptista is originally from Kingsville, Ontario, a town located in Essex County in southwestern Ontario with a population of 21,552, and a population of 305 Portuguese speakers, according to the Canada 2016 Census. She is a fashion designer and is part owner of Windblown & Weathered, which is a small art, clothing & décor shoppe in her hometown, owned by her mother Susan Dupont Baptista.

Noele is a graduate of the Fashion Design Technician Program at St. Clair College. Many fashion experts have expressed her Collection designs to be glamourous, beautiful, and unique.

“Nöelziñia”, a nickname her father, the late Nick Baptista created for her when she was a young girl has become her clothing fashion brand name, which gained fame and popularity at the Vancouver Fashion Week in 2019, and invited to the catwalks in the 4 big fashion capitals in the world: New York, London, Milan, Paris. Nöelziñia’s collections were modelled on the catwalk in Los Angeles.

Noele is currently designing for Paris, France and London, England collection. She is also designing a ready to wear (Prêt-àPorter) spring/summer line for her shop and online store.

She accredits her love for the arts to her mother from a very early age, a gifted and accomplished artist who always supported her dream to be a fashion designer and this gift has become her muse. A common thread in her lines is the element of hand-painted, wearable art. Having completed the Fashion Design Technician Program at St. Clair College in 2018, she now devotes her time to developing her craft and businesses.

Noele is living up to the culture of her long-deceased father of Portuguese navigators who were the vanguard of European overseas explorations which became known as the Age of Discovery. Inspired by the Portuguese culture, she has embarked on a journey of exploration to find the fragmented parts, fill the void, and reconnect spiritually.

There are many collections in her fashion design

Noele Baptista (centre left) presenting the Spice route collection. (Photo: archives)

‘The Spice Route’ collection, compels Noele to invest further studying into exotic and faraway lands, and the Spice Route ports, that forever changed the world. From sailing with the trade winds of the China Seas to the Indonesian Archipelago, around India to the lands of the Middle East, to the Cape of Good Hope in Africa, and across the Mediterranean to Europe.

The Spice route collection. (Photo: archives)

Noele’s late father’s, Nick Baptista’s ancestry is from Ilhavo, Aveiro, Portugal. Ilhavo is renowned for its fisheries, the Marine Museum and the porcelain industry. The first pioneers of the Baptista family entered Canada through Halifax, Nova Scotia. They contributed their skills in the areas of fisheries, marine navigation, farming, and business management in the growth of southern Ontario. The second and third generation of the Baptista families, continue to contribute to the Canadian economic growth in fisheries, arts, music, engineering, healthcare, education, beauty industry, fashion design, law, public service, sports, and business in Leamington, Essex County, Windsor, Greater Toronto area, Alberta and British. Nick was the Captain of a Fishing Vessel, named J & A Baptista, which he inherited from his father.

The apple does not fall far from the tree. Noele’s Late father’s cousin, Frank Baptista, also born in Ilhavo, Portugal is the Director of the Wheatley Harbour Authority Corporation and retired Vice-President of Hike Metal Shipyard created a legacy in Canadian tours. They’ve produced the next generation of boats to tour the falls from the Canadian side “Hornblower”, coined as an adventure one does not want to miss.

“Fleurs pressées” Fall/Winter 19/20, or “Pressed Flowers” Collection is influenced “by the desire to preserve beautiful memories of seasons long ago between the pages of a treasured book, merging the past with the present and defying winter’s cruelty. It has been a common thread throughout many cultures and eras – a practice throughout the world.  Why can’t we have beautiful flowers in winter, and save moments from the past forever?” says Noele Baptista

Noele Baptista (centre) and the Pressed Flowers collection. (Photo: archives)

“Fleurs pressées” Fall/Winter 19/20, or “Pressed Flowers” Collection is influenced “by the desire to preserve beautiful memories of seasons long ago between the pages of a treasured book, merging the past with the present and defying winter’s cruelty. It has been a common thread throughout many cultures and eras – a practice throughout the world.  Why can’t we have beautiful flowers in winter, and save moments from the past forever?” says Noele Baptista

Desert Flowers, Flores del Desierto, Collection illustrates that tribe women are diverse and beautiful-from the gypsies in Spain to the Native North Americans to the Nomadic Tribes through Africa and that they are the “Flowers”.

During a press conference during Fashion Week in Vancouver, Noel affirmed the following in an article posted by Jandrewspeaks, on April 4, 2019 “To me being glamorous is a lot more than just looking the part- you have to feel it. It’s the way you walk and how you hold yourself. It’s about wearing what speaks to you, for you.”

Fashion is important in the society because it allows people to express their personality, unite people to celebrate their differences, creativity and individuality. The best way to express ourselves is through fashion.

To meet the demand of tomorrow, fashion designers will need to be innovative to support the environment and sustainability.

There will be greater demand for clothing due to an expected 400 percent increase in world GDP by 2050. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, clothing production has doubled in the last 15 years, driven by a growing middle-class population across the globe and increased per capita sales in developed economies.

One report found that addressing environmental and social problems created by the fashion industry would provide a $192 billion overall benefit to the global economy by 2030. The annual value of clothing discarded prematurely is more than $400 billion. This is our opportunity to do better things for our planet earth in solidarity and for our future generations.

 This article was developed with the support of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, under the Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) program, strengthening the voice of small Portuguese-speaking communities in remote areas of Canada. Creative Commons Attribution: CC by BrazilianWave.org  

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