First Look at Freda Salvador

New footwear brand Freda Salvador aims to perfect the everyday shoe — and add a twist.

The brand, which debuts for fall ’12 at FFANY next month, is focused on statement flats and boots, and many of the styles are transformable. For example, a tailored oxford becomes a sleek loafer by unsnapping a leather vamp cover.

“We felt like women were excited about finding heels, but their attitude toward flats and boots was a little lackluster,” said Megan Papay, who created the line with friend Cristina Palomo (both are former Anyi Lu designers). “We wanted to offer flats and boots that could make a woman’s outfit and get her really excited. We also asked ourselves, ‘Why can’t shoes have different personalities?’”

Palomo comes from a footwear family. Her grandfather founded Salvadorean shoe-manufacturing company Adoc, which blossomed into 250 retail stores across Central America. Freda Salvador is produced in Palomo’s family factories in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the name, in part, pays homage to that family connection, as well as the designers’ shared love for Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

The collection, which retails for $235 to $695, is made of leather and pony hair from Brazil, in solids and abstract animal prints. The shoes are targeted to fashion-conscious urban women in their mid-20s and older. Future goals include adding heels, as well as unveiling a Freda Salvador website (created by graphic designer Jennifer Sterling) that will include a community blog.

“We want [the brand] to be fresh based on the look and quality of our shoes, which is very important,” Papay said, “but it’s also a lifestyle.”

The Designers
Cristina Palomo (at left) studied footwear and construction design at Ars Sutoria in Milan and earned a master’s degree in fashion at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Megan Papay majored in costume design at the University of Virginia and has worked in the styling department of Calvin Klein, as well as in fashion PR and accessory design.

The Inspiration
Freda Salvador is influenced by a sense of adventure, said its founders. “We do a ton of traveling together,” Papay said. “We go to Italy and Brazil several times a year, and one of our favorite things to do is walk the streets, sit outside and people-watch. We look at style and fashion all over the world and we put that into our collection.”

The Pitch
The new line is targeting department stores and fashion-forward boutiques for August deliveries. “We want [our retailers] to have the same philosophy on fashion as we do,” Papay said.

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