Were you always a creative?
Ever since I can remember I’ve always been creative and artistic. My early childhood memories from school always involved creating projects and making arts and craft. I’ve always admired artistic expression in whatever shape or form it comes.
What childhood events/memories do you feel influenced you becoming a designer?
When I was fourteen years old, my mom – who always encouraged my creative side – bought me some beads and stones from a trip abroad. I immediately started thinking about what I could do with them and created a bracelet and necklace for myself. My friends and family loved them and asked me to make some for them also. Word got around and soon enough I was getting calls from strangers enquiring about my designs. Even though I didn’t end up in jewelry design, it was the initial spark that led to me realizing I could turn my passion into my career.
What was the art-culture of the area that you grew up in?
I grew up in Caracas – Venezuela. Even though it’s a big city, Caracas is very green and colorful. Women in my country take pride in looking their best and that certainly had a big influence on me and my own expression. My family has always prided themselves on teaching us about not only our culture, but cultures outside of our own. This exposure to different ways of life and diverse forms of artistic expression is something I value deeply and that I’m very grateful for. It’s something that I definitely think translates into my designs.
Did you ever think you would do something other than design?
I don’t think growing up I ever actually considered being a designer simply because I didn’t know that I could even choose this as a career path. I’m the first in my family who has chosen a career within the creative industry. Once I realized this was my passion and that I could also do this for a living I knew there was no other path for me. Thankfully my family has always been very supportive and encouraging.
Did you have any family members or loved ones who influenced your creative trajectory?
The person who has had the greatest influence on my creative trajectory has certainly been my mother. Although she’s not a designer herself, she has a passion for art, culture and fashion that shaped how I looked at things. She has always supported my career and has fostered my own belief in my abilities as a designer even when I’ve doubted myself.
You live a very multinational life, how has your globetrotting influenced your artistic development?
Having grown up in a large family in Venezuela, I was surrounded by nature’s beauty, extraordinary color and many incredibly refined and impressively stylish women. From a very young age, I was drawn into and inspired by every detail of their style as well as the genuine beauty that surrounded us.
When I went on to study jewelry design in Florence, I developed a deep respect for artisan craftsmanship and luxurious materials. Transitioning to New York, my interests progressed to a focus on shoes while studying jewelry and accessories design at FIT. After being awarded the Excellence in Footwear Design from the Accessories Council, I decided to further my studies at the London College of Fashion. By the time I returned to Venezuela in 2011, footwear had taken a firm hold on my heart and together with my two sisters, Leonor and Mariela, we opened 3 direct to consumer boutiques in Caracas featuring the AG by Andrea Gomez collection, which we manufactured in Spain. As often happens, timing is critical and our lives have taken us away from our beloved country. But, now my love of style, refinement and beauty has evolved into the Andrea Gomez collection, launched in New York for Spring 2017. We feel it has brought us full circle. Back to Florence, where I first fell in love with artisan craftsmanship, luxurious materials and how they can be transformed into objects of beauty.
What is your day-to-day creative process? What motivates a new shoe or collection?
A question that I get asked a lot, and it’s unfortunately rather difficult for me to explain, is where I get my inspiration from when creating a style or collection. Inspiration for me can come from anywhere at any given time. Sometimes I’ll discover a new artist and that’ll get my creative juices flowing, other times, it’s something as simple as a beautiful material or landscape. Once I find something I love I like researching and learning more about it, almost compulsively, that has always been my nature.
Once I’m inspired, I immediately start sketching and that inspiration starts evolving and translating into my designs. I love mixing and matching colors and materials to create combinations and textures that are unique and vibrant.
As a woman designer it’s incredibly important for me to keep in mind who is ultimately wearing my shoes. My goal is to create designs that make the women who wear them feel elegant, chic and empowered, while remaining practical, wearable and comfortable.