When I first saw one of my favorite Real Housewives, Carole Radziwill, of the New York City edition (love her style and her quips) wearing a pair of white sneakers with a furry blue poof on top on her Instagram – I died. What are these?! Who makes them?! OMG they’re so cute!? I was a woman on a mission to find these shoes. What I found was even better than what I had imagined.
I discovered they were Josefinas shoes; a handmade brand made and designed by Portuguese female artisans. Okay, love. The co-founders Sofia Olivera, Filipa Julio and Maria Cunha, in three short years without connections or money, just a dream to create beautiful shoes and support the female artisans in their country created a gorgeous shoe line. And have become the first all-female entrepreneur Portuguese fashion brand to have a store front in New York City. Hats off to these ladies!
The shoe line began with the inimitable ballet flat, since Filipa’s mother and herself were dancers, and now incorporates mules, sneakers, boots and bags. Each look uses high quality materials and incorporates an unusual twist: faux fur adornments, velvet materials, or an interesting color palette.
The designs feel unique, elevated and are definitely for the girl who wants a stand-out piece.
But it’s the thoughtfulness of these female founders that has me hooked. Josefinas partnered recently with feminist leader Gloria Steinem to support Women for Women International; a global nonprofit that helps marginalized women in countries affected by war and conflict gain access to support, tools and life-changing skills to move from crisis and poverty to stability.
Gloria teamed up with the brand’s designers to create a limited edition pair of ballet flats to benefit Women for Women International and the brand works with the international organization regularly to help women in Rwanda become entrepreneurs.
Though, it’s not just abroad they’re aiming to uplift women, female empowerment is a priority for them here too in the states, like when they started the “A Walk In A Woman’s World” conversation at the Parsons School of Design in New York on International Woman’s Day discussing – are high heels synonymous with confidence? Or do they actually bolster the notion of fragile, dependent women?
The brand also featured, Nika Diwa, who started the non-profit organization, Reveal, that supports women who suffer from abuse, human trade and domestic violence, at their flagship store in New York City to engage women in the fashion space about how fashion brands can help change the lives of women at risk.
More and more these days I’m starting to think about the power of my consumerism. It will take baby steps to get to where I hope our world is going since changes won’t happen overnight, but I’m excited to see brands like Josefinas be a part of the conversation and give us fashion loving peeps ways to support our values through our purchases.
I bought the Louise White with the Sky Blue Fur Josefinas shoes and feel good every time I wear them. And I love that they go with almost everything because that matters too. I pair them with causal jeans and a black turtleneck or just my usual all-black everything.
This brand will make you feel proud to be a #feminist and you’ll feel good about where your dollars are going when you purchase a pair of their gorgeous (though, a bit pricey) shoes. (Prices range from $250 – $700.)
Discover more about Josefinas shoes and get your pair at josefinas.com.
Written and photographed by Amy Chang, Founder & Editor