Her name is Enya Oliveira, and her bags are full of dreams and projects. And at the tender age of 25, she was one of the finalists in the Jimmy Choo competition.
But in Enya’s journey, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Born into a Portuguese family, Enya left South Africa in 2013 to study at the Academia de Design e Calçado. It was then that her passion for shoes called out to her. “I have always loved shoes for as long as I can remember. When I finished the design course at secondary school, I knew that I wanted to specialise in design, but I wasn’t sure in what area. I got an idea during the grad ball. No-one, not even me, could find shoes for this event. Everybody wanted someone to make bespoke shoes, and that was when I discovered what I wanted to be. A shoe designer!”
I packed my bags for Portugal. After finishing my course, I interned for Luís Onofre and, in 2015, moved to Padua where I worked at the Eclettica Studio. While in Italy “I did some work for Love Moschino, Tosca Blu and other international brands.” Back in Portugal, she worked for Cristina Ferreira’s footwear brand, and then for Cristiano Ronaldo’s brand. In 2017 she moved to London to intern with Sophia Webster.
Currently, this young designer works for an international company that is responsible for brands that include Thursday Boots Co. and Nothing New. “I always intended to promote footwear Made in Portugal, and I think I can do this in this way.”
During lockdown, Enya entered a competition promoted by Jimmy Choo. “I was sitting at home, in lockdown like almost everyone else, when I decided to enter my designs. Imagine how surprised I was when I found out I had made the finals! It was incredible!” Inspired by the rainbows that thousands of Portuguese has placed in their windows, Enya was the only Portuguese to make the final shortlist.
What does the future hold? “My dream is and always has been to have my own brand… but, we’ll see. I am only sure about one thing: both design and manufacture will be Made in Portugal.”
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