Inês Oliveira and I met while working together at an online retailer, and we really got on well, and when we parted ways, we kept in touch. I was so glad to hear that she'd just launched her brand, IMAUVE for this Spring/Summer, and after a studio visit, I thought I'd share a bit of her story with you.
What did you want to be as a little girl?
A vet, as I loved animals, then a journalist and then decidedly, a designer.
Where does your fashion sense come from?
"As young as 4 or 5 years old, I wanted to coordinate my own clothes, and I had a fixation with fabrics, textiles, needlepoint, anything I could get my hands on. I wanted to cut it up, and mix and match it, the textures and the colours, it was a very tactile thing. I remember cutting up a favourite tablecloth of my Aunt's as I was fascinated with the embroidery! Later on I began to read fashion magazines and do my own designs and drawings and naturally went on to do Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design followed by a Masters at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Lisbon "
What do you remember from university?
"The teachers mostly, as it was a mix of being inebriated with their classes, the subject matter, and also being told that we'd never amount to to anything and that there was no future in fashion! "
When did you decide to create your own brand?
"Forever! Before university! It never crossed my mind to work for a huge brand like Chanel, McQueen or Stella McCartney. I always wanted my own brand as I believe creativity comes from within, so to work for a brand, it's just not my own reflections translated. I constantly wanted to do my own thing, walk in my shoes so to say."
Your first job was?
" I did some styling jobs, interned for a brand called White Tent, then at Girissima doing online digital marketing, web design and styling, and later moved to TM Collection. Here I collaborated on special projects, developed the collection, and did quality control of the samples. I worked a lot with India, only through Skype and emails! and it was such an enriching experience. While working for Teresa Martins, I acquired so much knowledge, as she's so creative and gifted. "
You're so pretty and gentle, one would never guess that your favourite sport is kickboxing! ( how stereotyped is that?)
"I need to let off steam! And I adore martial arts. I started out doing judo, karate and tae-kwon- do and now I'm addicted to kickbox! "
How did IMAUVE come by?
" A year ago I started to design this collection, although I registered the name in 2013. This first collection was inspired by Frank Stella, as I'm mostly influenced by art. And books, often I find myself spending a whole day in the Gulbenkian library. Life and emotions move me to create. At university I was more conceptual but now I think more of a real woman, what exactly symbolizes an everyday woman, wearing practical, functional clothes."
That seems like a challenge, what with all the fast fashion around?
" Yes, because simple clothes are not easy to design and to please everyone is very difficult. My designs are 80% day to day and 20% special or party wear. Luckily I can count on my brother to help as he is the CEO of the company! I've got 80000 decisions to take every day and his guidance is precious. He's my pillar. Creating is not lighthearted, a lot comes out of me, it's a transmission of what I've got inside so as I learn about the business side of things, my family has got my back. I'm ambitious, I don't want a little shop, and the online world gives us the opportunity to fly higher, to dream, to cross borders. Before, I would've had to go to Paris or Milan or London and knock on doors. Competition is tougher at the same time, as everyone is afforded the same chance. "
Tell me what you're addicted to?
- reading, 4 or 5 books at a time
- lists, love to do them!
- changing my look!!
" And like all women, I just want to be happy and for there to be peace in the world!"
Hope you're inspired by this young, fresh talent, to get out there and live your dream too!