Pasionaria : Joana Uchôa

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An old used up shirt covered in stains belonging to her father was the spark that lit the fire to Joana Uchôa’s creativity. She went out to buy fabric paint and reveled at customizing the shirt by covering the stains.

Since that moment, Joana has spent time browsing through thrift shops searching for the pieces of clothing that inspire her to develop her customized styling and hand patterns.

Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, 21 year old Joana Uchôa is an artist in every sense of the word. After exploring different mediums such as drawing, painting, embroidery, sculpture & design, Joana focuses her attention to fabric painting and the values of « slow fashion ». She believes in quality & longevity and the principles of  fair wages, lower carbon footprints and ideally zero waste.

When we asked Joana what made her create clothes with the hand pattern, her inspiration was very clear. 

" I chose the hand as my main symbol because it portrays several things to me : 

Firstly, the hand pattern represents the hands of the exploited sweat shop workers (mainly women) who despite their work are invisible to the eyes of society. I think of these workers who with blood, sweat and tears, produce clothing in terrible working conditions. By customizing an dress or shirt with the hand pattern, it is my way of honoring the work of these workers. I transform the piece into something desirable again and give the clothes a new lease of life. Therefore the hands represent the power of transformation. 

We also wanted to know her feelings about living in one of the world’s most vibrant cities and how Rio influences her work.

"I believe that my city, Rio de Janeiro, influences me a lot in my work. Not only on the collection I am presently working on which is focused on slow fashion, but on all my creations so far. Rio excites me. It is an extremely beautiful place, a city full of life, with an energy that I haven’t seen anywhere else. It’s a city filled with artists. The streets are crowded with people and small bars and tables.  On the sidewalks, crammed with people and the proximity, the physical proximity it creates, allows people to talk to each other easily.  People from all walks of life mingle. This favors exchanges and people who barely know each other chat, communicate and exchange ideas throughout the night. 

Rio is a place where you wake up in the morning to a beautiful sunny sky, where you head to the beach for a few hours & meet up with people.

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Even when you work or go to College, Rio is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lush vegetation, the sun shines and the interaction with people is constant. I’m in love with this place ! "

We were curious to find out what the meaning of Joana Uchôa’s brand name #ousejabrecho : "The hashtag #ousejabrecho means thrift stores." she explains.  "Its a little joke that I created because I am always talking about how investing in these types of stores would be much more ethical, ecological conscious compared to financing stores that rely on the fast fashion model of consumption and production. On my Instagram and Youtube channel I'm always talking about these matters ! This is what I fight for!  My focus is slow fashion + feminism where you  promote by investing on thrift."

How can one not be inspired by the passion, the energy & the charisma of this hand loving designer with a cause.