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A few years ago, Guilherme Teixeira, 21, and his girlfriend were robbed on a beach. With all their clothes taken, they hit the local shops to replace them. ‘But I couldn’t find any clothes that interested me,’ says Guilherme. Disappointed to find the clothes on offer too expensive or simply lacking the sort of style he was after, Teixeira started thinking about creating his own brand – an idea that was swiftly followed by the name ‘Soul’, a name he felt best represented what he had in mind.
After talking to five of his childhood friends about the project, none of whom worked in fashion, Guilherme persuaded them to join the team, and Lourenço Braga, Fabio Di Gregorio, Pedro Braum and Rodrigo Watson became responsible, respectively, for the marketing, accounting and admin, media and public relations and sales of Soul. Each has his area of expertise, but each has a say in all the important decisions.
Their early pieces were made in collaboration with a denim specialist from the neighborhood of Brás. The relationship ended in confusion, but it was a lesson well learnt for the group, which went on to launch the current incarnation of the company in September 2008 at Pedro’s own home, where 330 pieces were displayed. Soul broke even and even made a tiny profit, and after the launch, the guys celebrated at the ritzy nightclub Disco.
Soul, based on Rua Augusta close to chic shopping strip Rua Oscar Freire, is a wholly masculine brand: the guys have no plans to expand into a women’s line. ‘Women are unfaithful,’ the young entrepreneurs say, cheekily, before explaining: ‘Women have a habit of buying an accessory here, a pair of shoes there, a dress somewhere else – they’re never fixed places, but vary according to their tastes.’ But not men. As the lads have cannily noticed, when a man likes a brand, he sticks to it. Still, the size S bata (an Indian-styled shirt) sold well among women, they say.
The group’s collections are always themed. The first theme was Cuba, closely followed by South Africa – a choice motivated by the 2010 World Cup. Prices range from R$80 to R$200.