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Memoirs of a fashion journalist

FASHION-JOURNALIST.jpgRio de Janeiro

Imagine youíre having fun being a fashion journalist. Travelling around the world, staying in amazing cities, seeing the latest in fashion. Maybe you sometimes get a bit bored, running around with your designer suitcase from hotel to hotel, from catwalk to catwalk, from party to party.

Then you should come to Rio for something different. Here we await you with a mini van without airco. Not at night but at ten oíclock in the morning on a Saturday. We take you from Hotel Gloria to Santa Cruz, one hour out of town. Youíre not travelling business class but are sitting on the lap of the French consul in Rio because of lack of space. The highway out of town shows you a part of the city without any glamour. Slums, open sewage, graffiti and lots of dirt are a welcome distraction from the glossy environments you know. A terrible smell accompanies you part of your journey.

Half way the van gets stopped by a police car. Four guys with immense loaded rifles inspect you and your fellow passengers. Your heart beats in your throat, policemen here are no candy-boys. When you finally arrive, your designer dress shows sweat marks but you try to keep cool behind your Chanel sunglasses. A little white building next to a garbage belt is the location of the show. You sit down and the kid in front of you gives you a paper folded hat to protect yourself against the sun. You smile at him trying to get your senses together.

Then the show starts. Older ladies carry manequins with pretty dresses onto the improvised catwallk. The designs are fresh, creative and different from what youíve seen all week. Ten young girls dressed in the colorful bamboo dresses close the show with some real samba moves.

You applaud, forgetting about the heat, the smell, your sweat and the drive back to your comfortable hotel.

And you tell me: It sure is something different.

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