I met Gonçalo in the club scene in Lisbon. Lisbon is a quite small city, you can tell it from the nightlife. There is only one really good nightclub, one after-party place and a lot of summer festivals. You eventually meet locals like me and Gonçalo if you are into nightclubs and good fun.
What I liked about gonçalo is that he is very real, what you see is what you get. He is not very into fashion but he has effortless style.
Nowadays you can catch him on a skateboard in the streets of Lisbon or working at one of my favourites stores in Lisbon, called +351.
I asked him to choose a few pieces from the Kenya collection for this interview, he did, and he walked and skated with them around the streets of Lisbon.
So, who is Gonçalo Vilardebó?
I’m 24-year-old guy, I was born in Oeiras, near Lisbon, but since I can remember I have been spending my weekends and holidays at Foz do Arelho, so I actually consider that I am from both places. I am a skater and surfer and for the past three years I have been studying Chinese Medicine.
What originally made you want to become a professional skater?
Since I was like seven years old I started Windsurfing. A few years later I started Surfing, and when I was ten I discovered Skate. I Skated and Surfed until I was 14. Then I realized that I was pretty good at Skating and my love for the sport was getting bigger and bigger every day. One day I woke up and realized skating came first, it was my greatest priority. That’s when I knew. After that I made it to a “professional” level in Portugal. Yes, I say “professional” because here in Portugal, unfortunately, it is basically impossible to make a living from Skating, so it is just a competition status.
What motivates you every day?
Hmm, what motivates me every day? To be honest I am not sure. Every day I have a different motivation, for example, some days it is to know that I am going to Skate. Other days it is Surf, and sometimes it is to know that I will see my friends, but in the end everything resumes to fun. Haha. And of course, there are those daily goals that when completed, make me feel a better person at the end of the day. I wanna learn, discover, grow and become a better person every day and that is a big motivation.
If you could have a super power what would it be?
I am that type of person that wants to be everywhere at the same time, but unfortunately, I can’t, so it would be definitely Tele-transportation.
Who or what has been the biggest single influence in your way of thinking?
A big influence on my way of thinking is definitely Skating.
Skating it’s a really demanding sport body-wise, but, it is even more challenging mentally. We are used to watch Skate videos where they only show the tricks that we succeed, but behind the scenes, there is so many failed tries. Sometimes we repeat the same trick for hours and even days, until we do it correctly, for this you really need a strong mind to keep up with the physical exhaustion and the persistence to do the same thing again and again…
Studying Chinese Medicine for three years and meditating every day really helped me growing psychologically.
With all this I really think I learned persistence and to be more patient to reach my goals, and mainly, I gained the ability to control my emotions, feelings and thoughts.
Who are the people that you trust the most in your life?
I think I never really thought about that, but when you ask there is in fact some people that pop into my head, my friends Duarte Gaivão, Manel Torres e Diogo Dabadie.
What would be a perfect day for you?
For me a perfect day would be waking up in wooden house in the middle of a forest, meditate for about an hour, then I would go to the beach with friends, have a few beers and Surf. After the beach, I would Skate for a few hours, a good dinner anywhere and to finish the day going to Lux Frágil, my favourite nightclub in Lisbon. Obviously in the end I would tele transport myself to the wooden house in the middle of the forest haha!
What is your favourite place in the world?
If I had to choose now it would be Indonesia, but to be honest I am not very demanding, I just need a sunny place where Surf and Skate is possible and I will be happy.
Luckily, I have been to many places and I can honestly say that Portugal is still one of my favourites places to live.
When you travel, what is the thing that can’t miss in your bag?
Clothes of course, but not too many! I need my Skate, shoes to Skate and shoes for my daily life (yes, because the skate shoes are always fu***d), a toothbrush (that I normally forget, so I always have to buy a new one), and to finish, something really important, a camera. I love taking pictures, and when I go somewhere new I feel like I have to capture every moment.
How important is fashion for you?
My connection with fashion happened very naturally and unconsciously. What we wear kind of reflects who we are, and without really noticing, when I started Skating I adopted the style of the others skaters. For example, at that time one of the things I would wear was a shoe lace as a belt, then from a blue jeans the black tight jeans came on.
Nowadays, yes. I can say I follow a bit more the trends. As I now work for the Portuguese brand +351, I like to keep my self up-to-date, this time in a more conscious way.
Name three things that are really important in your closet.
First of all, black and white. I am very basic in that matter: I don’t mind not wearing colors.
I wear T-Shirts a lot… And of course, jeans, black, brown or beige. I use shirts as well, but mainly short sleeve ones.
Gonçalo wears (by order):
Mkokoni Shirt in Black, Diani Short Sleeve Shirt in Grey, Navasha Short Sleeve Shirt, Kiwayu Shirt in Blue and Watamu Shirt in Grey.
Miguel Marques da Costa