I have a dream
Their ambition was to create a footwear brand. A difficult dream to fulfil. Nevertheless, they did not give up. They went off in search of new horizons, defined new objectives, and their lives started to change.
She completed her degree in Medicine, but even that failed to give her a sense of accomplishment. Rafaela Araújo felt "her life was incomplete, lacking an artistic component for which she had always shown an inclination."
In 2010, she faced her personal dilemma and decided to take a turn into the unknown, in search of a dream that had taken shape and matured over the years. She studied in Florence (at the Florence University of the Arts), where she received a legacy, in the area of fashion accessories, from the hands of master designers from houses like Armani, Roberto Cavalli and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Graduating with honours because of her high level of creativity, she was encouraged by renowned designer Manolo Blahnik to create her own brand. The dream was beginning to take shape and, last September, in Milan, Rafaela Araújo unveiled the Ella Montcordova brand. Characterised by a passion for detail and glamour in the conceptualization of its pieces, Ella Montcordova is a new brand of Portuguese footwear. And it is here to stay.
The Guava project was born in 2010, when designer Inês Caleiro, who had studied at the London College of Fashion and worked with Jimmy Choo after winning the Best Student Award, decided to venture out into the business world.
Inês Caleiro defines herself as "a designer in love with the exploration of new shapes and with geometric and contemporary structures that may allow her a form of expressing the emotions of metropolitan adrenalin," and she is a Portuguese young talent.
Displaying great versatility, Inês Caleiro has also been involved in the sectors of jewellery and graphic design. The investment on Guava, "a fresh, contemporary, urban brand with a great concern for art, design and architecture," appeared when she was living in the USA, in Washington, DC, and working for a Portuguese furniture design company. The goal, now, is to turn "Guava into an internationally successful lifestyle brand."
Ana Margarida and Célia Silva
Xperimental Shoes was born out of the passion for fashion and communication of two young designers and sisters. It is from the fusion between the know-how and experience of the two that the best expression of their ideas appears.
Xperimental Shoes is based on the creative challenge for the footwear industry in Portugal. Faithful to that passion for the shoe´s construction, Xperimental Shoes offers their customers the possibility of "experimenting" with their own concepts and tastes. By choosing and matching colours, the customers can reinvent the shoe proposed, making it unique and exclusive. The brand is, therefore, "essentially defined by the customers who wear it." The next step is expanding to foreign markets, especially the United States and Asia, "without, however, losing its irreverent spirit," because "the customer will always play the main role of the creative process."