How to keep your heels and standards HIGH
Ruthie Davis is just like the amazing shoes she designs: daring, empowering and totally fabulous. After making Reebok hip again and completely revamping Uggs, she launched her own brand 10 years ago and quickly became the go-to designer for feminine feminists like Beyoncé and Lady Gaga. I met up with the American style maven in New York where we discovered we have a lot in common. Ruthie: “Fashion can be a tough game! I’m proud to still be standing… in my six-inch heels!”
Marlies: First of all, what is the Ruthie Davis look?
Ruthie: The Ruthie Davis look is all about femininity, fashion and functionality. I want you to feel glamorous and pretty AND know you can be the smartest, strongest woman in the room! This is how I used to explain my shoes to people: just imagine Nike and Manolo Blahnik had a baby.
Marlies: Yes, that’s what feminine feminism is all about! There’s a superwoman-quality to all your designs. How do you achieve that?
Ruthie: As an artist, my greatest inspiration is the beauty of the female body. And everything I do is about enhancing that body to make it look gorgeous and powerful. Basically, I do for legs what you do for breasts. We help women look and feel like the best possible version of themselves.
Marlies: Where does your love for shoes come from?
Ruthie: I was the youngest of six kids: the shortest and smallest. But when my older sisters started wearing platform heels, they got me a pair of ‘baby platforms’. All of a sudden I was tall and felt so powerful! That was the moment I realized how much shoes affect your confidence and style.
Marlies: I’m with you! I must have the biggest shoe collection in the Netherlands! Another thing we have in common is that we are very creative people who have a brain for business. A rare combination.
Ruthie: Absolutely! I studied English literature and fine arts; I loved water coloring and photography. But I also got a master’s degree in business. And I still find it the most exciting thing when those two worlds come together. I don’t like to design into a vacuum; I like the whole package all the way down to the invoicing and shipping.
Marlies: You made Reebok hip again and revamped Uggs by shooting a sexy campaign with Pamela Anderson. What made you decide to start for yourself?
Ruthie: I was actually working for Tommy Girl Shoes as a Senior VP of Marketing and Design when my husband asked me one day: “Do you want to work for Tommy Hilfiger or do you want to BE Tommy Hilfiger?” Wow. That’s when I made my decision: to give it all up and start from scratch.
Marlies: And you did it! Could you share some tips with us?
Ruthie: First of all, be smart and learn on someone else’s dollar if you can. I honed my skills working for other people, saving money and preparing myself to have my own company one day.
Number two: be frugal. Don’t overspend to look successful, even though a lot of people around you
-especially in fashion- are caught up in that. And last but not least: be flexible. Keep reinventing yourself. Who would have thought I would collaborate with Universal on Minion shoes for adults or with Disney to make Princess inspired shoes for grown women?
But it’s a huge hit, and it totally lifted my market.
Marlies: Thank you Ruthie! Your motto: ‘Find your passion, work hard, live your dreams’ reminds me a lot of my own motto: ‘Dare to dream, dare to grow, dare to be.’ It’s very inspiring to meet someone who actually followed that path!
Ruthie: Right back at ya! Now let’s talk about that stunning shoe we MUST do together!
To be continued…
fall|winter 20 preview
In January, I presented my newest FW20 collection during a show full of dance and entertainment in Rotterdam. All my work as a feminist designer is inspired by muses, powerful female icons from past and present. And for FW20, my muse will be crime writer Agatha Christie. A few months from now, you will get to discover the collections, and see how they tell stories like Agatha’s thrilling books do..
Running for your life
Dr. Bram Bakker is a psychiatrist, a writer, a runner and a provocateur. With his many bestselling books and columns – and yes, even his own theatre show – he urges us to think outside the box when it comes to our mental health. Not crazy about popping pills? Bram shared some interesting alternatives with me, from throwing out our phones to running ‘till we puke’.
Peas & peppers instead of pills
General practitioner Tamara de Weijer believes that we would feel a lot better if we hit the produce stand before we visited the pharmacy. “On a massive scale, we have been putting the wrong kind of fuel in our bodies.”
Singles Day – You’ve Got this!
All the single ladies, listen up! With single women rapidly becoming the majority, it is high time to stop feeling singled out. This Singles Day, let’s celebrate our freedom and independence by sharing all those solo milestones that make us go: ‘You’ve got this!’.