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5 Minutes With... Mama Coca

by Emma Foreman

Established in 2012 and idealised in Brazil, the Mama Coca collection is inspired by the Andes and created for the universe.  We spoke to the designer Lívia Lago to find out more about the brand.

How did Mama Coca begin?

The first step was going to Peru, back in 2011. At the time, the only thing people talked about everywhere we went was the Mayan prophecy regarding the end of the world in 2012. We were quite fascinated by everything it triggered and how people were taking up soul searching habits such as meditation, yoga and basically everything that made them feel more connected to a well-being state of mind. In Peru we discovered how in their simplicity, they were extremely caring and thoughtful with others, with natural elements, with food and animals. They were living in enlightenment for years and no one was talking about this! It became the major inspiration to bring to life something that epitomized this need for a root connection with oneself. The idea to design talismans came from this trip and we have returned to Peru several times ever since to learn more and more about the local traditions.

Mama Coca is built by two minds – Livia do Lago Basile, a keen traveller with a film studies degree. Livia made short documentaries until deciding to pursue a career in jewellery design, to bring life to her stone collection, started at the age of twelve. After 4 years receiving training as a goldsmith and designer in São Paulo, Livia went fro bespoken designs to a full-range jewellery collection. Leonardo Eidi is the other mind behind Mama Coca. As a former strategy consultant, he has a sharp eye for quality control, and a sensibility that allows him to always anticipate the needs of the human life.

Have you always been interested in fashion?

I have always been interested in beauty and storytelling. It took me a while to figure out that fashion gathered both interests.

What have been the highest and lowest points on your journey so far?

The highest point of Mama Coca is surely being recognized by stockists that our line has a story worth sharing in their stores. The lowest is being sometimes overwhelmed by all our desires and not allowing time take its own course. We have an urge to create and design in a speed not always allowed by normal life.

What was the inspiration behind your latest collection?

Our latest collection, Midsummer is inspired by Shakespeare’s Midsummer’s Night Dream. In our story we set the play in a sunny tropical Latin paradise instead of the Greek Woods. Expect mythology by the beach.

Do you ever struggle to stay inspired?

Not really, we actually struggle to focus and use one inspiration at a time.

Where is your go-to meeting spot?

We take food very seriously, so either we are cooking for friends, in organic markets and farms or enjoying meals in the city.

How would you describe your customer base?

Our customer base is the enlightened woman. She is a hard worker and loves waking up early to seize the day, but tries to find balance within all areas of her life. She is fun and lighthearted but also very determined to reach her goals.

Is there anyone you would love to see wearing your designs?

Yes! Gisele Bündchen. Beautiful, determined and uses her influence to make the world a better place.

What are the morals you run your brand by?

We want our customers, stockists, suppliers and everyone around us to experience freedom. This is why we work so hard to be focused and responsible, thus building the grounds for freedom. By doing so we allow our supplier to work with a reasonable time schedule, our clients and stockists are carefully heard and can design pieces with us, according to their needs to adjust or adapt each piece. We want to encourage people to feel safe, loved, heard and creative.

Do you have a mentor?

We have a few, one of them is the owner of the Opal mine that works with us. She is a strong and beautiful inspiration that advises me on all our constructions and new ideas. The other one is Araquém Alcântara, one of Brazil’s finest nature photographer. He always pushes us to do better, to believe in our purpose and to communicate to others how beautiful the world can be.

What apps keep you sane?

Instagram and Whatsapp. The first one because it allows us to communicate in a free and artistic way and the second because it keeps us in touch 24/7 with our production line, stockists and clients, especially when we are travelling. Waze for when we are in São Paulo is also an absolute must have. Can’t live without Deezer as well, they already know what we like music wise and always recommend new artists.

If you could only wear one piece from your collection, what would it be and why?

I would pick the Atlantis gold pendant with Raw Imperial Topaz and Opal. It’s a discreet and charming amulet that suits all occasions and outfits. It makes you fell elegant at all times.

What’s the biggest style mistake you’ve ever made?

The nineties was one fashion mistake after another haha. Still, all mistakes are valuable when they are part of experimenting with style and limits. For us, mistakes are more related to being uncomfortable and underdressed, making you feel diminished and unattractive. Nothing beats confidence.

Is there another designer whose work you particularly admire?

Paul Smith is an absolute favourite. We went to his exhibition a couple of years ago in the Design Museum in London only to see how clothes can change our approach towards life. Basically we can go from Peter Pilotto to Victoria Beckham in a second. Its all about the confident persona.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Never set a limit on your creations. Even when designing a minimalist piece, what are you really trying to say, and how can you do this in the most beautiful way possible?

What drew you to Wolf & Badger?

The store is the perfect place to find a avant-garde selection of new brands. The client that goes to Wolf & Badger expects to be amazed by gorgeous designs they can’t find anywhere else.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

We see ourselves in the 4 corners of the planet, design in a global scale but still true to our core principles – fair trade, customer relationship and beautiful stones.