Josefinas is a Portuguese brand founded by women and created for women, so it’s no surprise that it decided to create a shoe inspired by the women’s suffrage movement. In addition to making really cute (only flat) shoes for women, the brand also aims to inspire and empower other women and entrepreneurs around the world.
CEO and co-founder Maria Cunha said she was inspired to make this particular suffragist flat after she saw the three colors of the movement — purple, white and green — in a floor painting on Elizabeth Street in New York. Thus, the idea was born to create the flats, which only appear to be a simple style but are actually loaded with symbolism.
Josefinas created a tricolor flat in the colors of the suffragettes. The leather strips that go across the top of the foot are meant to evoke the struggles the women faced, but, as Cunha says, they were “determined to break the ‘prison-bars.'” Of course, the flat style ties in with the Josefinas message that women are powerful in flat shoes.
“I had read about the symbology of those colors before and [realized] that Josefinas needed to create a piece as an homage to the suffragettes,” Cunha told Footwear News. “These women fought for the collective. It’s really important that we never lose this. We need to keep fighting not just for ourselves but for other women.”
While some might argue that feminism should be kept separate from fashion and what women choose to wear on their bodies, Cunha says she believes “that women’s power inspires fashion, and fashion is a vehicle for women’s empowerment.”
She says feminism has been in her life “long before I even knew the word ‘feminism.’ I’ve been proclaiming it all my life as a daughter of a strong and inspiring woman and as an entrepreneur and a businesswoman. I take an approach on business that allows younger talented girls that I work with to grow in business because I believe that the best tool is the freedom you give and the trust that comes along with it.”