Real People, Special Talent

Photography: Pedro Afonso

Every year, dozens of talented people graduate from the Footwear Industry Vocational Training Centre (CFPIC — Centro de Formação Profissional da Indústria de Calçado). Students who are ready to enter an industry that already employs 40,000.

From design to production, from management to the commercial department, CFPIC’s role is global as it seeks to train new generations working in the Portuguese footwear industry. For a number of years, CFPIC has trained some of Portugal’s most important footwear designers, and holds a prominent position in the training, both artistic and technical, of these youngsters. But that’s not all. CFPIC is also an important partner in the professional training of workers and in supporting the footwear industry.

With the Oliva Creative Factory in S. João da Madeira as a backdrop, with the look of Pedro Afonso and styling of Fernando Bastos Pereira, six CFPIC students gave form to the work of their colleagues.

In this edition of Hot New Talents, we present the work of design students Ana Ribeiro, Érica Soares, Ruben França, João Dias, Cristina Maruxo, Diana Rodrigues, Andreia Lourenço and Sérgio Conceição with the support of APIC, under the project PT Leather InDesign, represented by Elma, Neiva, Aicizy, Tópico, Luís Manuel and Bendzer.

Dreams can come true, often much quicker than we imagine and in the most unpredictable ways. The desire to showcase the work of colleagues set the tone for this edition of Hot New Talents.

In 2021, the CFPIC board brought 150 young people from São Tomé and Príncipe to Portugal, where they would study and work in all aspects of the footwear industry, from production to administration. Young people with big dreams and a passion for the industry, who accepted the challenge of putting on some new shoes and being the face of their colleagues’ work.

But what drives these six youngsters? What are their dreams? And what was it like being a model for a day? For Elma, it was a “spectacular” experience. She is passionate about all kinds of footwear, but she has a special love for “tall boots.” While footwear is in her most immediate plans, she dreams of being a “flight attendant.”

For Aicizy Marta, “modelling the work of my colleagues was a fantastic and unique experience.” She has a number of dreams, and the footwear industry is on the list. “My greatest dream is to complete the Administrative Technician course, get a degree in management and to own a footwear and clothing company.” But there is one dream that is bigger than the rest: “I would like to open a home for the elderly, for children and for the homeless, that I will call ‘Zúnta Món’ (which means ‘join hands’ in my local dialect).”

Luís Manuel has a lot of dreams. “Like any professional, I dream of being promoted at work, taking on a new role and doing a job that I enjoy. And to be recognised in my career as a high-performing individual.”

Tópico’s dream is “to be a model.” So, modelling the work of his design colleagues “was very important for me.” As well as modelling, Tópico wants to complete the course and find work in the industry. “What I like most in the world of footwear are the inspirations each worker has in preparing and making footwear.”

For Neiva, another of our models, her favourite place in the footwear industry is “at the sewing machine. I love making shoes.” But while footwear is an area of interest for Neiva, her dream is to be an “entrepreneur in the car industry.” And she adds: “another of my dreams is to be a model.”

Last but not least we have Bendzer, a student on the modelling course who admits that what he enjoys doing most in the industry is designing footwear. Bendzer has two big dreams: “to train in the world of footwear and to be a model.” While “I have always dreamed of creating my own brand, my greatest dream is to be a good professional in the world of footwear and to be a good professional model.”

See the editorial here

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