Ruthie Allyn Davis, the fearless designer behind her own namesake collection, Ruthie Davis, recently sat down with The Icon Concierge to give us a behind the scenes look into her inspirations, designs and personal mantras. Crafting high-end, yet reasonably priced leather accessories that include her spiked and colorful shoes and handbags, Davis has carved a name for herself in the fashion industry as the one to watch.
Having always had a passion for shoes, and having worked for other notable brands, Davis decided to launch her own collection. Her high-fashion designs have since been spotted on everyone from Kim Kardashian, Fergie, Beyonce and more. Keep reading to hear Davis explain in her own words, what creates those RAD designs!
ICON: Tell ICON about your background, history and why you decided to jump into footwear.
RD: I have been obsessed with shoes since I was two years old. As a teen, my father took one look at my closet and told me, you are either going to have to marry rich or get into the shoe business to support your shoe habit. I chose the latter! I studied English and Visual Arts at Bowdoin College. I earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson Graduate School of Business. With a father in business and a mother as a journalist, I didn’t realize design could be a career. I focused on marketing when I started my career in the shoe industry. That quickly changed at my first job at Reebok when I realized that creating the product was my passion. They used to call me the “Cool Hunter,” at Reebok because I would be in touch with the customer, trends and the marketplace and put those ideas into the sneakers. Then, next at UGG Australia, I was hired as Vice President of Marketing and Design. This is where I also realized that in addition to designing the product, I loved building the marketing plan into my designs. I have always liked the whole package – design, marketing, branding, sales, etc. That’s why running my own business and being an entrepreneur is what I am meant to do. Then, my next job as Vice President of Women’s Footwear Design and Marketing at Tommy Hilfiger, one day my husband asked me – do you want to work for Tommy Hilfiger or be Tommy Hilfiger (i.e. have my own eponymous brand.) I chose the latter and soon launched Ruthie Davis.
ICON: What inspires you when you design, what is the general mission statement behind Ruthie Davis shoes?
RD: I’m inspired by architecture, pop culture, girls on the street, fashion editorial and all things that push the envelope – not in a dark edgy manner, but more in a sporty, sexy and racy eye catching way. I’m inspired by what I want – what women want. I am a woman designing for modern, fashion forward movers and shakers – I test drive the shoes – I know what women want. I feel it in my bones. The general mission statement behind my brand, Ruthie Davis is, “GIRL POWER.”
ICON: What is the process like for you from conception to production and then sales? What is a typical day like for you?
RD: I have done so many collections and carefully built up my Ruthie Davis brand – so each new collection is not starting from ground zero. It is about a 5-week process from start to finish of building a new collection. I first look at the previous collection and analyze what worked and what did not work. I build upon the successes. I am always thinking about fashion and trends and what inspires me, so coming up with new ideas each season is not difficult. I live, eat, sleep and dream Ruthie Davis shoes – so I just dig deep and think what I want next. I find that what I personally want is what other women seem to also want. I design what I am obsessed with. I sketch my ideas. I go to Italy and work on the last, construction and patterns and I like to design on the foot. Then, I go to the shows, pick out materials and components that will bring the designs to life. Back in New York, I can’t tell you what a typical day is like because each day it totally unique from the one before. There is not routine in running your own shoe brand and there is also no “off” button! Lol.
ICON: How do you use social media and bloggers to help in your efforts of branding and connecting with new and existing customers?
RD: In my marketing plan, a lot of my Social Media campaigns are built around the line as a living extension of the “Ruthie Girl.” I love marketing by sharing who I am on Social Media platforms and blogs. It’s a great format to show where I’m from, what inspires me, etc. I think my consumer really connects with that.
ICON: Do you have an all time favorite shoe that you designed? [It can be from any collection, please include a picture].
RD: I can not chose just one…My all time favorites and wardrobe staples are my “Microcompact” black booties and my nude “Ace” peep toe pumps with rosegold hardware details – they both make the legs go on for miles! They are the same construction so they encompass a fantastic inherent glam and edge while being really comfortable due to a huge platform. They have a six-inch heel and make everyone supermodel tall!! Can not live without either of them. They have become necessary leg extensions for me.
ICON: What can we expect from Ruthie Davis moving forward? More studs? More electric colors? Give our readers an exclusive preview!
RD: You can always expect a Ruthie Davis shoe to be 10 steps ahead. I’ll tell you that much. We always like to make an impression, that’s our constant.
ICON: Last question… Who are your style icons?
RD: I’ve always admired women who are confident, smart, and sexy. It’s the same unstoppable female that always resonates with me. She’s a Bond Girl, Wonder Woman, a businesswoman, an entrepreneur or someone you pass on the street that you can’t forget. She inspires me.
I’ve always loved an authentic, smart, sporty girl with an edge.
If you’re as in love with Davis and her shoes as I am, and want to see more of her iconic and bold collection, head on over to her site, http://www.ruthiedavis.com, and visit her e-store at http://ruthiedavis.gostorego.com.