Bem Vindo Ao Brasil!
[Leather Supply + Sample Room // Novo Hamburgo, Brazil}
During covid, as I faced supply chain woes, shipping issues, uncertainty and fatigue from re-watching the Tiger King and repeat episodes of Pen15, I started wondering "How long could this last" and what could I do to plan ahead for whatever was on the other side! In this moment, I decided to start researching some other areas for production, and I reached into my rolodex of friends and colleagues---deciding I should consider Brazil for a possible partnership in manufacturing. I knew little about the country, the manufacturing landscape, the language or the sourcing potential---but several weeks after my first text, I was on a plane to explore new opportunity. I downloaded duo lingo, packed a bunch of my favorite black tee shirts and jumped on an overnight flight to São Paulo. I had an airbnb booked, and the rest was but an adventure awaiting.
[JOHN PLATFORM HEEL // MADE IN BRAZIL // SS23]
Footwear has long been a part of the export and domestic manufacturing landscape in Brazil, ebbing and flowing as some production has shifted to Asia, and other pocket regions across the globe. Currently the shoe industry is experiencing a bit of a boom, a welcomed resurgence, and renewed interest. Over the years, I have noticed many of my favorite vintage pumps, woven sandals and specialty boots and booties are all stamped made in Brazil on the base. The 70's and 80's remains a heyday of production here---factories were full, foreigners were here doing business and the industry was growing. The bulk of the shoe production in Brazil takes place in an area called Novo Hamburgo and the surrounding towns and countrysides of this southern situated city in the state of Rio Grande do Su. I travel 50 minutes by car after landing at Porto Alegre Airport and speed along lush, overgrown green highways as the humid air whips through the car as I head to my first meeting. I work with two agents here, and spend my days rushing to factories working on new developments, checking on samples I have sent, and also exploring trends and shapes that the factories are working on for their in house projects and wholesale ranges.
[1-800 HEEL // MADE IN BRAZIL //pre-spring 23]
The flight to Brazil is long, but each time I arrive, I find myself inspired by not only the people, but also the shopping, the design and especially the energy bursting from every corner. As I spend several days in São Paulo--taking in the pulse of the financial center of the country before flying south to work on new samples, I always find myself completely charmed, roaming with my headphones in as the sounds of honking horns and Portuguese vernaculars melt into the podcast I have blasting.
[Afternoon shopping for inspo // São Paulo, Brazil]
The hilly streets of the quick paced city are lined with small, intimate and well curated shops, a thriving patio dining scene, and beautiful people spilling out of bars, cafes and eateries alike. The museums are beautiful and the architecture of the city is a mix of design inspo (I am a sucker for encased doors and windows!), layered on top of each other, built up around one-another, melding together to create what I can only refer to as uniquely and beautifully BRAZILIAN.
[A favorite pair of shoes I bought myself in São Paulo // Brand: VIRGINIA]
We delivered our very first Made in Brazil shoe to the site, 6 months after my first trip, and the first big range of shoes delivered for the Spring 23 collection! We are so excited to share them with you, bringing a more diverse line up, and exploring new areas of shoe production. I am still learning about the process of Brazilian production--and trying to maximize what they do best here, and how I can incorporate that alongside our continued production in China and Spain, working to make the most well rounded offering.
We have combined Brazilian craftsmanship, with our own IB take on both classics and current trends to bring you a fun collection of interesting items, introducing some new shapes and bold footwear options for your styling pleasure. As I draft this blog, I am actually in Brazil working, the buzz of the street is passing by my small hotel as I am preparing for a final day tomorrow, checking on shoe babies, and packing my bags to head back to the office in Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy the new deliveries from Brazil and enjoyed this tiny glimpse into my travel life!
[Ty + Fabio // Brunch // São Paulo Brazil January 2023]
IB Founder and Creative Director