Edson Matsuo, artist & designer in materials at Melissa



Edson Matsuo, artist & designer in materials at Melissa

As part of our continuing conversation with the brands we love (and carry), we’re honored to have spoken with Edson Matsuo, Creative Director at Melissa Shoes.  Melissa makes a fashion forward shoe that combines beauty, simplicity and sustainability.  We always wondered who was responsible for constant parade of striking shoes we’ve had the honor to see come through our store.  And now we’ve had the pleasure to get to know Edson.


Where do you get your inspiration?

Melissa Shoes began as a take on the “Fisherman Shoe” from the French Riviera – it was a utilitarian, plastic shoe.   Melissa began working with this type of plastic shoe by importing and perfecting molds.  We were looking for innovation, new things – we began to embrace designers – Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Elisabeth de Senneville, Patrick Cox, etc.  Now the co-creation involves not just designers, but architects as well.  It’s a new way of thinking – we love working with our collaborators.  I have been at Melissa almost 30 years, and we are still learning how to innovate with plastic.  We design a global product in a way that is very Brazilian – with joy and innovation and beauty –  all synonymous with Brazil.  Through this we can translate our heritage around the world. Melissa is about pop luxury!

How could your company incorporate more sustainable practices?

Melissa is part of the future of Brazil.  Brazil has a lot of diversity, and our factory is in an area where many immigrants settled.  I was born in Brazil to Japanese parents.  The way we design the shoes is organic – we are flexible and embrace other cultures.  It’s not a rigid project.  We are collaborative, warm, and always open to new ideas.  The shoes are all sustainable and recyclable, and of course, vegan. Because the production is in plastic (in which excesses can be melted down and repurposed) there is little waste and endless opportunities for creation.

Any new directions or ideas you can share about the line?

We will continue to work with our collaborators, including 2 new collections by Karl Lagerfeld. To best appreciate Karl Lagerfeld’s shoes for Melissa, you have to have a sense of humor.  Fashion should be fun – it doesn’t always need to be taken so seriously! We see the shoe being worn by confident girls who follow trends, but love to accessorize with an element of surprise.  These shoes aren’t overly fussy – they bring fashion, elegance, and Karl’s humor to practicality.

What is the next big trend on fashion?

Over 30 years Melissa has obsessively manipulated our material of choice, plastic, into various forms.  We like to contrast a softer rubberized shoe with shiny hardware.  We like to collaborate with artists from both inside and outside the fashion world.  I think we will continue to see fashion melt together with music, art, theater and digital – making “fashion” harder to define but easier to understand through all media.

What’s your take on the trend toward shopping online?

The world is rapidly changing and the way people get their information is changing.  People’s expectations are getting higher – they want to be surprised and also want socially and consciously sourced products.  Melissa has been pushing the envelope for 35 years through materials and design choices.  Now we know that many of our global customers shop online, so we work hard to surpass their expectations  of an online shopping experience.  But ultimately, our shoes are meant to be experienced – seen, smelled, and touched!