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Candidates Running for Office Turn to Image Consultants in Attempt to Build "Trendy" Campaign

05/14/2018 - 12h43

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PEDRO DINIZ
FROM SÃO PAULO

Glasses, ties and shoes are out, while polo shirts, sneakers and jeans are in. Less than a month ago, a race parallel to the 2018 elections in October began: the fashion race.

In the last couple of days prior to his arrest, former president Lula, of the Workers' Party, took the Alpaca jacket that Bolivian President Evo Morales gave him out of his wardrobe, revealing a divided Brazilian Left - not just in terms of potential alliances, but in terms of attire as well.

By turning to fashion in order to reaffirm that he doesn't represent a party, but a set of ideas - the jacket is a nod to the Latin American Left as a whole - Lula cast aside his suit and tie - which evoked his supposed enrichment following his presidency - and turned to something more neutral: a blue sports shirt that stood out in a sea of red shirts.

Presidential candidates Guilherme Boulos (PSOL) and Manuela D'Ávila (PCdoB), who were both embraced by Lula at his last event in São Bernardo do Campo, will have to face the challenge of attracting voters who have a hard time relating to leftist views and candidates wearing a cap and t-shirt.

"Older voters won't vote for modern candidates because they still want to see [candidates wearing] dress-up shirts. Both Boulos and Manuela will have to handle voters who still aren't sure about the kind of families the candidates belong to," said consultant Bruna di Paolo.

As for candidates on the right of the political spectrum, consultants believe that their biggest challenge will be to separate themselves from the figure of the traditional, typical politician, who wears a suit and tie.

Image Specialist Marcia Rocha, who specializes in men's looks, believes that PSDB politicians want to "look young, reliable and competent".

Once the campaign kicks off, some candidates may decide to roll up their sleeves in an attempt to convey that they are "hard workers and not just administrators who sit behind a desk".

"This election is going to be different. At the same time that the traditional image, which is pegged on a president [Michel Temer] who is viewed unfavorably by the majority, will probably be discarded, so will the image of a communist leader wearing a cap and a t-shirt. Candidates should try and look for a middle ground," Ms. Rocha said.

Translated by THOMAS MATHEWSON

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