Poetry, nostalgia and social inclusiveness: stories of Ronaldo Fraga

Ronaldo Fraga is a talented Brazilian fashion designer and self-taught illustrator who uses vibrant colours and handmade techniques to express his identity and the rich Brazilian culture.

Fraga was educated in the first Brazilian fashion course at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais and joined a postgraduate course at Parsons School of Design in New York. He also studied millinery at Central Saint Martin’s School of Art and Design in London. Currently, Fraga presents his collections in São Paulo Fashion Week and he is also an international lecturer in respected universities.

His artistic contribution to Brazilian culture resulted in the Cultural Merit Order awarded by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture in 2007. Besides, he was selected as one of the most innovative designers in the world by the Design Museum of London for the exhibition Designs of the Year 2014.

Photo: Holyfancy

Ronaldo Fraga is internationally renowned because of his original work and cross-cultural influence with global concerns. The designer explores local materials and deconstructs stereotypes to show Brazilian identity in a dynamic creative way. The authenticity of his life experiences and personality creates fantastical storytelling, being against “export-like sensuality”, in his words.  For Fraga, “it is somewhat cruel for a woman to fit herself into some specific shapes and postures as if they were unique to Brazilians’.

The passion for stories and illustration started when Fraga was a child and loved to receive coloured pencils as gifts. Along the time, Ronaldo Fraga developed his talent in fashion with craft notebooks where fabric themes, colour palettes and prints are manually registered. This artistic process was transformed in a book, entitled as Ronaldo Fraga: clothes, memoirs and sketches.

ronaldo-fraga-livro - Marie Claire2
Illustration of Ronaldo Fraga: clothes, memoirs and sketches | Image: Marie Claire

Other childhood memoir which influenced his trajectory in fashion is related to the contact with nature. When Fraga was a child, before to sleep, his father used to tell some stories about São Francisco river, which motivated the designer to know it personally to understand Brazilian feelings.  As a result, it was created a collection and even an art exposition inspired by São Francisco river because Fraga reflects about fashion function for people, respecting environment. The designer’s work is based in environmentally sustainable and socially responsible projects with rural artisan groups. Ronaldo Fraga believes that “there is an immediate need to close that gap that exists between designers and artisans in Brazil… I think much of our identity in Brazil is handmade”.

Photo: ISTOÉ Gente

On SPFW runway, straws, bottles and necklaces show all the preparation to represent symbolisms of São Francisco region with simplicity and boldness.

The poetic work of Ronaldo Fraga also was represented in the last SPFW season entitled “Blue Blood Splash”, an irony to the fact that “everybody believes that is different, better than the other”, in Fraga’s words. The theme inspiration was Palestinians and Israelis conflict, but the designer believes that it is a universal message to awake attention and provoke changes. Fraga says that “my fashion show is not about peace. My fashion show is about tolerance”.

Ronaldo Fraga - SPFW N46out/2018 foto: Sergio Caddah / FOTOSITE
SPFW N46 Oct/2018 | Photo: Sergio Caddah/ Ag. FOTOSITE

In the end of Ronaldo Fraga’s fashion show, audience guests and models were invited to have dinner on the runway with the prestigious designer.

SPFW N46 Oct/2018 | Photo: Gabriel Cappelletti | Fotosite

It was a kind gesture to show that tolerance and social inclusiveness always should have space in fashion. Cheers!

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