Friday, June 16, 2017

meet ILDE GONCALVES .. the mutitasking designer



Creatives are an odd lot; some can barely do one thing at a time, others are A>D>D in the extreme and then there are those who juggle dual careers and a private life to boot. Ilde Goncalves is the latter who is full time swimwear manufacturer and designer as well as a makeup artist/brand ambassador. Honestly, I get tired of thinking about it all but this man is boundless in his energies and prodigious in his output.
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Today you get to learn about him in his own words as he introduces himself to all and offers us some history and entreé into what makes Ilde tick on all levels… and don’t forget beach weather is upon us!!

 
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Jeffrey Felner: Can you give us a brief history about you and your brand?

Ilde Goncalves: Born in Venezuela from Portuguese parents; I grew up in between the two cultures. My mom was a seamstress so I used to see her cutting and putting together all kinds of clothing. At 15 I sat for the first time to play with an industrial sewing machine and by 18 I was making bathing suits and leotards for the Miss Venezuela pageant.

I decided to go to fashion school and at the same time I got a scholarship to study modern dance and ballet. I spent a few years learning how to be a fashion designer while I was also falling in love with being a dancer and the makeup world. By 23 I graduated from fashion institute “Brivil” in Caracas, while I was already designing and making costumes for many young talented choreographers and also making the costumes for the Ballet Teresa Carreno School that I was attending at the time. I got a contract to dance for the Ballet Nacional de Caracas which I accepted because it was a dream to me, to be part of such a vibrant company and its choreographer Vicente Nebreda.

In 2001 I moved to Miami Beach where I kept on dancing for a few more years and freelancing for different projects; I found out that it was a challenge to get  good quality swimwear with good prints at affordable prices so I decided to make my own of course. I got such good feedback from my friends, that I made I small 1st collection that sold out.

As a young designer I had to have a part time job so I took a part time job at Sephora, where I learned and grew as a makeup artist. After a few years in the company, I auditioned to be part of the “Sephora Pro” team … a group of elevated artists that represent the company globally.  I started as a seasonal beauty adviser and worked my way up to lead show during NYFW, Swimweek in Miami and to ultimately create beautiful images that adorn the “gondolas” and windows of the stores in the US and Latin America (just shot my biggest Campaign for Sephora that will be out in all stores in May)

I met my husband Jarrod Wilkins in Miami Beach at a shoot where he was modeling my swimwear, and we connected instantly. The brand it’s an eclectic mix of my passion for fashion, ballet and theater and my Latin roots mixed with Jarrod’s experiences of being a model and growing up in Australia were men knows how to wear sexy bikinis. Together we design fun and colorful pieces, and we are in charge of the creative direction, makeup and style for all of our photo shoots. 
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JF: Do you have any style or fashion icons and please explain why you have chosen them?

 IG: Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Missoni, Emilio Pucci and Alexander McQueen to mention a few. I admire designers that a understand how to work with prints, and that make pieces that fit like a glove. One of my clients once said that if Lacroix, Oscar DLR and Pucci had a “ménage a trois” at the beach and had a baby, it would be an ildeswimwear piece.
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JF: If you could incite any 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?

IG: I would love to have over for dinner Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, Kate Moss, Donatella Versace, and Karl Lagerfeld. I admire each and every one of these icons and what they have done for the fashion industry. Each one of these designers/super-model had created beautiful pieces/images that bring love and happiness to this world. We obviously need more of this kind of synergy in the world right now, and that is what we do with ildeswimwear. Create pieces that will make people feel beautiful, confident and sexy.
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JF: Let’s talk swimwear. Who is your target customer? Where do you see your band in 5 years?

IG: Men that love fashion, that understand prints and that are comfortable in their own skin. Most of our clients, use or work for high fashion brands and understand how special our swimwear is. When they see the prints and colors we use, and they try one of our designs on, they become instant fans. One of our #1 fan is Ricky Martin, who last year posted a few images on his social media channels wearing his favorite ildeswimwear suit. Gina Rodriguez and Edgar Ramirez also wear our designs. We want our brand to keep on growing slowly and healthy. And in 5 years to be an established and well-known fashion house.

 
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JF: And why did you choose swimwear? Can you also speak to whether or not Instagram has been helpful in building the brand?

IG: I wanted to create pieces that people could wear not once or twice, but many, many times; designs that would travel all over the world, and visit exotic beaches with their owners for many years. I love to create simple pieces that are “Made in USA” by hand with lots of love, which will make whoever wear them feel beautiful and sexier. Instagram has been extremely helpful for a baby brand like us. We have over 20,000 followers that support and love us all over the world. Instagram and Facebook have been a great tool for us to market and promote our brand and it has helped us to keep the swimwear a family owned business and we are very thankful for that.
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JF: If you could choose any collaboration with any person or brand who or what would that be and why?

IG: I would love to collaborate with brands like H&M, Adidas and/or Rihanna. I love the collaborations that the two brands have done in the past with different artists, and I am a big fan of Riri and her incredible-stylish-sense of style.  

 
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www.ildeswimwear.com