Lisa Furtado: designer & author
There is a moment in life when you realize what you want to do for a living. Lisa Furtado discovered her passion for clothes when she was young. She thinks that fashion could be really powerful to show people’s personality.
She created Farrah Furtado Couture, where she is specialized in wedding dresses, prom dresses and cocktail dresses.
But she is also an author. She wrote “Her Apparitions & Other Human Longings” to learn more about her and the world.
In a conversation with The Outsider Argentina she spoke about Farrah Furtado Couture’s starts, her newest novel and her inspiration in real stories.
How did your interesting in fashion begin?
When I was a young teenager and old enough to choose what I wanted to wear and I discovered that fashion was a powerful way to gain attention and transmit my personality. Madonna also inspired me to experiment with fashion. I started designing clothing at a young age. I would design my clothing for different parties, raves, my prom, even for Christmas mass. My godmother is an amazing seamstress and she would help me execute my design ideas. I came from a Portuguese, Roman Catholic home and my mom was quite strict when I was a kid. However, with the clothing I chose to wear I had a lot of freedom. When I was still living at home, I designed this super tight long, red velvet gown to wear for Christmas mass. It had cut open shoulders and a long slit up the front of the leg. Little did my parents know my boyfriend and I had to jump in the sack before mass because I looked hot in that dress, my boyfriend at the time alleged.
How did you come up with the idea of making “Farrah Furtado Couture”?
Farrah Furtado Couture evolved into a business by accident. My intention initially was to find the ultimate tailor for myself while living in Taiwan. In Asia size zero is the norm for women. I am definitely not that, nor are most women! So, I was on the search for a tailor to accommodate my needs while living in Asia and to implement my clothing design ideas. I moved to Taipei in 2002 for a teaching job, traveled a lot and in the meantime searched for the best tailors I could find. I searched and experimented with different tailors in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, and finally found the most amazing high quality, yet affordably priced tailors in Shanghai who would be able to carry out my designs for me. Once my friend got into a pickle where her wedding dress, which she ordered from a local shop, turned out to be her worst nightmare, so she asked me who my tailor was. My tailor designed her new custom wedding gown and it turned out much better than she imagined and since then I have been receiving word of mouth clients without advertising. It is very rewarding for me to see how happy brides are wearing our gowns. I am so happy and honored to be a part of the happiest day of their life! I love to exceed their expectations and I will do anything to bring their vision perfectly into life. I get emotionally involved with each bride. I think about them all day and care very deeply about each one of their custom designs. I have been in business since 2007. I started from scratch in my apartment in Victoria, Canada and used my credit cards to start it up. Now we have sales offices based in Taiwan, Boston, USA and PEI Canada.
Why did you choose the name of “Farrah”? What does it mean for you?
Farrah was chosen by my parents to be my name but my mom decided to use Lisa instead at the last minute. Also, the name, Farrah means joy & happiness and I think this name conveys what we do at Farrah Furtado Couture.
What kind of cloth do you make?
We specialize in custom made wedding gowns and also design custom evening wear, prom dresses and cocktail dresses according to each client’s preferences.
What can you tell us about your debut novel “Her Apparitions & Other Human Longings”?
I wrote Her Apparitions & Other Human Longings during a trying time in my life where I desperately wanted to understand the meaning of life on a deeper level. While I wrote that book I learned so much about myself and the supernatural world. I write about things I want to learn more about. When I write, I learn. Fatima the main character is an American, Portuguese teenager who has totally given up on life. She gave up on the so called, “American Dream” due to the decaying morals she witnesses coming from her family and those around her. To break away from her hopelessness she decides to go on this wild, back packing adventure throughout South East Asia to escape her responsibilities’ and takes the path of self exploration, spirituality and hedonism at the same time. Fatima gets into a lot of trouble and ends up living in a mental institution for a year in Saigon. However, she comes out the other end a much stronger, peaceful and happier woman. Just like in the legend about the phoenix, Fatima rises from the ashes.
What does writing mean in your life?
Writing for me is the ultimate escape and perfect form of expression. I lose all sense of time and space when I am in the zone. When I can sit down for 8 – 10 hours straight at my desk and write, that’s a very good day for me. However, this doesn’t happen enough because Farrah Furtado Couture is expanding and we’re getting busier each month.
Which is the source of your inspiration when you write?
My source of inspiration comes from true events, things I’ve experienced through travel and meeting lots of different people. I have been living in Taiwan for over 12 years and the people you meet here are colorful characters to say the least. I also enjoy writing about tragedy and strong female characters and family drama. The book, which follows the screenplay I wrote, Pop- Rock -Cop, is based on a true story. It’s about the youngest female police officer in Ontario, Canada and she is also an International, pop rock singing sensation. She went through the most terrible tragedy but because of her will, morals and the love and the support from her family and friends she got through it. Therefore, strong females and inspirational allegories move me to write. The moral of the story in the movie and book, Pop- Rock- Cop is “When you stop dreaming you die.” which I think is a powerful metaphor for life.
Amazon Book Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1425189466
Farrah Furtado Couture Fan Page: www.facebook.com/FarrahFurtado