Honorees Offer Up Their Best Career Advice on the 2017 FNAA Red Carpet

The biggest names in the footwear industry came out for the 2017 Footwear News Achievement Awards in New York City tonight. And the honorees offered up some valuable advice to those looking to achieve success in the shoe business.

Virgil Abloh will take home the Shoe of the Year award for his collaboration with Nike. But the designer emphasized the importance of not letting the awards get to his head.

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 The Ten Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike “The Ten” collection was full of highlights, but the Air Jordan 1 from the “Revealing” range was arguably the most sought-after style. Stadium Goods

“As a designer, I just put my point of view in the product, and I’m very proud that work has garnered an achievement. But to me the fulfilling part is the work,” he said.

In their advice for aspiring designers, industry leaders echoed Abloh’s focus on the work itself rather than any accolades that might come along with it.

Birkenstock USA CEO David Kahan, whose company takes home the Brand of the Year award, emphasized the importance of staying true to a brand’s ethos.

“We continue to innovate, and we continue to be creative. Yet we always maintain our brand equity. We never do anything to deviate from the brand,” he said.

Birkenstock, Outdoor, footwear Birkenstock’s spring ’18 show. Courtesy of brand

Adam Petrick, Puma global director of brand and marketing, whose brand earns the Marketer of the Year award — highlighted the importance of listening and learning from others around him.

Puma partners with major influencers such as Selena Gomez, The Weeknd and Rihanna, and Petrick noted the importance of listening to those stars — as well as fans.

Selena Gomez Puma Phenom Selena Gomez models the Puma Phenom. Courtesy of Puma

“[Our target is to] collaborate and be open. And not just collaborate with our high-profile ambassadors; listen to our fans. Listen to the people out there doing it every day, whether they’re creative with their own small personal brands or personal retailers,” Petrick said. “Listen and pay attention and try to do them justice.”

Click here to see photos from the red carpet at the 2017 FNAAs.

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