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New Generation: meet Vítor Costa from Sanjo

30 Jun 2022

Stories New Generation: meet Vítor Costa from Sanjo
Meet Vítor Costa, the creative director of Sanjo.

What's your Academic background?
My first contact with design happened through graphic design. In fact, I had one foot in marketing and fashion design at the UM, but I realized that the biggest stimuli came from footwear, concretely, sneakers. Then, I understood that I should go straight to the point and did my training in Footwear Design at the Design and Footwear Academy. It is a much more practical formation, but I reconciled these tools to my attributes as a creative.  
Interestingly, I try to find the perfect balance between art direction and footwear. The perfect balance between past and future at the design level.

Was working at the footwear industry a natural choice?
Yes, despite not being an immediate one, I always imagined designing footwear. I am passionate about the fashion industry, from sketches to editorials, I have always been active in the building process of a brand. I think that what determined to be the footwear sector, instead of the clothing one, was the passion for sneakers and the gap that there was, and still exists, in this segment in Portugal. This imagery has always been at the centre of everything I do.

What fascinates you the most about the footwear sector?
I feel a great fascination for the creation / the creative vision, thinking about something that can be materialized, but also for the industrial part, tools, soles, the shapes, the smell of leather and glue. I believe the balance between these two worlds can result in many good things for the sector, and it is the combination of both that continues to fascinate me. 

What do you think about this new generation entering now into the sector?
The mindset, I think! I feel that creative minds are at the forefront of every business. Undoubtedly the paradigm shift, I think we can do better in a more conscious and sustainable way. Another point that I think it is vital is to be able to collaborate with others, in my view it is really essential to develop new ideas and to present ourselves to the audience. It is in the hands of new generations to open minds, I am sure it will have a positive impact not only in the industry, but also the society.

Despite not being a recent discovery, I believe the collaboration way of working is a model to be followed by new brands and creatives in Portugal. It is in the younger generations that resides the spontaneity and will to find out more and collaborate.

What challenges does the industry face currently?
What I experience is that the focus is only on footwear production, I feel that being an extension of private label can only threaten the brands themselves. Another challenge is to develop new solutions concerning raw materials, there is today a shortage of raw materials as I have never witnessed. I think it could be a window of opportunity for the industry, create more companies to support the development of the industry, more made in Portugal materials. We can take these points as a threat or opportunity, and I prefer to take them as an opportunity.

What advice would you give to a young person starting out in the industry?
I feel that the most important thing is to preserve creativity and never lose individuality. In the footwear industry, and in the Portuguese business environment, there are few stimuli for creation, I believe that we have to be creative and facilitate this sense of opportunity. Creative expression inspires the youth culture, it is a snowball effect, when you begin seeing you have a community you will naturally know what you have to develop.

I often share this with people starting out, to never lose their identities, our traits are essential. Despite being immersed in Sanjo’s heritage, I never forget that it is my duty to provide new generations with a good creative experience. Young audiences are always my target.

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