Melissa has been reinventing footwear for the past 35 years, but you may have never heard of the brand.
However, if you ask a stylish teenager or your knowledgeable fashion friend, odds are, they know it well. Melissa shoes are a more fashionable (and comfortable) version of the Jelly shoes many of us wore in the summer as a kid.
Melissa began in 1979 as a purveyor of plastic shoes for women. The idea of making a whole shoe in plastic came about after a holiday in France, where the founder of Melissa shoes saw fishermen using traditional jelly sandals.
Though China would be the obvious choice for plastic output, Melissa has always stood by its Brazilian roots, manufacturing and producing everything directly from Brazil.
The shoes are made from an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic material called Melflex, a form of PVC that provides improved elasticity, durability, and comfort. During production, a secret concoction of fragrances is mixed into the plastic to give them a sweet, fruity scent.
This added bonus comes in handy especially during the hotter months, when feet are bound to get a little sweaty. Slip into a Melissa sandal and your feet will be smelling “tutti-frutti” despite the summer heat.
Creative director Edson Matsuo has worked for the company for more than three decades. It’s his fascination with plastic that keeps him creating new styles season after season.
“I believe plastic is only limited by the designer’s creativeness,” Matsuo says.
When it comes to Melissa’s collections, the designers have certainly gotten creative. As a leader in collaborative collections, Melissa has become famous for teaming with a variety of designers in fashion, furniture design, and more. Some of the renowned creative talents include Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfield and Jeremy Scott, each of whom partnered with Melissa to create some of the most fantastic, playful designs that have defined and popularized Melissa’s collections.
Brazilian supermodels have tried their hand at collaborating, too. Like Alessandra Ambrosio, who assisted the iconic plastic shoe brand for a mini collection back in 2012.
“I grew up wearing Melissa shoes, and now my daughter wears them all the time,” Ambrosio said. “I love the shoes because they smell great and are made of jelly, just so cute and comfy!”
These bright, bold shoes are available for women and children. Featured styles include ballet flats with a glittering cutout design as well as bow-accented sandals and cat-adorned mary jane shoes ranging in colors from clear and black to bubblegum pink and cherry red.