ÉRIKA SANTOS: “I aim to use my voice more and more for causes that I believe in and to help people in need.”
In a world where high fashion can so often feel out of reach—and, at times, frivolous—Brazilian influencer and blogger Érika Santos uses fashion to spread important messages. You can think of her as a fashion diplomat.
Érika Santos, World Blogger Award Of the Year 2019 BEST BEAUTY INFLUENCER, Winner World Influencer Congress Award, Best Blogger of the Year 2019 Winner, Fashion Columnist, Correspondent, Content Creator, Omni Channel PR, a psychologist by training and specializes in consumer behavior and trends, began working as a creative and public relations consultant. Later, she became a trend forecaster for such major fashion brands as Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Adidas, and Nike, as well as São Paulo Fashion Week, among others.
Now, Santos has dipped her toes into pretty much every aspect of fashion, including branding, marketing, purchasing, franchising. Oh, and she’s also a champion of jiu-jitsu. Santos is dedicated to engaging people, not only through fashion, but also wellness, fitness, and other markets.
Tell please about your childhood and family.
I was a happy and funny child born and raised in Brazil. I have a big sister who is ten years older than me. I was always mature for my age because I was always with her and her friends. My dad was the light of my life and my mom struggled with what we now understand better as being bipolar, but at the time they were no medication or diagnosis for bipolar.
My mom was very, very strict and demanding, but she always showed her love to us, cooking and sewing mine and my sister’s clothes. When I was very little I would go to the store with my mother to choose my fabrics, colors, create my designs, choose bottoms, zippers and I was with her every step of the way. in that period we didn’t have stretch fabrics, but her pieces looked as if it was. She was absolutely talented.
I was always a curious child asking about the real story of people’s life. I remember when I saw a big building I always said to my Mom; every window of that building has a different story! At that time in Brazil, we used to play in the street between neighbors. It was safe and we had a lot of fun playing with balls, and games such as hide and seek. I have amazing memories of Brazil.
How did you start your career in fashion?
My career in fashion began with my mom sewing to me and turned into more than twenty years of fashion experience, from the very bottom as a salesperson until being the marketing director for international brands. I have worked in fashion since I was very young to support myself and to support my mom, who had an aneurysm when she was forty-nine years old. This left my mom paralyzed and in a wheelchair. I was eighteen years old when this happened. I take care of her with all my love since then, taking turns with my sister. She needs twenty-four hours of support to eat and uses diapers until today. This is one of my biggest fears, to let her down.
I have no doubt my psychologist’s formation gave me a tremendous understanding of the human being, relations and consumer insights and made me a better professional and human being working in the fashion industry.
How did you start blogging and sharing your stories about travel and fashion?
When I started my Instagram in late 2011, after many years as a marketing and retail director for international brands, I had no idea what adventure lay ahead for me. I wanted another way to communicate, to share … more than 10 years of research and travel in a new way, to share experiences—and, of course, have a lot of work but have fun too!
I reunited interested (and interesting) people around my Instagram. From there, I created the blog Érika Santos, so I went the opposite way. I expanded my communication platform to be closer and to be able to talk more deeply about each subject, experience, or new discovery.
You have won various awards, what do you think has been key to your success as a travel and fashion blogger?
I really think that real passion and hard work—with a strategy—lead you to always improve and gives you the ability to change. Flexibility and a capacity to adapt is important too, but definitely the key is people: The people around you and real relations that you keep for life.
Where do you see yourself and your personal brand in the upcoming years?
I aim to use my voice more and more for causes that I believe in and to help people in need.
How many Fashion Weeks have you attended?
I have been covering Fashion Weeks for all the seasons in Paris, London, and Milan since eight years ago! It has been such a journey! Every city has its own charm … and I am always so thrilled to see what’s happening every edition.
What do you love the most about Fashion Week? What keeps you coming back?
I’ve been a fashion correspondent for magazines such as L’OFFICIEL Brazil and write articles for my blog. And what I really love is discovering new designers and new brands. It’s all about the product—the product is the king—it’s not about the brand. Of course, branding and marketing are important, but if the product is not good, nothing can help it.
If you could meet one fashion designer, who would it be and why?
Alexander McQueen, but unfortunately he is not here with us anymore. So I can say John Galliano: For me, they are the two most creative people in this industry worldwide.
Do you have any advice for those who would like to get noticed in the fashion industry and start attending Fashion Week?
It’s all about the relationship with the [public relations] agencies of each brand, so contact them and introduce yourself. Once you have their approval, you have to do your best to attend the show and write an article with all your impressions about the inspiration, collection, and history behind it.
How do you prepare for fashion week?
There are a ton of logistics before each Fashion Week: Flights, transfers, hotels, SIM cards, drivers, visas, local money—then we have to prepare all the looks for each day, with all the details (makeup and hair) and RSVP to each show, presentation, event and dinner that week.
When you arrive in the city, you have fittings with the designers and brands that will dress you for their shows, receive the physical invitations and organize … closing contracts with the brands that are with me in all Fashion Weeks. There’s invoicing, and taking care of all details of the job, besides photoshoots and last-minute interviews or jobs that could happen.
What is happiness for you?
I think that true happiness comes from when you help someone. We always had pets in our family and they were really a part of our family, sleeping with us and being our loves. This helped my mom a lot with her condition and it is why I always have been involved in the support of animals, adoption. I volunteered and supported associations to help find homes for the animals and adopted many of them. I do this wherever I am. I can’t see an animal in the street and do nothing. I am totally emotional about that. I hope now that I moved to LA that I can find a serious association to continue my work with the animals.