Mafalda Nunes refuses to be put in a box, she is a free spirit who isn’t fulfilled by the average nine-to-five job. She has created a unique path for herself in the creative industries, and now has turned to fashion to dip her toes to a new discipline one more time, and as always, flourishing in it. With the help of Custom Studio by Pepe Jeans, she’s created a unique garment, yet she’s no stranger to customization. As a kid, she would make clothes for her dolls, and now she’s just honing her craft – you are just lucky to witness her growth.
Hi, Mafalda, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a hardworking, creative girl with a good sense of humour. A full-time dreamer who is always paying attention to the smallest details. I’m not fulfilled with a nine-to-five job; I need to be able to create things and work on different projects every day.
You’re a graphic and interior designer, and a beauty and fashion blogger. You wear many hats at once, but do you have a favourite discipline?
I can't define myself only by one job. I do so much stuff and want to do so much more that it’s practically impossible for me to say I’m just a designer or that I just do this or that. Nevertheless, I love fashion very much and I quite enjoy going through fashion productions, so I’m sure I’d love to work at a magazine as well.
When and why did you decide to start your blog, Never Stop Dreaming?
I started blogging in 2010 while I was on holiday, just before going to college, basically because my organisational skills weren’t (and still aren’t) the best and I really had to make an effort to get better at it. Starting my blog was the way I found to make things easier for me, to put everything that I had been discovering on the Internet in just one place. At the time, there were practically no blogs and, honestly, I would never have even dreamed that mine was going to last until today, and that it would be something that I’d enjoy so much.
There’s a Gloria Steinem quote on your blog. Is feminism something really important in your life, and do you like reflecting that side of yours in your work?
Well, gender equality shouldn't even be a question nowadays. In my opinion, it’s just silly when women in chief positions have lower salaries than men just because they’re females.
Other than your obsession with pineapples, what would you say are the things that have shaped your style?
One person that might have influenced my style and the person I am today is Björk. I remember being fourteen or fifteen years old and going crazy over the amazing garments she wore, her music videos, which were completely out of this world, her hairstyles and, of course, her songs. However, I find that her current work no longer relates to what I saw and loved back then.
But the person who has definitely influenced me the most at all levels – and it may be a cliché – is my mother. I remember looking at old photographs and noticing her irreverent presence in public and her amazing out-of-the-box sense of style. My grandmother would tell me she would get so mad at her because, those days, girls wore short skirts but she wanted to wear long ones instead – and at the time there weren’t many stores selling them.
If the world zigged, she always zagged. Her style was very unique and well curated, and she’s very creative and has a ‘let’s do this’ attitude. I’ve never seen my mother giving up on anything. Never. She always follows her dreams and guts. She’s the one who always tells me to challenge and push myself, and to never forget my goals and to never (ever) stop dreaming.
What are your favourite somewhat unknown spots in the city of Lisbon?
Lisbon is such an authentic city. It’s probably the place where I want to live for the rest of my life. My favourite go-to spot has got to be Jardim do Torel, which is a calm and quiet park with the most amazing view over the city.
What can you tell us about your collaboration with Pepe Jeans and Custom Studio? How's your experience been?
I loved it! Pepe Jeans Custom Studio is all about details and that’s what I believe makes a difference in an outfit. I chose a pair of high-waisted black jeans – my everyday go-to-piece – and decided to customize it with star-shaped studs along the sides and on the back pockets.
I’ve read that you’ve been into fashion ever since you were a kid, as you used to make clothes for your dolls. Is that when your interest in customization started?
Yeah, I believe it was. I started developing my creative side when I was still a kid, and at the time, I decided to turn ordinary objects into unique pieces with personality – from Barbie dolls to Barbie houses. My version of ‘playing house’ was ‘playing designer’, with me unconsciously creating magazines and fashion scrapbooks. I even had a wall in my bedroom full of clippings from fashion magazines, which is basically what we now call a moodboard.
In which way have you expressed your personality and work, in regards to this customization collaboration with Pepe Jeans?
Basically, by turning a simple pair of high-waisted jeans into a unique piece. I was so delighted to see that what I created got such a positive feedback from people who told me the customized jeans were really one-of-a-kind.
Why would you say customization is important/relevant?
I have a passion for customized pieces. The fact that they’re unique and are different from any other piece, and that I’m not at risk of crossing paths with someone wearing the same thing as me, that gets me to cloud nine!
What can you explain us about your projects for a near future?
In a close future, I actually want to focus on some ideas and projects that sadly have been on standby mode for way too long, like launching my own brand.