Portuguese shoe brand Eureka opened a new store in one of Lisbon’s busiest business districts and used the occasion to show its collaboration with four Portuguese trendsetters, following its work with fashion designers, thus increasing its range of fashionable shoes under the Eureka umbrella.
One of the distinguishing marks of Eureka shoe stores is the wide range of fashion shoes on offer. Upon entering one of the brand’s stores we come up with an assortment of fashion designs which is not common in most shoe stores in the country. Daring and elegant colours, along with new models reaching the shops every week are common place at Eureka. The story of this brand dates back to 2009 when the 25-year old mother company, a renowned shoe manufacturer particularly for top international brands, decided to focus on its own designs and own stores. After establishing a foothold in northern Portugal, Eureka began its expansion three years ago to the south of the country, opening three stores in greater Lisbon. The company now owns 21 stores in the main Portuguese cities, having opened recently a new one in the busy office and business district of Saldanha. According to Filipe Sousa, son of the company’s founding member Alberto Sousa, and an active member in the company’s management “this new store is there to bring more fashionable shoes to an area of the city which we identified as lacking somehow more fashionable shoes, a gap we hope to close”, further adding that “the company intends to open 20 stores more in the country. After consolidating our position in the country we will carefully plan our international strategy and prepare new store openings abroad2.
Style Me UP
The Saldanha store opening was used to present the new company venture with the fashion world, e.g. collaboration with trendsetters who were invited to propose their own shoe designs. One of the strategies of this company, since 2009, to enter the fashion market was to work together with Portuguese fashion designers. Nuno Gama, Miguel Flor, Ricardo Andez, Guava and Marques de Almeida are some of the names who have teamed up with Eureka and designed collections for the brand. Of these, menswear designer Nuno Gama is the one with whom Eureka has been working for longer with his shoes present at both the brand’s stores and in the designer’s own shops.
In 2013 Eureka came up with a new concept, thus expanding its fashion portfolio. Under the Style Me Up, it invited four trendsetters to come up with their own designs. Galerist and model Raquel Prates, stylist Pedro Crispim, blogger Pureza Flemming and DSection magazine editors Filipe Fangueiro and Paulo Meixedo were invited to submit their own designs to the company. The end-result is now available both in the brick-and-mortar stores and online at www.eureka.com under the keyword Style Me Up. Trendenz attended the presentation of Style Me Up in Lisbon and spoke to Raquel and Pedro, two of the personalities invited to come up with their own shoe designs, who told us how they embarked in this adventure.
Raquel Prates, galerist and model
When they invited you, what was the first thing that came to your mind?
I began focusing on the brand. I did a detailed study on the brand and had the idea of redesigning their Oxford model. The company celebrates 25 years in the Portuguese and international market and the first shoes they designed and produced were men’s Oxfords. Hence, I decided to take this idea and to create a sort of tribute, providing a more feminine and delicate touch to this shoe and creating a model that could be adapted to the women’s everyday life.
When you thought of the metallic heel, did you start by checking whether that would be possible?
Yes I asked whether that would be possible, particularly because I like the brushed effect and I did not want it to be too flashy. I wanted to give a more contemporary look and steel is always associated to things minimalist and contemporary, modern. And thus people would quickly understand the concept behind this.
Did you know anything about shoemaking?
I had to learn it all. They were very patient with me explaining everything from molds to the materials. I got to know the whole process.
Pedro Crispim, Stylist.
Where did you come up with the idea for these shoes?
I went for slippers. It’s a strong fashion trend and a very elegant trend. And elegance is never out of fashion, it’s timeless. My idea was to give this shoe a more aristocratic touch, by combining leather and fabric. Leather was the starting point as Eureka uses leather a lot. And then I wanted to spice it up. It’s summer and the use of fabric is just fantastic.
Weren’t you afraid that these shoes might be too daring?
I must confess that I did not think much about the commercial appeal of it. But, as it turns out, they are having great commercial viability. This shoe is selling very well because of its irreverence.
Was there some initial resistance from the company?
A little! But I am stubborn and it was either this or nothing. I told them that we needed a bit of fresh air in the market. And we have to bring some irreverence to men’s comfort zone. Men have to be daring too. And we can use this kind of shoe a key element, a good accessory. Men have to start betting on shoes, like women already do.
Did you know anything about shoemaking?
Yes. I had some training with a Brazilian company ten years ago. I knew all that is involved in shoemaking from comfort to resistance and that was a good starting point from the creative side to the actual making of the shoe.