New Generation — Ângela Monteiro, auprès

Ângela started her academic path in architecture, but it was in graphic design that she felt more at home. Before launching auprès, she also did a post-graduation in footwear design, in Barcelona. The brand distinguishes itself by its local and handmade production, and its limited and timeless collections, which are combined with quality materials and timeless design.

How did this project emerge?

This project emerged from a will to have a space where I could freely express my creativity, combined with my passion for shoes and a deep admiration for the heritage of the handmade know-how we have in Portugal. The first time I entered on a factory I was fascinated by seeing a shoe gaining its shape and by understanding that, even nowadays, this is such a manual and meticulous work.

Was the footwear sector a natural choice?

I would say yes. It was intuitive. I’ve always had an interest in fashion as a form of expression. And I always paid special attention to shoes, as a piece of main importance than others, in which I’m willing to spend a little more money, following that old idea that “it is always better to have a great pair of shoes”. I also like to think on the symbolic aspect of footwear, of being the basis of our structure and of walking us through life.

What were the main challenges?

There are many… I think there are stages. In the beginning, the challenge was to find a factory with which we were able to have a great relationship and that allowed me to make small productions. At the moment, the challenge is to make auprès visible to people. To make the project known, so it can grow and find its audience. As a small brand with few resources, it’s not easy.

How does auprès distinguish itself?

I believe we distinguish ourselves in many ways. The brand has a strong character, a recognizable image, for the shoes’ design and all the universe that follows them, such as the photo’s style, the visual identity, the way it communicates, the type of models we work with. Nothing is left to chance.

I believe the brand’s principles are also very important: local production; seasonless and limited collections; timeless design; and quality materials. I hope that, form now on, the brand will also distinguish itself by its ecologic consciousness, as we launch two models with Italian sustainable leather, chromium free lining, that is still rare in the market.

What are the future plans for the brand?

In line with I mentioned earlier, one of the plans for the future is to continue exploring more ecologic materials and strengthen our commitment to sustainability. I also want to introduce vegan options to our catalogue, and I can reveal the new vegan model is going to be launched soon. I would like to have more collaborations with other creative professionals. Overall, I want to auprès to be a vehicle to support and promote the “made in Portugal” label.

What piece of advice would you give to a youngster who is entering the industry?

I’d recommend thinking big but starting small. To try finding a partner that doesn’t demand huge production quantities, and I also find important to find your own voice, creativity wise, because we have so much offer nowadays, that I think it’s essential to have a strong and relevant intention behind the brand. And lastly, I’d say believe and preserve your idea. Building something solid takes time, hard work and a lot of dedication.

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