The Flagship boutique in Rockefeller Center is the vision of founder, Armando Cabral, brought to life.
If you have been to the newly remained Rockefeller Center recently, you may have noticed a new shop on the block, ARMANDO CABRAL Mercado. A new Afro-centric retail experience in Rockefeller Center, 70 West 50th Street is the newly minted flagship boutique and encapsulation of founder, model and designer, Armando Cabral’s vision for a unique brick and mortar extension of his namesake luxury brand, located in the heart of Manhattan.
“When we re-launched last year, I knew we had to find a way to bring the brand concept to life in a dedicated space. Everything I create has a high touch and feel quotient. It is made to be experienced in person,” explains Cabral, Founder and Creative Director of ARMANDO CABRAL. “However, I didn’t want to open a shoe store because the brand is so much more than footwear.
The ARMANDO CABRAL Mercado is reflective of Cabral’s brand with an added marketplace concept integrated into his core offerings. The Mercado is inviting emerging and advanced African designers to participate in dedicated pop-up shops over the lifespan of the experience. These pop-ups will give added breadth to ARMANDO CABRAL’s core footwear, leather accessory and jewelry collections while providing increased exposure and opportunities for African designers to engage with consumers.
“Mercado will be a unique space that offers the city something it does not currently have: a tangible connection with African designers, fine artists and creative talent that haven’t been as visible in the US until now. The Mercado gives New Yorkers and visitors a window into the world of African art, fashion design and its beauty. Equally important, is giving African creatives an amplified voice here in New York.”
The space itself is also an experiential innovation. Created by Armando and friends, the interior reflects creativity and flexibility. At the center is a bright sculpture modeled after Cabral’s own head, used to showcase the ARMANDO CABRAL Footwear Collection.
Cabral’s own story is as unique and global as the Mercado he is opening. Born in Guinea-Bissau, he grew up in Portugal and sought his education in London. At University, he was recruited and started his modeling career, traveling the world and eventually settling in New York and starting his own footwear brand in 2008. The Mercado is a clear reflection of Armando’s love of travel, experiences as a citizen of the world, and a celebration of his own African heritage.
The pop-up shops are curated by Cabral and have brought African luxury into the space, seamlessly integrating with his own brand.
“This partnership represents not only a unique experience for everyone who visits our store, it also represents a breakthrough in fashion retail with a completely Afro-centric luxury artistic space and boutique,” explains Cabral, who worked with Afreximbank to secure support for some of the designers participating in the ARMANDO CABRAL Mercado pop-up experiences.
Designers and artists on the roster for the ARMANDO CABRAL Mercado currently include Art Comes First, Labrum London and MaXhosa Africa. As recently as last week, the brand celebrated the refreshed designer offerings with a high-energy event in the shop itself. Attended by brand fans, followers and new visitors alike, it was a moment not to be missed.