For the last thirteen years, Flavia Amadeu has been researching, developing and producing high fashion products. But Amadeu’s products come with a truly unique factor: they are all made from a naturally occurring, colorful Amazon rubber.
Amadeu’s pioneering uses of Semi-Artifact Leaf (FSA) sit under an umbrella brand, Flavia Amadeu Sustainable Design. Working as a designer, researcher and social entrepreneur, Amadeu’s company produces sustainable product designs, consults on social responsibility and research projects, and works with educational design, sustainability and entrepreneurship projects. But driving Amadeu’s fame is Joias Orgânicas, or ‘Organic Jewelry’, and her work in the world of high fashion and couture.
In 2013, Amadeu found herself featured by Vogue, Elle and other international fashion publications after legendary designer Vivienne Westwood used FSA in a one-off garment. Worn by British model and actress Lily Cole at the 2013 Met Gala, Westwood’s creation was made entirely from Amadeu’s sustainable Amazonian rubber.
Among Amadeu’s jewelry products are the Miçanga necklace, a series of V-shaped strips which can be worn in a variety of different ways. There’s also an earring line, which incorporates rubber and surgical steel, stainless steel or aluminum. The Zig Zag bracelet is also popular, wrapping around the forearm of the wearer and made entirely of FSA.
It’s not just her designs that have generated high praise for her work. Amadeu’s focus on using 100 percent of the rubber she collects, without creating waste, have earnt her accolade among environmentalists, while her focus on communities and inclusion have helped her pursue business avenues which she had never previously imagined.
She doesn’t restrict herself to design studios; on the contrary, she spends a fair amount of time near her suppliers on the Amazon, working on community initiatives and projects in Acre and Pará. She also teaches handicraft techniques to local workers, and has earner herself impressive partnerships with organizations such as the University of Brasília (UnB) Chemical Technology Laboratory (Lateq), SOS Amazônia, WWF-Brasil and UN Women. Thanks to her approach, Amadeu is currently Brazil’s top producer of colored rubber.
In 2016, her collaboration with artist Cristiane Dias, mixing ceramics and rubber, earned her a prize in the Brazilian Object Designer competition at the Casa de São Paulo Museum. She was also selected for the Amazon Challenge - Businesses for the Standing Forest award, administered by Natura and Artemisia.
And the designer’s success is clearly not limited to a Brazilian audience. She hopes to exhibit some of her works in London soon and hopes to crack into the US market soon, but in the meantime, has racked up an impressive list of international clients, selling to clients in Germany, Australia and the UK.