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Updated: Mar 13

Above image reference: Douro River

Discover the enchanting allure of Porto, Portugal, with us as Romaria embarks on a journey of global expansion, weaving its South African roots into the fabric of European design. In this guide - our first - we invite you to experience Porto not merely as a destination, but as a lifestyle - a harmonious fusion of culture, art, and style that mirrors the essence of our brand.

Join us as we traverse the cobbled streets, savour the culinary delights, and immerse ourselves in the rich heritage of Porto, a city that resonates with Romaria's commitment to beauty and timeless craftsmanship. This guide is our way of sharing this exciting new chapter with you, our loyal friends, and the fashion community we may not have met, inviting you to be a part of our journey as we step into new territories.





On a recent visit to Porto - the legendary ‘Invicta’ of Europe — Romaria co-founders Zydia Botes and Carla Pinto reconnect with their roots.

Carla Pinto and Zydia Botes, the founders of Romaria, are weaving together a tapestry of design that beautifully marries their South African heritage with the rich cultural landscape of Porto, Portugal. As they embark on a journey of global expansion, they are reconnecting to their roots and celebrating the intersections of two continents through their latest knitwear pieces — the Oversized Porto Wrap and Porto Cropped Cardi.

Designed in collaboration with Lisbon-local Mariana Albuquerque of Obvius Design, the pieces are inspired by Porto's allure, hand-painted, patterned tiles and cobbled streets.

“I am often moved by the difference between South Africa’s and Portuguese culture,” says Romaria co- founder Carla Pinto. “I see bold and happy versus discreet and nostalgic. So when we launched Romaria that fusion of cultures, traditions and heritages couldn’t be more organic, it automatically became part of our DNA.”

Zydia, a resident of Johannesburg, brought her South African heritage into the mix. The vibrant patterns and colors of African architecture and art were her touchstone. As she journeyed to Europe, she found herself entwined with Carla's heritage, recognising the striking similarities between Porto's tilework and the patterns of home.

Together, they envisioned a new collection that would integrate the best of both worlds, connecting Africa and Europe in a tapestry of fashion and design. After so many collections, they want each piece to tell a meaningful story, moving away from fast-fashion’s throwaway culture by bringing together South African heritage with European elements to create a refined cultural exchange and celebration of the unity of two continents.

Romaria's recent expansion into European markets is not just about geographic reach; it's a journey of rediscovery and reinterpretation, a testament to the power of design to transcend boundaries and bring the world closer together.

They hope to prove that fashion can be a unifying force, connecting continents, and celebrating the beauty of diversity.

Romaria’s co-founders, Carla Pinto (left) and Zydia Botes (right), captured in Lisbon by Georgina Abreu


Above image reference: Ribeira


Design Notes




Meet The Oversized Porto Wrap — the lovechild of Portuguese pattern paired with contemporary African colours and forms


Meet The Porto Cropped Cardi and the Sleeveless Deco Dress - inspired by Porto's allure, hand-painted, patterned tiles and cobbled streets.


Handmade ceramic buttons by Cape Town based ceramicist, Lichen & Leaf

Carla captured at São Bento Train Station, Porto, by Joana Cordeiro Ferreira




Meet Mariana Albuquerque of Obvius Design

Born and raised in Portugal, Mariana has successfully run her own Graphic Design and Events Studio – Obvius Design, for the last 13 years in Lisbon. She has been collaborating with Romaria since the beginning of the brand, developing incredibly beautiful patterns for us. Our first Long Kimono, a bestseller which we still have in our collection, was a co-creation with Mariana. It has been an absolute pleasure to have Mariana as part of our Romaria tribe, a super talented designer, and a very good friend who just happens to be a huge fan of Romaria — the best sort of friend!


Photography Credits: Joana Cordeiro Ferreira

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