Winter Green :: Colorblock skirt & Brazil memories

by wendy

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Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  I was in Brazil for almost a week and got home on Friday of last week.  Jet-lagged with a runny nose, I felt a mild cold coming on.  Sometimes I think you can just think your way out of a cold, but for now, MM and I are enjoying loads of orange juice and pho =)

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I love the shape of this skirt.  It’s feminine yet modern.  And the colors are so vibrant!  Emerald and mint on the outside and a dash of amber underneath the flare mint area.

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:: Brazil ~ Couromoda ::

I was invited to Sao Paulo to attend Couromoda, which is the largest trade fair for Brazil and the Latin American footwear market.  To be honest with you, other than brands that are available online, I knew very little about the Brazilian footwear industry.  The idea of being in Sao Paulo and learning more about one of the biggest industry in Brazil really excited me.  Usually MM travels with me, but for this trip, I went alone.  On the first night there, the Abicalçados Brazilian Footwear Association hosted a welcome dinner.  Like lunchtime at a new high school, I timidly shuffled my way through the crowd looking wide-eyed not knowing where to sit.  These are moments when you truly appreciate having a travel companion, and at the same time, appreciate that it pushes you outside of your social comfort zone.  The Abicalçados team welcomed me with hugs and warm smiles, and over the days that we spent together embraced me like a family member.  Not only that, I met amazing women on this trip.  Independent women who are entrepreneurs and extremely ambitious.  We had dinners together, chatted about world views, and for some of us tasted our first caipirinha (spending hugs to Angela, Elena, Laura, and Alis.  Hope our paths will cross again soon! =).

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Brazilmemories

:: admiring the beautiful sandals at Guilhermina ::

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:: chatting about embossing textures onto leather at Cristofoli ::

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:: sampling different color swatches at Capodarte ::

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Due to the limited amount of time, I only met with over a dozen brands at Couromoda.  Some that had design elements that I loved were Schutz (currently available online), Dumond, Capodarte, Guilhermina, Cristofoli, and Carrano.  I greatly appreciate their attention to quality and passion for shoes that make women feel bold and confident.

During my time there, I learned that Brazil was one of the top countries that produced footwear for private labels across the globe.  But over time, with cost of production spiraling down lower and lower, Brazil had a harder time competing with the footwear industries in Asia.  For private labels to cut down costs, they moved their businesses outside of Brazil.  With exports decreasing, many Brazilian brands are focusing on developing their own brand identity.  Emphasizing on quality and design, they hope to leave their brand footprint in the global market.

Talking with different brands, I absolutely admired their work ethnics and visions.  Many of these brands expressed that they want to enter the US market, and they also shared failed attempts in doing so.  Traditionally, they would establish a brick-and-mortar store to serve as a liaison to introduce the brand to the new market.  And for many, this turned out to be a fruitless endeavor.  Without heritage, history, or familiarity, new brands (especially in new markets) have a harder time seeding themselves.  Being a fashion blogger, I shared that one of the gateways for me to learn about new brands is via the internet.  More specifically, social platforms (such as blogs, forums, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and more) became very important.  With so many brands out there, I believe that trusted curation (and word of mouth) is one of the most powerful sources for warm introductions.  As the conversations continued, I strongly suggested an e-commerce component if there was room in their budget or expansion plans.  Maybe an online boutique and a focus on social media would help build a portal to enter into the global market.

Special thanks to Abicalçados (and Patricia!) for giving me the opportunity to visit Sao Paulo and to learn more about the Brazilian footwear industry!

Thank you so much for reading!

:: Outfit ::

Top :: Forever 21
Bottom :: Ostwald Helgason
Bag :: Miu Miu (similar here)
Shoes :: Christian Louboutin
Accessories :: Marie Todd cuff (similar here), Wendy’s Lookbook X Tacori bracelet,
Tacori ring, Deborah Lippmann ‘Fade to black’ polish, BCBG belt (similar here)