The Women of Aldeco Interior Fabrics

Step into the beautiful world of Aldeco Interior Fabrics in LH’s The Women of …, a series dedicated to sharing the stories of women behind brands they have dreamt of, founded, and built. These are the women who bring companies to life—women who are living, working, creating, inspiring, raising families, and more. Join us as we delve into the minds and worlds of these women to share their empowering and uplifting thoughts and stories. Up now, Susana and Magda Dias and The Women (and men) of Aldeco!

Aldeco, a Portugal-based textile brand, designs and sells a variety of fabrics for a range of decor and interior design needs. Their original collections draw from cultural heritage and inspiration with distinctive, fashionable patterns.

With multiple showrooms in cities such as Madrid, Lisbon, and more, Aldeco has distribution in over 60 countries. The company was started by Alberto Dias in 1993. The founder was joined by his daughters, Susana and Magda, who carry on with the family business today.

Susana Dias, passionate about art and fashion and all things beautiful, started working at Aldeco in her early 20s after developing her studies in the 5th Architecture and Design School of Arts. In 1999, the brand presented its first original collection developed by Susana Dias as Textile Editor. Today, she is the Brand and Creative Director of the internationally recognized company among the biggest players in the textile world.

Meet The Women (and men) of Aldeco

Susana Dias

CEO, Brand & Creative Director

Susana Dias creative director of Aldeco
Photo by Paulo Carvalho

When did your love affair with textiles begin? And how did it make you feel?

Since I was a little girl, I have admired architectural elements and home interiors. In my imagination, I had already defined my ideals of “home” and “interior design.” Over the years, this sense of beauty and aesthetics developed in me, and I knew it would be my professional path to follow. As a student, I always followed the areas of art and design and, later, sculpture and architecture. With the knowledge and tools I’ve acquired, it was in the textile world, more specifically in textile design, that I seized my opportunity to develop the fashion design component with the creation of the first major Portuguese brand of decoration fabrics—Aldeco.

Tell us a bit about your path at Aldeco.

It has been a great challenge to nurture and develop this great brand with my sister Magda by my side as the operations manager. 

My father, Alberto Dias, was a very important role model for me. He already had a very important role in the interior fabrics industry, where he established himself and worked his whole life. I grew up admiring him as a professional. My mother supported us very much also as a woman with a great sensitivity for style and family. Aldeco was then the logical and natural path for me. It has been a great challenge to nurture and develop this great brand with my sister Magda by my side as the operations manager. 

Do you recall any critical turning point when you realized your business was succeeding?

An important turning point for us was, for sure, our first Maison et Object Paris in 2005. It was very important to be recognized as a textile editor among other top players in the sector. Maison et Object Paris was an essential mark for textile editors. It is the start of the season in terms of launching collections for fashion, design, and home interiors. To be selected and accepted to be included in such an exclusive group was a big deal for us. Since then, international clients have become more aware of our brand identity, and nowadays, they seek Aldeco for our quality, exclusivity, and creativity. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

Aldeco has grown immensely as a brand for the world. We have international distribution in over 60 countries and exclusive showrooms in Madrid, Oporto, Lisbon, and Vilamoura in Algarve. Aldeco is internationally recognized as a synonym of quality and high-end fabrics. To achieve this recognition among other top brands is very important for us. Nowadays customers look for our fabrics. Our brand is prescribed for the biggest international projects by established names in the industry and contract segment.

Who has contributed most to your success? 

My father, Mr. Alberto Dias, influenced me immensely on a professional and ethical level and, therefore, my stance and way of acting as a brand director. My sister and I owe him dearly. His posture is to this day, a symbol of rectitude and seriousness. We value all our human resources equally, as they are an integral part of our continued success. Every member of our team has an important role in our company. 

What surprised you most about growing a business?

One of the things that surprised us most about growing a business is the continuous need for change and adaptation. Even with solid planning and constant attention to all variants, unexpected challenges and opportunities always arise. This requires flexibility and creativity to achieve our goals. Though we apply creativity to our collections, we also must apply it to the management of the business. We must find new solutions and think outside the box.

Tell us about your most demanding client. What was the experience, and what did you learn from it?

All clients and projects have specificities and can present us with challenges, whether on a technical level or meeting deadlines, for example. If we build a close relationship with the customer, the process will flow better, and solutions to any issues that may arise will be easier to find.

Sometimes, we must develop colors and designs while respecting technical challenges that are presented to us within very short deadlines. The processes, especially when developing a custom request, are complex. They do not depend exclusively on us. Some variables are difficult to control and require the utmost rigor and attention to detail from us to achieve success. Color, for example, is a challenge. The alkalinity and temperature of the water are small factors that can have a huge influence on the final result. Experience has taught us that we must, above all, establish a close and honest relationship with the client.

How do you handle negative feedback or criticism of your work?

Empathy is a very valuable characteristic in all areas of business, especially fashion and design.

Every feedback or critique is a chance to grow and learn. We cannot take anything for granted, and the world, especially in fashion, constantly evolves, so it’s important to be humble in the face of different views and experiences. I always seek to see myself in others’ place. Empathy is a very valuable characteristic in all areas of business, especially fashion and design.

If you could have done something different, what would it be?

Positive issues are important for our learning process. They contribute to our experience. Our path at Aldeco has been one of stable growth. We earn our space in the market through serious work and providing the best service to our customers, ensuring complete satisfaction. I am very proud of my journey as a professional, as well as the evolution of the company. I wouldn’t do anything different. The road we’ve followed has been very important, and I believe more greatness awaits us all at Aldeco.

What helps you move forward with your business despite the inevitable struggles?

My way of life both personally and professionally is always with positivity and optimism. This is how I define myself, as an enterprising person who always seeks solutions for each challenge. I don’t hold on to problems; I always look for the solution. Professionalism and seriousness are aspects that distinguish me in business.

I see Aldeco as a legacy that I intend to nurture and watch grow successfully as an identity. All the challenges we overcome give us energy and motivation to continue moving forward and fight for this goal. The difficulties that may arise don’t scare me; they just motivate me to be better. I love challenges, and I love developing collections.

This is how I envision my future. As Creative Director, it is imperative to know how to manage the many styles, always preserving aesthetic and corporate identity.

Susana Dias of Aldeco

Who is Susana Dias, The Woman of Aldeco?

I am a creative, optimistic and sensitive person. I love my family, friends and my Aldeco family. Art, Music and dancing are also important elements in my life that I live with profound joy. I love meeting new people and I travel regularly, and I am a person who is very attentive to the smallest detail, absorbing all the information that surrounds me in a very visual way. My creative work is a result of my personal experiences and deep knowledge of the textile industry where I always introduce a special twist. I love what I do with an immense passion for fabrics, art and fashion.

When women invest in other women, we all rise together. Do you have any specific thoughts you would like to share about your team?

Fortunately, I am surrounded by very dedicated professionals. A happy team is the secret to a successful company. I couldn’t help but mention my sister Magda Dias, who complements me on this great adventure called Aldeco.

Magda is a rock for me, always stable and present. She helps guide the company’s operations, always attentive to every detail. We make a perfect team. We have excellent professionals in the departments who contribute immensely to the company’s success.

Of course, as creative and brand director, I have a very close relationship with the company’s design and marketing department. I work directly with very committed and responsible people such as Joaquim Sousa, Tânia Monteiro, Cátia Abreu, and Mafalda Ferreira. (Read on to meet them below!)

Magda and Susana Dias at Aldeco showroom
Magda and Susana Dias at Aldeco

What pieces of advice would you give to someone starting their career in textiles?

  1. First of all, Loving the sector is undoubtedly the most important thing! To be in the textile industry, you have to like texture, color, and design. Feel the touch of the fabrics and appreciate each fiber, each thread that slides through our fingers. There are higher education schools in Italy and other countries that can teach you the technique. But if there is no passion and sensitivity, the rest will never be enough. 
  2. Second, it is crucial to become familiar with the entire textile production process, from selecting the best raw materials to manufacturing techniques and fabric development. Knowledge is power. Always keep up to date with industry trends. The textile sector is constantly evolving, with new technologies, materials, and consumer preferences shaping the market. Stay informed about the latest trends and sustainability practices to be competitive. 
  3. Last but not least, it is important to build a network of contacts—it is crucial in any sector. Participate in sector events such as trade shows, meet good professionals, and build good supply chains. Select your partners wisely in the industry. Being passionate about the textile world and surrounding yourself with other professionals who are driven by the same goals and professional ethics is a big step for a successful company.

Do you have any mottos you like to live by? Or favorite empowering quotes?

“Beauty is being the best possible version of yourself, inside and out.”

Audrey Hepburn

A personality I admire greatly is the iconic actress Audrey Hepburn. The first time I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s it had a huge impact on me. Audrey Hepburn represents the ideal Aldeco: sensitive, romantic, human, luxurious, light, and cheerful. With presence and endowed with a timeless elegance. These aspects characterize Andrey Hepburn and everything she represents. It contains the care that Aldeco takes in everything it does, the attention it gives to the client, to what they feel and need. It contains the conviction that beauty lies in the details.

This quote is very representative of Aldeco’s DNA. I search for perfection in every sphere of my life and every action I take personally and professionally. I live with this motto in mind. Every challenge I face I embrace with a very positive attitude, and I transmit that same energy to everyone surrounding me.

Another great influence is the irreverence of Iris Apfel. For the often unthinkable mix of colors and materials with limitless creativity and an unmatched attitude. Iris Apfel was a reference not only as a businesswoman but also as an interior designer and fashion icon.

What’s next for Susana Dias and Aldeco?

Nowadays, what’s “In” is environmental awareness. It is an increasingly discussed topic in the fashion and textiles sector. For this reason, we are investing in more ecological collections with recycled fibers and easy maintenance. On an aesthetic level, in my opinion, trends are fluid. I’ll keep on being faithful to myself and to what I believe is the way to go for Aldeco.

Aldeco is becoming increasingly internationally respected as a company and as a brand, largely due to its conceptual commitment. I’m very passionate about what I do, and I feel that the challenge of creating new collections is an achievement that has no limits!

Our goal is to grow and successfully prevail. We want to be global without forgetting our identity and professionalism that makes us unique. Feeling that the mission of creating our fabrics is fulfilled when seeing them in our clients’ projects is very rewarding! One project I still have in store is the development of a prêt-à-porter exclusive line with my signature, consisting of clothing and accessories. As a fashion lover, it is a dream of mine that one day I intend to follow.

Magda Dias

CEO & Operations Manager

Magda Dias operations manager of Aldeco

A team member since 2001, Magda has a degree in Law from Universidade Portucalense and completed several training courses in the area of management and corporate business. For her, Aldeco is much more than a business or a brand. It is a family and a true passion since day one. To live “Aldeco” is to combine a beautiful dream and experience with innovation and progress. Magda believes in keeping the roots alive and pursuing new horizons.

Joaquim Sousa

Design & Marketing Manager

Joaquim Sousa of Aldeco

Joaquim holds a bachelor’s degree in equipment design from ESAD—Escola Superior de Artes e Design—and training in visual arts. He has acquired experience on the Board of Directors and in the design studio of several international brands. After constantly looking for new challenges, he embraced a new position at Aldeco in 2023.

Tânia Monteiro

Design Department

Tânia Monteiro of Aldeco

Tânia graduated from the Faculdade de Belas Artes of the University of Porto in communication design, and graphic arts. She followed her path at Aldeco with training in textile design, social media, and digital marketing areas. She has been part of the Aldeco design team since 2017.

Cátia Ferreira Abreu

Marketing Department

Cátia Ferreira Abreu of Aldeco

Born on the island of Madeira, Cátia graduated with a degree in Organizational Communication in the field of Marketing Communication. She joined the Aldeco Marketing Team in 2022.

Mafalda Ferreira

Design Department

Mafalda has been part of the Aldeco creative team since 2023 after completing her degree in Fashion Design at ESAD—Escola Superior de Artes e Design and Arts and Graphic Industries.

Explore more Aldeco!

Curation by Anna Beck, Introduction & Copyediting by Bridget Kitson
All Photos Courtesy of Aldeco

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