Steve Madden is America's most famous shoe designer. I know...you probably thought it was someone else. He is considered the fashion footwear mogul of the 21st Century.
How he got to the top is just as fascinating as he got booted out of his own company. A true born an raised New Yorker. Born in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York.
He attended University of Miami for a minute while working at a shoe store. When he worked at the shoe store Steve learned about shoes. He found them interesting and he liked to watch women's emotions when they found what they wanted.
Working his way into sales he learned the business inside and out. He decided that he could produce a quality shoe just like the brands he was selling.
In 1990 he created Steve Madden Limited with $1,100 and began designing shoes from his Queen's based factory. Believing that his shoes would be different and satisfy a promising demographic the journey began.
In 1991 Madden introduced the re-invented platform shoe.
This shoe was similar to the original version, but it was tweaked with a fun twist.
No longer just high the flat heel, but a thick chunky heel that could be stacked higher.
Inspired by the 1970's rock and roll stars like Kiss and Elton John the chunky heel became his signature.
When the new platform hit the stores it resulted in one of the most phenomenonal success ventures in the 90's.
Mr. Madden pursued a market that was being over looked. The "Teen" demographic is a viable billion dollar market that was not being fully utilized. Steve targeted the preteen, teen and young adult audience.
This opened the door to a new source of business. Fashions most surprising event of the 90's. The Madden funky thick heel boots and shoes dominated women's mid-price shoe market.
In 1993 he opened his first store in Soho and took his company Steve Madden Ltd public.
The company is headquartered in Long Island City, New York.
Madden's vision is continuously evolving he as he was quoted,
"What inspires me is what I see people wearing on the streets of the world. From New York to London and beyond. Today's fashion is dictated by individual style."
During the year 2002 Madden was brought up on charges of stock manipulation and securities fraud. In order to remove the company away from this bad turn of events he resigned as CEO.
Steve was found guilty of all charges and was sent to prison for 3 years. Before his sentencing he made himself creative consultant to the Steve Madden corporation. He was released from prison in 2005.
Most would have companies would have fallen apart after an incident such as this, but not the SML.
The Footwear News Achievement Awards honored the company with "Company of the Year in 2006"
Mr Madden believes in continuing whatever it is you started and seeing it through regardless of the outcome.
He looks at fashion as a continuing circle of past meets present with a line always connecting the two.
As he is quoted, "To me, the fashion of the future is anything that a young girl or guy feels good wearing as long as it's put together in the right way".