Inspired by the quiet moments of introspection and loneliness from the last year and a half of isolation, Lisbon-based footwear brand Unreal Fields is launching a dreamlike universe of shoes for its upcoming SS21 campaign.
“A time to reconnect with our innermost selves, this last year of isolation has brought forth a profound need for self-exploration and self-knowledge that begs the questions, ‘Who am I?” and “Who do I wish to become?'” said Unreal Fields CEO and Founder, Inês Lebre.
When creating their new shoe collection, Inês and her team set out to express their feelings more freely, move more wildly and chase independence in every aspect of their day-to-day lives. When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.
When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.
With the creation of SHI, Unreal Fields has once again positioned itself as a creative premium brand unlike anything in the current European market. Highly connected to its values and personality, with this new line the brand showcases where its inspiration comes from: a celebration of womanhood in all its shapes and forms. Their shoe line is also a call to arms for women around the world to exercise their freedom to choose when and where to be daringly bold.
As a part of the July edition of Darling’s Favorite Things and brands we love, we got to sit down with Inês Lebre about the new campaign and how Unreal Fields is elevating Portuguese fashion.
What was the “why” or the passion that sparked the idea behind Unreal Fields?
The passion was matching the excellent local craftsmanship of the footwear industry with incredible creative/contemporary emerging talent and finding a place for it on the world stage. Portugal has at its disposal several groups of artisans who have mastered the art of building a shoe manually.
However, the approach to this was always very classic and conservative. We thought it could be done with a stronger layer of contemporary and creative imagination behind it. Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.
Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.
How is Unreal Fields elevating Portuguese fashion to the global market?
Adding to the well-known quality (most big fashion brands are already produced here), we also bring an impressive layer of design, contemporaneity, art and playfulness compared to conventional aesthetics. We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.
Unreal Fields utilizes handmade shoe models from generations-old family businesses of Portuguese manufacturers. How does this set your brand apart?
Our artisans have been doing this for centuries. This factor gives us a sense of pride and also social responsibility. In a world that’s strongly dominated by fast fashion, choosing to create in local and small productions is a bold choice because it definitely influences our prices, but it also places us higher in the quality offering.
Plus, having smaller productions also allows us much more flexibility regarding quantities, trying new materials and customizations.
We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.
You also prioritize shining a light on new talent in your newer collections. Tell me about this and the team dynamic behind-the-scenes.
We look for talent (Portuguese and international) that has been exposed to the art world and give them a briefing about the brand positioning. The team researches the materials and then brings us their proposals. Then, together with the factory, we build designs that prioritize comfort without forgetting the edginess that we so love.
A great part of what we do is also engaging our community through social media. Every now and then we touch base with our followers by asking them to vote on colors, materials and shapes they’d like to see in future collections. This dynamic helps guide us throughout the process.
In the end, when the shoe is built, our audience also votes on which models and colors we ultimately produce. We recently did that with the SS21 collection and it worked really well. We can’t wait to show you the results!
How would you say Unreal Fields has evolved since its launch in 2019?
It has evolved tremendously, especially in regards to our communications and community-building. We´ve had the pleasure of connecting with artists and creatives that also enjoy engaging with us and participating in the creative process.
We have also started creating much more dynamic content that allows us to have a stronger voice connected to our values. We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness. This gives us the opportunity to touch upon all sorts of topics—from summer trends to discussing burnout, pregnancy and beyond.
We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness.
If you had to pick, what pair of Unreal Fields shoes would you recommend as a go-to for the summer?
Definitely our Madge Fuchsia Orange sandals!
If you had three words to describe the aesthetic of Unreal Fields, what would they be?
Bold, playful and contemporary
Is there anything exciting coming up that customers can look forward to in the rest of 2021?
More human engagement, exciting campaigns and an amazing FW21!
Image via Unreal Fields