5 Questions With Ruthie Davis

Diane von Furstenberg has welcomed a new batch of CFDA inductees.

The fashion mogul, whose term at the helm of the Council of Fashion Designers of America has been extended until 2016, welcomed 30 new members.

Ruthie Davis, the only footwear designer welcomed this year, sat down with Footwear News to discuss what it takes to build a luxury brand today.

1. How does it feel to be inducted into the CFDA?
It feels great! When you launch an independent fashion label, there are so many goals and achievements to hit along the way, and a lot of ups and downs. Being inducted into the CFDA is an incredible feeling because it’s such a solid milestone in the life of a designer. Now, of course, I feel even more inspired to continue to build the Ruthie Davis brand and make the CFDA proud of the faith they have put in me.
2. What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
The biggest challenge has been competing in the luxury market against huge established fashion houses and iconic brands. Footwear is a product that consumers don’t adopt quickly — it takes time to gain the customer’s trust, and building a brand takes a lot of patience, perseverance and financing.
3. What do you think of Diane von Furstenberg’s extended term?
It’s fantastic. I love seeing a strong and confident and smart woman at the top of her game. Diane von Furstenberg is someone I really admire. She’s a creative force, an entrepreneur and a global businesswoman.
4. Any tips for aspiring designers?
Learn as much as you can about the business by working for other companies before launching your own brand. It’s important to take a long-term vision of your career. Designing is only one aspect of being a designer. You need to learn about marketing, branding, merchandising, sales, production and making a profit — all of these things factor into a good design. I always say my job is 10 percent designing and 90 percent running a business. And my No. 1 tip is to do what you love and to find your passion.
5. What’s next for your line?
This is a really exciting time at Ruthie Davis. We launched e-commerce in January 2014, and we are hoping to open the first store in the near future. A brand needs a “home” where the customer can totally see the world of Ruthie Davis. We also have some exciting collaborations in the pipeline including continuing my collection of vegan shoes with John Bartlett. In addition, my sneaker collection is expanding and will soon include kids’ sneakers for spring ’15.

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