Text & Translation: Ricardo Miguel Vieira | Photo: DR
The simplicity of perfection
Gonçalo Pimenta lives within a paradox. As a designer and bodyboarder established in Ericeira, he works under a rug of freedom reflecting the image and spirit of the clothing he knits with his fingers and give life to Liquid Choice. On the other hand, there are moments where he feels fastened by his stubborn perfectionism and by the impulse of controlling every step flowing to the garbs – the sewing, the shapes, the designs, the silkscreen. “It’s not about losing the essence of the project, but I gotta control everything, you know what I mean? I wanted all to be done here”, asserts with a tone unravelling the many objectives he still wants to fulfil in the brand. “I really like to create clothes, I really am stoked to do this.”
“Xixa”, as he’s called among Ericeira’s crowd, turned 31 last week. He barely seems so, with his surfer mug, freckled and with distinctive green eyes and a trimmed, ginger beard. Born in Ericeira, he only left the village between 2003 and 2006, when he went living to Lisboa while an Equipment’s Design student in Faculdade de Belas Artes [Fine Arts Faculty]. Still in Portugal’s capital, he began his professional activity as an intern in a design studio, until he got embittered with the working flow. “At a certain point I wasn’t digging it anymore, I started feeling unpleased by sitting down in the office every single day”, he recalls with no regrets. So he founded his independent business, impelled by the industry of his all-time favourite sport. “Everybody wanted to create a bodyboarding brand”, he says. He ordered to print his first Liquid Choice’s t’shirts in 2006 and by next year he invested in the first equipment to silkscreen clothing. “First I got a whirligig [for silkscreening], a caps press, another for clothes, frames [to stamp the designs for silkscreening], everything”, he counts. He was left relying on himself to get the project moving forward. “Learning to silkscreen alone is a great deal of a nightmare.”
It’s a bliss to be there knitting, cutting the mesh, watching things happen. That’s what motivates me to do Liquid Choice’s clothes.
The professional day-to-day of “Xixa” bounds to his parents’ house basement, turned south and with a view towards the sea dividing itself between Praia do Sul and Foz do Lizandro. The room – 7 per 15 meters – became a small clothing factory – Liquid Choice is part of Printee, the company accountable for printing several of Ericeira’s brands and surfcamps clothing. In the main room are disposed five sewing machines, a frames’ printing table and several other tables and shelves crammed with paints and vinyl paper rolls. The scents of ink and cloth are bonded, leaving no questions about the place I’m at. Adjoining the main division are two other small rooms: one with the silkscreening whirligig and the other serving as an office and stickers and design’s printing area.
Sewing shapes and drawings’ books are mixed on the office’s shelves. Many of Liquid Choice’s ideas come from the Internet and book collections such as “Russian Criminal Tattoo or ”Broken Fingers” and from artists like Mike Giant and Jon Contino. “I like handmade drawings. Just black and white. Single colours and simple”, defines himself, adding that dotted and unstructured vintage lines enthuse him. However, nothing can blur Ericeira’s fingerprint in his works. “Ericeira is everything for me. I had to find a way to stay here, I couldn’t run away because of the sea”, he confesses, recalling there were moments when he thought venturing into Lisboa or even abroad. “Certainly Ericeira influences my mood and the way I’m going to work. It feels great to be here.”
“Xixa’s” attachment to bodyboarding is stronger than him. Liquid Choice’s roots come from the desire of being an element of the industry that, at the time, was developing. “I wanted to do something related to bodyboard, but never compromising myself. I wanted to help our sport, be in bodyboardshops”, he explained, only to dismantle the concept of surfshops, revealing the independence he longs for the project. “I think the future is made of more single branded stores. If I were to open a store, it would be a sort of museum, in which I’d take care of the clothes, give another type of attention to them. I’d display them like this…”, he says, pointing to a clothing rack with several t’shirts and jackets organised and well visible.
Truth to be told, Gonçalo Pimenta aims to open a store at the centre of the village and expose the clothes he can finally knit from the first until the last seam. For now, he embraces learning to handle the newest sewing machines and enjoying the whole process, always with an extra-eye for detail and an extremely critic judgement. “When I think about printing new clothes, I’m no more thinking about them with the designs; I think of them in their details and workmanship”, he unveils, scraping his fingers as if he was fumbling a garment. “It’s a bliss to be there knitting, cutting the mesh, watching things happen. That’s what motivates me to do Liquid Choice’s clothes.”
Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)