Caito Maia of Chilli Beans talks eyewear and rock icons
The collection with Swarovski is one of the most important we’ve launched: there are about eighty models, including sunglasses, prescription glasses and watches for men and women. Each piece embodies the essence of both brands—Chilli Beans’ musicality and Swarovski’s glamour, with crystals used in ways that range from a subtle sparkle to a daring dazzle.
I started out in 1998 with a wholesale business. When my biggest buyer didn’t pay, I went bust. That was a difficult time, but I picked myself up and created my own brand, Chilli Beans, which taught me a valuable lesson: never give up. I began with a small stand at Mundo Mix Market, which is a fashion fair for young people in São Paulo; the idea was to sell high-quality, trend-focused, affordable sunglasses, and it was an amazing success.
Ours is a ‘fast fashion’ model. We launch an average of forty designs a month in a wide range of colors and prints, because we believe that fashion-lovers should have a choice of sunglasses every day—something to suit their mood, look, and, of course, the weather.
I’m not only a fan of sunglasses—I have a collection of around 200 watches. My favorite is a skull design by Alexandre Herchcovitch for Chilli Beans. I also love the styles from the Seventies.
Rock musicians are my eyewear icons. Sunglasses are a symbol of rock-‘n’-roll cool—can you imagine Ozzy Osbourne, John Lennon or Lenny Kravitz without them? Impossible. I’d love to design a pair for Bowie—he’s a music, fashion and culture icon, so there’s an open invitation for him to do anything he wants at Chilli Beans!