Tastemaker Profile: Caito Maia
Caito Maia - Founder of Chilli Beans
When it comes to fashion that expresses an attitude, rock musicians have become some of the most influential style icons. This rings true to former musician and entrepreneur, Caito Maia, who will tell you that rock and roll style is as classic as the music itself. It is from this connection between fashion and music that the Brazilian eyewear brand, Chilli Beans was born.
Since its launch nearly seventeen years ago, Chilli Beans has become the largest sunglass retailer in Latin America and has become known for their fun, bold and affordable styles. The brand is also recognized for their fast-fashion business model in which ten new original styles of sunglasses and accessories are released each week. Every three months Chilli Beans features a unique capsule collection made by collaborations with prestigious guest musicians and designers.
Perhaps one of Chilli Beans’ most important lines was the recently launched “Rock Fellas” collection that was devoted entirely to the rock'n'roll roots that the brand was founded upon. Inspired by The Ramones and Amy Winehouse, this special collection pays tribute to two rock legends who were both revolutionary in their music and style.
The Ramones line features an aviator frame with the band’s iconic logo reflected in the lens, and a watch with a face and dial that replicates a vinyl record. Throughout the product line you will find denim and leather details, both elements of the band’s style that became synonymous with the early punk and CBGB scene.
The Amy Winehouse collection was developed to pay homage to the late British star and to coincide with the release of her documentary. Opticals with a vintage cat-eye frame were developed to replicate the bold winged eyeliner that the singer became recognized for.
A true visionary with a unique approach to the classics, Caito Maia pays tribute to iconic figures by “telling their story.” We talked Chilli Beans with Caito Maia who gave his insight on rock icons, innovation in the accessories industry, and the unlikely story behind the brand’s name.
ROGUE: Chilli Beans past music collaborations have been inspired by some very influential figures in music and fashion. What is your design philosophy behind paying tribute to such huge cultural icons?
Every collection we do has a story behind it. At Chilli Beans we’re more than sunglass retailers, we are story tellers.
Can you tell us a bit about your musical background influence the Chilli Beans brand?
My father played piano, I studied music at Berklee and went on to play in Rock bands. Music was always a huge part of my life so when I started my company I wanted it to be totally part of the business.
And the designs?
Rock and roll was always very important to me. It was what I grew up listening to, what I played and was totally inspired by the fashion. Rock and roll style and sunglasses are both classic, cool looks, so I was inspired to do a collection.
What makes Chilli Beans standout among other accessories brands?
Music is everything at Chilli Beans. We have a fast-fashion model where we launch ten new, original styles each week and every three months we launch a unique capsule collection with a limited number of styles. The styles are are limited and we always come out with something new so it makes our pieces one of a kind.
Where did the name Chilli Beans come from?
I am totally addicted to peppers! I have a collection of more than 1000. I also wanted a name with 11 letters, I have some good energy that number. I love the confusion people get when they first hear the name. It makes them have to stop and think about it. When its too obvious people aren’t as curious.
What are some of your inspirations right now?
Tropicalia - a type of music from the 70s in Brazil, it’s very cool and very fashion. Also Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger and David Lynch.
If you could collaborate with or design glasses for anyone, who would it be?
David Bowie, that would be my dream!
What projects are in the works for the future?
We just got a licensing deal with the Beatles and I’m very excited about it. The collection launches in November!
Catch more on Caito Maia in Rogue's Debut out now and for more information on Chilli Beans visit www.chillibeans.com
Written by Alisha Wexler