Marcela B plays with creative freedom thru leather shoes.
What's the greatest force that drives your inspiration day by day? For Marcela Basto, founder of Brazilian footwear brand Marcela B, the sensitive Italian creative process has a big influence on that everyday fire.
With a studio now located in Leblon, Rio de Janeiro, Marcela B started its artisanal creations back in 2011 while the founder still lived in Milan. Driving around Italy by car looking for all sorts of unique materials, Marcela created her dream of reinventing Brazilian shoes each handmade shoe at a time.
Marcela B's flats and not-that-high heels create a "carioca" aura to carefully crafted leather designs that play with color, cuts, and textures. Basto's very sculptural vibe to rethinking her designs is linked to how people are wearing shoes in this new world where everybody had to stop and prioritize their well-being.
Curious to know how they do it? Scroll down to read our chat with founder and designer Marcela Basto🍍.
Marcela B in a tweet
Marcela B aims to rethink the design of Brazilian shoes, bringing confidence and happiness to each woman who wears them. The brand bets on producing unique models made partly and often by hand. The transformation of rustic materials is changing the perception of what is sophisticated, keeping Rio de Janeiro's simplicity and lightness always current anywhere in the world.
Located in Rio de Janeiro since 2011, when the studio was founded in a charming building on Dias Ferreira street in Leblon, RJ, I have always developed a close relationship with my clients. Before that, I graduated from Istituto Marangoni in Milan (Italy) where I also had some professional experiences working with designers in the city. Since then, I've not given up the artisanal quality that I learned in Italian factories, where I made my first collections after an impeccable search for natural materials that exist in abundance in Brazil. The brand is on the feet of the coolest people in the Rio-São Paulo circuit.
Yes, I can say now that we had a breakthrough. The pandemic was a turning point for the market as a whole. A structural change in behavior, values, way of consuming, etc. 2020 was a period I used to reinvent my business model, create alternatives, and establish the important pillars of the brand. I also moved forward with my research on shoes and materials, rethinking how to wear them in this new world and how to deliver quality and provide a relevant service to my clients.
Leather is a very important raw material to my creations. It is a noble, malleable, and comfortable material that is unavoidable in a shoe. It makes up the structure, sole, lining, etc... In the case of Marcela B, most of the time, leather comes as a supporting material. We like to mix it with other materials. We mix it a lot with rustic materials that are more prominent in the creation.
This philosophy has been part of the brand since the beginning. Italian craftsmanship, which is so highly appreciated, values the investment in a few good special pieces. Each product is a whole world of research, development, testing, etc. It is very difficult for it to be disposable. We cherish exclusivity as I learned from the Italian masters. Each shoe is precious and tells a story.
Inspirations for a new path on footwear
The Portuguese sidewalks in Rio and the narrow sidewalks in Milan. A Milanese woman goes to the supermarket to buy her dinner after work wearing stiletto heels. A woman from the south zone of Rio de Janeiro wears a flip-flop to have a drink after work and watch the sunset. Both value femininity, but in different ways. This mixture is my biggest inspiration.
Design is a project. Research, reflection, development, trial, and error. I think life, in general, is a little bit like that. In my personal life, at the moment, I am focusing on balancing the new brand strategies with a quiet family life with my daughter and husband. I also appreciate my well-being, I wake up early, go swimming to start my day, and never skip Yoga practices. Design has always been a passion; I like to research what’s new in all areas of creativity.
To expand to São Paulo + to wholesale across Brazil and to focus on online business.
One day I will...
...make sure that more women are wearing Marcela B's shoes, making them feel sophisticated and confident that they can achieve their goals firmly and courageously. I also want to live to see a more spiritual, more ecological, and more feminine world.
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