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Why Fat Joe Calls Ronnie Fieg the ‘Don Corleone of Retail’

Ronnie Fieg is someone who resonates with all fans of footwear and fashion, beloved by both longtime GQ editors and Bronx, NY-born rappers alike. And there is a common theme that makes Fieg, the 2021 FNAA Person of the Year, respected by all.

“I call him the Don Corleone of retail. He’s the true Don,” Fat Joe said of Fieg during his presenter speech. “We all aspire to be this man. Beautiful person, always giving back to the community, always treating people with respect and dignity, and that’s what I’m all about — all of us uplifting each other.”

Jim Moore, the GQ creative director at large, shared a similar sentiment, presenting the award to Fieg alongside Fat Joe.

“Work with Ronnie Fieg and you come to know Kith. Know Ronnie Fieg and you come to understand kin,” Moore said. “If there’s anything that could be more important to him than the former — the 52 Monday drops a year, a community-driven renewal project, the stores from Hawaii to New York to Paris to Japan, and of course, all the noteworthy products — Ronnie would tell you, is family.”

Fieg, who is no stranger to the FNAA stage, shared thoughts on what his career in footwear has offered him aside from creating product the masses clamor for.

“My love for footwear is the foundation of who I am, and it’s what set me on the path to do what I love every single day,” Fieg said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the brands I’ve loved since I was a kid. I helped relaunch silhouettes and have designed some of my own. No matter the assignment, the goal has always been the same: To help people feel the same emotion that I feel opening a box of a new pair of shoes. Something I didn’t expect, though, was what footwear would allow me to do outside the industry.”

He continued, “Footwear opened a door for me to have an impact and try to leave the world a little bit better than how I found it. Through exercising my passion, I’ve been able to work with public departments to give back to the communities that raised me, and I’ve been able to start a foundation for people who don’t have the same opportunities that we do. I’m not saying to pat myself on the back, but to hopefully illustrate how footwear can be a platform for all of us to leave a positive footprint for the next generation.”

For 35 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards ­— often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2021 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.

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