South American Fashion Designer: Cristina Palomo-Nelson

Cristina Palomo-Nelson and her partner, Megan Papay, have built an empire based on something that has been apart of Palomo-Nelson’s life since the day she was born, shoes. Cristina was raised in El Salvador and spent most of her childhood running around her parents shoe factory. It was during this time that her love for shoes developed and her designs began to spring up in her mind. The two women created the line “Freda Salvador” in 2011 and have had a successive lineup of collaborations since then. They most recently collaborated in June with Sarah Swell. Swell is a jewelry based designer and created a signature anklet to go with a special edition Freda Salvador loafer. In the future they hope to delve further into western style by creating a line of ankle boots and experimenting with mixed snake prints.

The contemporary line of shoes is produced in a small family factory in Elda, Spain and has been worn by an impressive list of international celebrities including Ashley Benson, Emma Roberts and even Courtney Lowe. Supermodel Gigi Hadid has worn Freda Salvador in four different fashion weeks! This celebrity lineup shows that the women have been successful in their attempt to develop a line that has something for every age group and fashion.

When Cristina set out to create a line of shoes she wanted to create shoes that were fashionable but did not seem like they were trying too hard. Comfort was also at the forefront of her designs, so if you chose to slip into a pair or Freda Slavador shoes know that your toes will still be in tact and functioning by the end of the night! Crisitina’s personal style is tailored, clean and classic which is why she uses her shoes to make a statement. All of Cristina’s designs tie back to her and she leaves a little bit of herself in every pair of shoes she creates.

Cristina’s heritage and home is very prevalent in her work. The first collection of shoes from Freda Salvador was created in Cristina’s family’s factory in El Salvador. The name of the company also ties back to Cristina’s upbringing with the name Salvador being chosen as a homage to her homeland. When they held their first sample show the women were not expecting more than one hundred people and stocked accordingly. Unbeknownst to them their brand had become a hot commodity and they sold out within eleven minutes of opening.

After browsing the website it is easy to see why their sample show sold out so quickly. Their boots range from causal to high end, my personal favorite are the “Ace Lace-Up Boot X Anndra Neen”. These come in two different colors and have beautiful embellishments going down the front that add a more personalized look to an otherwise generic boot. The chunky heel is also great for folks like me who have not mastered walking in heels but love a few extra inches. Their mules and flats are also versatile for women of all styles and professions.

The El Salvador native has been able to launch such a well sought after brand not just because her designs are to die for and her shoes are comfortable but also because she is relatable and faces a lot of the same difficulties that every day women face. For example, in multiple interviews she has talked about her struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work and home life, something that most working moms can relate to. Although it may seem impossible having a similar schedule like Cristina’s where you draw distinct lines and set aside specific time for work and fun it is definitely achievable.

Freda Salvador is constantly changing and growing as a brand but still remains true to their roots. One of the main reasons that I believe this brand has been able to receive such international support in a short period of time. Cristina is proof that if you work hard enough your dreams can come to life.

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