Armando Cabral is a model turned entrepreneur in the luxury shoe space. At the height of his modeling career, he graced international runways, premiering for brands like Dior, Calvin Klein and Gucci.
While making his name on the runway, Cabral had an eye for entrepreneurship, having been exposed to high-caliber industries like fashion, beauty, and entertainment. And when the time was ripe, he knew exactly the sector he wanted to invest in: men’s footwear. In 2008, he started creating an eponymous label of exquisitely-made shoes for men.
Cabral designed all his Armando Cabral shoes, which included red deerskin leather high-tops, with his own lifestyle in mind, Kinfolk wrote. And in designing, he prioritized sleek design, comfort and Italian craftsmanship, the outlet added.
“The Armando Cabral man is a global nomad,” he told the platform. “I believe the modern man requires a shoe that conveys a timeless aesthetic without sacrificing comfort.”
In forging ahead with his shoe brand, Cabral was guided by the advice of J. Crew CEO and personal mentor Mickey Drexler, who told him to always listen to customers. This went a long way to influence his shoe production, inspiring him to create something that was beautiful and comfortable, but was not needlessly expensive, he said. By 2017, his shoe brand was being sold at Mr Porter and Bloomingdale’s. Today, the brand is also at New York’s Rockefeller Centre and worn by celebrities including Afrobeats star Burna Boy.
“To me, being an entrepreneur is a gift,” he said. “My greatest professional accomplishment has to be building this brand. It’s something I’ve done from the ground up, on my own. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Cabral was born in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau. His family moved from Africa to Portugal when he was only 4 years old. His father took him to London to study business and also as a strategy to distract him from pursuing modeling in Portugal.
Nonetheless, he went into modeling after he was identified by a modeling agency while studying in London. According to Rockefellercentre, he designs from a unique vantage point, reflecting the people who have helped shape him as a person. The model-turned-entrepreneur said his goal is to bring the customer into his heritage, which is a global heritage.