Paloma-Nelson was born in El Salvador, to a family of shoemakers. After moving to Carmel, CA when they relocated in her teens, she earned a business degree at UC San Diego before enrolling in the Academy’s graduate Merchandising program.
A photo posted by Cristina Palomo Nelson (@crispalomonelson) on
Paloma-Nelson’s talents were quickly recognized by Simon Ungless, Executive Director of the School of Fashion and Sharon Murphy, Graduate Director of Merchandising. They recommended her to Papay, who at the time was the fashion director for Anyi Lu shoes. Christina joined the company as an associate designer and the two women worked closely together until Papay left to care for her baby daughter. But the two obviously clicked, joining forces to create Freda Salvador in 2011.
The business has since grown in both revenue and recognition, gaining attention from celebrities including Gigi Hadid, Taylor Swift, Olivia Palermo, Jessica Alba, and Kristen Stewart.
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The San Francisco based shop has evolved, too, moving from its initial Union Street location to Fillmore Street in 2015, and opening all new Los Angeles based pop-up with hat and bag maker Janessa Leone this April. The pop-up in LA is soon to become a permanent destination.
Murphy recalls that Palomo-Nelson and Papay granted them permission to sell their shoes when the Academy of Art University’s first Pop-Up store, later to morph into SHOP657, opened at the 2014 Spring Show. “They allowed us to carry inventory on consignment, which was very nice of them,’’ Murphy added.
Meanwhile, the talented duo is hard at work in Papay’s backyard shed in Sausalito, dreaming up even bigger plans to build on their impressive track record. Riding a wave of commercial success, Freda Salvador is launching a new capsule collection with San Francisco artist Clare Rojas. They plan to enhance their already thriving e-commerce and social media presence in the coming year and are turning their vintage trailer, Diego, into a traveling shop and showroom.
We congratulate Christina and Megan for putting San Francisco shoe wear on the map!