Mariela Schwarz Montiel the founder of Antolina started her career as a young student of Vivienne Westwood in Berlin. Mariela took an internship in Paris at Hermes where she met Mr Jean Luis Dumas, a visionary whose premise that the success of a design is in the telling of the whole story from the first idea to the raw material, to the perfection of the technique and the final unveiling that profoundly influenced her and continues to this day to be the foundation of her design process.
In search of her ancestors, she went back to her roots in Paraguay where she met the Maka community. She fell in love with the fabrics, the colors and their genuine and generous character. Seeing how much they struggle to earn and provide for their families, she created Antolina: a project to support these Indigenous communities and in turn to help her to preserve an important part of her personal history. The name of the brand comes from her paternal grandmother’s first name and whose personality and tenderness suffused her childhood. Antolina is a name that both evokes her origins and also gives an even deeper meaning to the project.
A small atelier was established where the Indian women would weave the fabric using traditional methods. The fabrics are still being made in Paraquay today and some of the proceedings from the shoes are sent back to help these women. This very personal project of Mariela soon became an international success and the art-like footwear are now being sold in luxury retailers.