‘Dress Code’ is VIBE’s fashion and style series, where were we test drive rising brands from an every day life point of view.
STEVE MADDEN SAYS
Founder: Steve Madden
Happy Customers: Fifth Harmony, Victoria Justice, Sarah Silverman, Adrien Brody, Russell Westbrook, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and many more.
On Steve Madden’s Humble Beginnings: When I started the company 25 years ago, the driving force was to pay the rent. I had no money, but I had worked in a women’s shoe store, and then later in wholesale, so I had a pretty good idea what women wanted. I used that feedback and experience and turned it into a company, having no idea what the company would actually become. It was hard work and a lot of luck and great timing. I just know a hit shoe when I see it. It’s like you’re driving in the car and a great song comes on the radio. When I design a hit shoe, I get that same feeling.
On The Design Process: We are a fast fashion brand. I’m surrounded by a great team. Ideas are being thrown back and forth all day every day. We make changes constantly in our sample factory, which is right in our office. I’m out on the street, looking at what women are wearing. We’re at music festivals. We’re in Europe. I’m in my stores all the time. Everything we do goes into each collection. We’re wrong a lot, but we are where we are because most often we’ve been right.
Their Uniqueness In The Marketplace: Unlike other brands that have to send prototypes out to get shoes made, we go right into our sample factory twenty feet away. We have the ability to design a shoe, make whatever changes we want, all in one day. Then we send those shoes to our stores in New York or Miami, and we’ll see very quickly how they perform in those regions. If it looks like they’re hot, we’ll go all in and roll out those shoes to the rest of the world.
How The Designer Wears Steve Madden: I live ,breath and sleep Steve Madden. Shoes saved my life, and I have the life I have today because of shoes.
Favorite Item In Current Collection: Sneakers! I am really into sneakers. This is a new category for us that we are expanding on. Everyone told us we couldn’t do it, and we are doing it very successfully. I’m excited that we can bring a whole new fashion appeal to the typical sneaker.
Ashley Monaé, Writer:
Summertime has hit New York City and that means it’s time to soak up the sun, rotate our wardrobes, and indulge in brighter color palettes. Not to mention, I’m two months into festival season. As a result, I’ve been keeping a watchful eye of how I can incorporate a few trendy, boho-like pieces that into my wardrobe for the rest of the season that still speaks to my personal style.
Accessories definitely make your ‘fit, so I decided to switch things up and opt for the Jneehah bag, a playful, multi-colored classic saddlebag. It’s perfect for festival season because allows me to be arms-free while jamming to different live performances and it’s easy to pack in your luggage.
And for a gal that loves a tomboy, laid back kind of style, I couldn’t pass up on Steve Madden’s Gypsi boot. With a suede application, fringe ankle details, and a rubber gum sole, they are the perfect balance of fashion and functionality. Whether I’m headed to work, out for a night on the town, or am trekking through dusty festival grounds, these non-heeled shoes prove to be a must-have as soon as I laid eyes on them.
Stacy-Ann Ellis, Assistant Editor:
When it comes to fashion and style, I’m a practical kind of girl. Nine times out of 10, function will always trump form. Unless I have a Lyft scheduled for pickup, I need shoes I can comfortably walk everywhere in and bags that can hold the myriad knick knacks I’ve convinced myself I need for the day. Luckily, selects from Steve Madden fit the bill for Summer ’16.
Take the uber flirty, frilly sandals appropriately named Sweetyy. I fell in love with these suede babies the second I saw them, then fell back in love once I slipped them on. My ankles are a little too skinny for the rope-up straps to stay all the way up on my leg, but once I settled on the low ankle tie, I realized it was the perfect way for me to sport them. It’s a neutral enough color to go with denim, but enough of a deviation from black, white and grey to pop if I wear it against them. Then you have the sandy colored JKingsly utility bag, another neutral (notice the pattern here?). It’s small enough for me to downsize from my obnoxious Michael Kors tote bag from time to time without me having to compromise on whether I bring my lotion and full size wallet with me on the same day. It all fits just fine.