It’s hard to ignore a name like Mourinho when it passes through your inbox. Or at least it’s hard for anyone who’s a fan of football (or soccer, as we call it on this side of the pond). Anyone who has ever watched a Premier League game has probably seen on the sidelines the legendary José Mourinho, currently the coach of Tottenham Hotspur after three seasons at Manchester United (and a long managerial career preceding that).
But this isn’t an article about soccer, nor is it about José Mourinho. In fact, it seems absurd not to introduce the featured designer first, but the instantly recognizable surname of Matilde Faria Mourinho Felix—the designer is the daughter of the aforementioned football legend—had me going temporarily insane. When worlds collide—jewelry and soccer, two of my favorite things in this case—it’s pretty sweet.
Now that I’ve had a chance to compose myself, focusing on the designer’s work is quite simply a much lovelier—and far more soothing—experience than watching a game. The eponymous Matilde, which just made its debut on Dec. 3, bows a beautiful, curated assortment of jewelry every bit of which you’ll want to collect.
Committed to offering a sustainable, environmentally and socially friendly assortment of jewelry, Matilde makes each of its pieces with recycled precious metals and lab-grown diamonds.
Many of the designs nod to Mourinho Felix’ Portuguese heritage: the Azulejo pendant, inspired by iconic Portuguese and Spanish tiles, or the Coração necklace, which represents a traditional filigree heart that is a symbol of Portuguese culture.
I had the great fortune to get a few words from the designer on her inspiration and experience with the brand so far. Please welcome Matilde!
Welcome to the industry! What inspired you to work with jewelry as opposed to other textiles?
I have always loved jewelry and the power it has to hold such personal memories, not to mention its ability to tell stories about a person, their character, their beliefs. The more I learned about the harmful effects of mining and the unsustainable practices within the jewelry industry, the more natural it felt to go down this route in my own career and start my own business.
Tell us a little bit about your goals working with lab-grown diamonds. What makes their use important to you?
Lab-grown diamonds are chemically and physically identical to mined diamonds, all without the negative environmental and societal impacts. I learned so much about the practices of the mining industry, and when I found an identical alternative that didn’t have to cost us the earth, I knew straight away I couldn’t go back to purchasing a mined diamond. It’s important to me and to my brand to be able to spread awareness of this alternative, and even better to offer resources to those who are unfamiliar with lab-grown diamonds.
To launch a new brand in 2020 is a big endeavor! How has the reception among customers been so far? Are you finding it comfortable to connect with customers online?
The reception has been overwhelming! When I started working on the beginning stages of building the brand, nobody knew what was coming in 2020, and with this I was faced with a choice of: Do I pause and resume when “this is all over,” or do I take it as a challenge and grab the opportunity to go ahead? I decided to go ahead for several reasons—I really found that this year made consumers much more aware of the origins of their products as well as the practices of the brands they choose to follow. I think connecting with customers online is a great resource, especially when social media is such a direct form of communication that allows organic and authentic communities to build and grow.
A better year is ahead! What are your plans for the brand in 2021? And do you have any holiday plans this year?
Let’s hope so! For 2021 I really want to focus on growing and fostering what I started to build in 2020. Of course, the first few months are about seeing what works and doesn’t, and learning from that and adapting. I want to grow the range of products, and even expand into the men’s jewelry sector.
But for now, my holidays will be quiet and will be spent at home in London with family, which I feel very lucky to be able to do.
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