Introducing: senhor PRUDÊNCIO

Make way for footwear with a difference. Portuguese brand senhor PRUDÊNCIO makes creative shoes for men who like their accessories to do a little talking…

Footwear designer Joao Pedro Filipe tires of the idea of businessman wearing the same shoes. “Most people like the same kind of shoes, especially men,” he says. “Classic shoes are not that interesting.”

So what’s he doing at his budding Portugal-based footwear and accessories brand that’s so different? He’s injecting some TLC into the sole – trainers with rippling bottoms that look like they’ve inadvertently tread in a gigantic piece of gum, others banded like a seven layer dip. Bonus: everything is made in Portugal, and all the traditional techniques he uses have been passed on from his grandfather.

For his AW15 collection, dubbed #DUAL, Filipe has taken inspiration from iconic creative pairings. He looked to duos like artist Robert Mapplethorpe and singer Patti Smith, and Marina Abramovic and Ulay.

“While I was designing #DUAL, I was reading Just Kids by Patti Smith to understand her relationship with Mapplethorpe,” Filipe says, adding On the Road by Jack Kerouac and A Mensagem by Fernando Pessoa to the list of books that the well-read senhor PRUDÊNCIO customer would have in his bag.

But, as guys, do we even really need accessories? “I believe there are a lot of men that use accessories in their everyday lives,” justifies Filipe. “When you’re in Tokyo there is not one man without a bag. It is very hard to find good quality gloves and belts for men and I am developing and growing the accessories line in the brand. Men need good accessories.”

After all, the brand’s gloves look pretty slick smoothing down trousers and clasping their counterparts in a quick cut video collaboration with the brand’s creative consultant, Toby Grimditch, and photographer Thomas Giddings. “Both Thomas and Toby’s work is incredible. From the first moment, both of them understood what I wanted to achieve with #DUAL,” says Filipe.

Within the collection, the plasticity of Mapplethorpe’s greyscale imagery plays off the graphic elements of typical Portuguese packaging from the 1930s – 1970s, which is never more evident than in the sleek Ari shoes. It’s no wonder, then, that senhor PRUDÊNCIO’s Tumblr page is an architectural feast. “I fell in love with shoes mainly because it is a 3D product. Architecture and shoes relate in the sense of the technical issues and construction. It’s a great inspiration for me.”

As for his gum-soled trainers, Filipe recalls a time when shoes were more subversive. “I remember going out as a kid, some places wouldn’t let me in just because I was wearing sneakers. Nowadays, it’s weird to think that this would be a reason for you not to be allowed in a space,” he says.

Filipe is shaking a fist at the traditional business shoe and shoving the rules where the sun don’t shine. “I don’t follow any rules and I never would do. When you present an alternative option of a traditional shoe, people get more interested.”

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Prudencio Footwear: AW15 Collection