Level Shoe District, Jimmy Choo and others awarded at The Footwear News Achievement Awards 2014
Stepping it up
The 2014 Footwear News Achievement Awards expands to all corners of the market to give a clear indication of the direction of the shoe industry this year. "At a time when the lines between fashion and athletic are blurring, and retailers are innovating with game-changing strategies, this year's Achievement Award winners represent the best of what's happening today," said Michael Atmore, editorial director of Footwear News on the announcement of the results.
In an exciting turn of events for the Middle East, the awards' coveted Best Retailer title goes to a company that also understands the importance of professional relationships. The Dubai Mall's Level Shoe District has had incredible success since its arrival to the industry in 2012, making a name for itself as the world’s largest ever footwear store. However it stood out this year by, "supporting both young design talent and the major global labels and focussing on the customer experience."
Legendary designer Giuseppe Zanotti marked his brand's 20th anniversary this year, and it was a celebration indeed. He therefore won the Designer of the Year, and continues to impress his consumers with his bold, unapologetic aesthetic plus achieving well in the men's market with striking designs – not to mention a little help from friends like Kanye West along the way.
Level Shoe District stood out this year by, "supporting both young design talent and the major global labels and focusSing on the customer experience."
Kevin Plank, CEO and founder of Under Armour took home the 'Person of the Year' award. In a relatively short time, the sports label has built a nearly $3 billion athletic brand that is now a fierce competitor in the footwear world, thanks to a line of Speedform sneakers. It's reintroduction into the women's market this year with the 'I Will What I Want' campaign starring longtime partner Lindsey Vonn, ballerina Misty Copeland and Gisele Bündchen, spreading a message of empowerment and winning 5 billion media impressions.
A new category for the awards was that of 'Shoe of the Year', which highlights the must-have item that flew off shelves. The first has gone to Adidas Stan Smith, a resurgent classic that ignited a trend for the white court sneaker and was seen everywhere from the runway to sidewalks, and an estimated 100,000 pairs sold in America alone.
FN's annual Vivian Infantino Emerging Talent award serves to acknowledge a number of young designers. This year, Alessandra Lanvin and her luxury collection, Aperlai, which launched in 2009 is receiving the widespread attention it deserves, following a flagship shop launch in Paris with a perfectly honed aesthetic.
Two names to know – and probably the best in the business of building a good reputation – are this year's Hall of Fame additions, Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY)'s Joe Moore (below) and Pentland Brand's Sonny Shar, who both enjoy their new place in history as utterly respected businessmen in the footwear field.
In other news (pardon the pun) Jimmy Choo was named Newsmaker of the Year. This is due to the British luxury shoe label announced its intention to file an initial public offering, the media began tracking its every move, rumoured or real.
Sarah Jessica Parker's namesake footwear line was given the award of Launch of the Year, after the actress and style maven teamed with George Malkemus and Nordstrom for the collection's debut. And like SJP, Nicole Richie has turned her love of fashion into a successful business, leading her to win the Style Influencer of the Year title. This is due in most part to her new reality TV show Candidly Nicole, providing a showcase for her sharp wit and ever-changing looks.