Footwear Designer Armando Cabral Drew From His Rich Heritage for 100th Anniversary Collaboration With Allen Edmonds

Armando Cabral. Image: Jason Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images

To commemorate their 100th anniversary in 2022, luxury shoe brand Allen Edmonds collaborated with a bevy of creatives for the “My Life’s Work” campaign, an initiative that celebrates those whose journeys and style shine through their life’s work. Kicking off the campaign is model and shoe designer Armando Cabral, who designed a classic moto boot for the collaboration. We spoke with Cabral about his collab and how his Guinea-Bissau roots play a unique role in his work.

EBONY: Please begin by telling us about your life’s work and why you chose to be featured in Volume 1 of Allen Edmond’s ‘My Life’s Work’ campaign.

Armando Cabral: The ‘My Life’s Work’ campaign is all about the stories, the people, and the pride that comes with a passion for creating. I welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Allen Edmonds, a heritage brand that shares a mutual respect for the craft, so we can learn from one another. I’m passionate about creating beautiful things, rediscovering my heritage, and giving back to my community in any way possible. This is part of my life’s work.

What can you tell us about your collaboration with Allen Edmonds for the Moto Boot and where you drew your inspiration from?

What I love about this collaboration with Allen Edmonds is how closely our brands are aligned. We are each pursuing and refining our craft, pushing and celebrating each other in this partnership. It’s so much more than just creating great shoes; this is an expression of who we are. Creating a custom design for Allen Edmonds was such an honor for me. I selected the Moto Boot because it’s timeless with ties to American culture. It’s versatile and when crafted properly, a piece you will have for seasons to come. I wanted to give it the Armando Cabral touch with the addition of a harness strap, a heavy buckle, and a wider tooth on the stitching.

What role does your heritage play in your designs?

My brand is an extension of myself. You’re wearing a part of my heritage. That means everything to me. My inspiration comes from all parts of my life and from all over the world. I was born in Guinea-Bissau and grew up in Portugal. I got my formal education in London. And once I became a model, I was based in Paris and travelled all over the world. Today, I live with my family in New York City and I consider myself a citizen of the world. For the fall season and my partnership with Allen Edmonds, I went back to my African roots and discovered a beautiful textile tradition that merged beautifully with the European craft and construction I have come to be known for. This journey into this facet of my history was richer than I could have imagined. Each weaving is unique to a cultural past that is also very present to my journey and to my life’s work.

I know that proceeds from the shoe will go towards some worthy social justice causes. Can you tell us more about some of the organizations you’ll be supporting through this collaboration?

We are donating proceeds to organizations that support the African community, specifically, education in my home country and important social justice causes here in the United States. We have selected Black Lives Matter to receive donations from this collection as I was emotionally impacted by the death and aftermath of George Floyd. I stood up and I spoke out. Now that we have this amazing collaboration with Allen Edmonds, we are able to do more by giving our support to an organization that is driving positive changes in the community that we are all a part of.

Allen Edmonds x Armando Cabral Discovery Moto Boot, $475, allenedmonds.com.

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