World Footwear


Fortunato Frederico honoured in Italy

Oct 2, 2023 Portugal
Fortunato Frederico honoured in Italy
The Portuguese entrepreneur, who founded Kyaia in 1984, one of the largest footwear companies in the country, was honoured at the last UITIC Congress for his career in the industry
At the age of 14, he was sweeping factory floors. Today, he is one of the most renowned entrepreneurs in the footwear industry at an international level. “This is a public recognition of a truly inspiring entrepreneur”, considers Luís Onofre, speaking of Fortunato Frederico’s “unique journey”. “He demonstrated from an early age an unusual ability to understand our industry, investing in critical areas such as brand creation or R&D, with a strong link to the university”, recalled the President of APICCAPS.

At the age of 80, Fortunato Frederico is still dreaming. A dream that was born in Angola, during his military service and resulted in the creation of Kyaia in 1984, which would grow to become the largest Portuguese footwear group, with factories in Guimarães and Paredes de Coura, and which continues to make a name for itself in foreign markets.

Fortunato Frederico shows no signs of slowing down. He recently renewed his ambition to make “Fly London the number-one brand in Portugal”. Currently, the brands of the group, Fly London and Softinos, are commercialised in more than 50 countries; the same path is being followed by AsPortuguesas, an innovative and sustainable project that was born from a partnership with the company Corticeira Amorim and entrepreneur Pedro Abrantes.

Innovation is in Fortunato Frederico's DNA. This spirit led him to become the forerunner in a peculiar process of relocation. Instead of opting for a perhaps distant foreign country, with abundant and cheap labour, he chose to relocate to the interior of Portugal, creating hundreds of jobs in Paredes de Coura. More recently, after being one of the first national brands to enter the metaverse in the first semester of last year, with four mini-games and a store in the Roblox platform, Fly London is surprising once again with a new promotional campaign developed using artificial intelligence (AI).

At the association level, he was also President of APICCAPS for 18 years, during a period of strong competitive development for the Portuguese footwear industry in international markets. In addition, for a shorter period of six years, Frederico led the Confederation of the European Footwear Industry (CEC).

His contribution to society is also undeniable, with emphasis on the creation of the Oliveira Frederico Foundation, which aims to “carry out, promote, support and sponsor actions to combat the bipolar disorder”; traditionally known as manic-depressive illness, it’s a psychiatric illness characterised by marked mood swings, with repeated bouts of depression.

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Related Organizations

  • APIC - Portuguese Leather Industry Association

    APIC - Portuguese Leather Industry Association

  • CTIC – Portuguese Leather Technology Centre

    CTIC – Portuguese Leather Technology Centre

  • CFPIC - Academy of Design and Footwear

    CFPIC - Academy of Design and Footwear

  • CTCP - Portuguese Footwear Technological Centre

    CTCP - Portuguese Footwear Technological Centre