How to keep your heels and standards HIGH

How to keep your heels and standards HIGH

by marlies|dekkers

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…

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