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  • Kianna Leaa

Meet The Brazilian Philosopher Who Became a Florentine Artisan

Priscila Lira, founder and designer of SAMBA ARTIGIANALE

SAMBA ARTIGIANALE, artigianale bags, Florence artisans, Italian artisans
Kianna Leaa with SAMBA ARTIGIANALE crossbody

"From my point of view, the more you embrace yourself, the more you defy the convention. I bring a lot of my personality into my decisions and I run away from being accepted by the people around me."

Priscila Lira, Founder of SAMBA ARTIGIANALE

There are many ways to defy the convention, such as breaking the Guinness World Records, achieving a Nobel Prize or in the case of Michael Jordan becoming one of the greatest basketball player's of all time despite not making his high school basketball team. When I think about someone I personally know, who has defied the convention, I immediately think about my most extraordinary neighbour, best friend and soul sister (born on the exact same day as me), Priscila Lira. The Brazilian born Florentine Artisan has proven more than once what it means to defy the convention.

SAMBA ARTIGIANALE, rio mini bag, Florence artisans

Priscila Lira was born in the rainforest of the Brazilian Amazon, in one of the most remote villages in South America. Despite being isolated from the outside world, from a very young age, Priscila developed a passion for exploration and a true sense of adventure. Her deep curiosity to discover and grow led her to pursing a degree in philosophy in Belém, one of the capitals of Amazon region. Followed by a master degree in literature in Belém and Rio de Janeiro University. Her advanced education in this field and certifications, led her not only to further expand her mind but also contributed to her personal growth and development. Along the way, she interacted with inquisitive individuals from all different backgrounds, learning about their stories and experiences, all while ambitiously succeeding as a philosophy teacher in Brazil.

For someone as determined, ambitious and curious as Priscila, taking on various challenges was second nature to her. Yet after several years of teaching, Priscila felt as though she hit the glass ceiling. What once energized her, eventually seemed to cause her deep unhappiness. She lost her confidence and passion at work and her direction. Deep down in her heart, something felt very wrong. And she knew she needed to fix this. The question was, how?

Although there was much confusion and uncertainty about the obstacles she faced, deep down in her heart Priscila somehow believed she would find a way to bounce back -because through every hardship lies a blessing in disguise.

After having mourned the difficulties of her personal struggles and uncertainties about life, Priscila had the luxury to reflect and realign her personal and professional objectives. During this moment in time, she met love, Hugo, who encouraged her to join him on his travels around the world (India, France, Italy...) Through her travels, Priscila was inspired by the cultures she immersed herself into and fashion. Her creative mind ran and this eventually prompted her to join an artisanal course in non other than Florence, Italy at the Scuola del Cuoio. There she developed a true love for crafting handbags, which propelled her to launch her own brand SAMBA ARTIGIANALE.

In the midst of the Covid Crisis in 2020, defying all odds, the Brazilian Amazonian Philosophy teacher founded SAMBA ARTIGIANALE.

KL: How do your Brazilian roots influence you in your artigianale work today?

PL: There are a lot of my Brazilian roots in my work with SAMBA ARTIGIANALE. My creations are inspired by music and by the senses of Brazil -sights, sounds, feelings and flavours from my homeland are infused into my designs. At my studio SAMBA ARTIGIANALE, located in the heart of Florence, I create handmade leather bags that combine the Tuscan craftsmanship tradition with the joyful Brazilian energy and spirit. A contemporary, bright and joyful design that fills the life of my clients with rhythm and style.

KL: Where do you gain inspiration to create and innovate for your brand?

Priscila, founder of SAMBA ARTIGIANALE  in her leather workshop
Priscila in the SAMBA ARTIGIANALE workshop in Santo Spirito, Florence

PL: I have memories from my childhood in the Amazon that are like dreams to me. My creations are inspired by the nature of my homeland. Leaves, animals and exotic perfumes populate the universe of SAMBA ARTIGIANALE. At the same time, having my studio in Florence gives me the opportunity to collaborate with international and local artists and independent designers to create unique bags.

KL: What is something about you that most people do not know?

PL: I love mistakes. In a perfectionist world, mistakes can be interpreted very badly. I believe that mistakes are an important part of my projects. They are like steps that lead me closer to the final version of a design or to the development of a better version of myself.

KL: What makes your heart sing?

PL: I am passionate about music. I need a daily dose of Brazilian bossa nova and samba. After 5 years living abroad, music is a good way to keep me connected to my culture. At my studio in Florence, slow fashion, careful craftsmanship and some background Samba music create the perfect scenario for the birth of a one of a kind bag.

KL: What does DEFYING THE CONVENTION mean to you?

PL: When we follow in the footsteps of those around us, there is no space for innovation. From my point of view, the more you embrace yourself, the more you defy the convention. I bring a lot of my personality into my decisions and I run away from being accepted by the people around me. Defying the convention means to express my personality while being conscious that each individual around me is unique.

I have been extremely excited to write this article. From the moment I met and got to know Priscila, she has been a true inspiration to me for her achievements but most of all for her distinct personality and character. Not only is her career path one to highlight but also her ability to support her good friends and fellow artisans around her. Her genuineness, selflessness and humbleness are just some of the many qualities she has -along with her positive outlook on life. I have been extremely fortunate and humble to have been one of those friends who has had her undivided support from day one.

As someone who has lived in Italy for 3.5 years, I can attest that making your mark in a new environment can be extremely challenging. Especially when the language and culture are drastically different than what you are used to. In the case of Priscila, her experience around the world gave her the right tools to confront the many challenges she faced in her life. Despite the difficulties she endured, she confronted these hurdles with such grace, positivity and passion. So much so, that today she is constantly asked to collaborate with unique designers in various fields, to speak to university students about her brand and story. I could not be more proud of her for her achievements and to call her my best friend!

For more, visit Priscila's

Bahia mini in coffee, SAMBA ARTIGIANALE & Gucci Lion ring

Special thanks to Priscila Lira for the beautiful photoshoot :)


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