Kanye West, Diane Von Furstenberg and More: The Most Memorable Quotes From the FNAAs

Let the countdown begin. The 2021 FN Achievement Awards will take place on Nov. 30 in New York. Also known as the “Oscars of Shoes,” the annual event honors the designers, executives and stars who have made their mark on the footwear industry.

Over the years, the event has honored a wide range of legends and trailblazers including designers Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Kerby Jean-Raymond and Amina Muaddi, as well as Shoe of the Year winners Kanye West and Rihanna.

But it isn’t just the red carpet style and sheer star power that make the FNAAs a night to remember. The honorees and their guest presenters often leave the audience with inspiring quotes and the occasional footwear pun or two.

Here, we take a look back at some of the most memorable quotes from past FNAAs.

Kanye West, 2015 Shoe of the Year Award winner for the Adidas Yeezy Boost: 

“I remember always going back to the fashion shows, not because I wanted to be seen in some really expensive rapper jacket that I’d just bought. It was because I cared so much about seeing artists express themselves to the maximum.”

Linda Fargo, SVP of fashion and store presentation director for Bergdorf Goodman, 2016 Hall of Fame inductee:

“Whenever you get these kinds of awards, you hear all these incredible things about yourself, and you say, ‘Really? Is that me?’ I think there’s a part of us that is always that young, wide-eyed person who comes from some small town somewhere, and you sometimes can’t believe how lucky you are to have had the opportunities you’ve had in New York, in particular, which is really the epicenter of fashion and the business of fashion.”

John Legend, kicking at the virtual 2020 FNAAs:

“These killings made clear to the general public what Black folks already knew: racism is real, it is ugly and it is woven into the systems that govern our everyday lives. [The deaths] ignited a new commitment for people all over the world to end the violence and destruction of systemic racism, but if the last few months have taught us anything, it is how powerful and essential it is for us to come together for a common cause.”

Mark King, president of Adidas North America, 2016 Person of the Year: 

“When you dream that you can change things, when you dream that extraordinary things can happen, when you dream that the world can be a different place than it is today, extraordinary things happen every day.”  

Zendaya, 2016 Launch of the Year for Daya by Zendaya: 

“There’s no age limit on living out your dreams.”

Grant Hill, who presented Fila with the 2018 Shoe of the Year Award for the Disruptor 2: 

“Strategy matters, but execution matters more. And if all that comes from a deep place, a personal place, you can unlock the doors that you never imagined.”

Christie Brinkley, 2018 Style Influencer of the Year (along with daughters Sailor Brinkley-Cook and Alexa Ray Joel): 

“Fashion is about change. Don’t take it seriously — enjoy it! Change is good and it keeps you young.”

Alexandre Birman for Schutz, 2016 Brand of the Year: 

“I was literally born and raised in a shoe factory. No, literally — that’s true.”

Diane von Fürstenberg, who presented Chloe Gosselin with the 2018 Emerging Talent Award:   

“I always say I love my legs, but I count on my feet.”

James Whitner, who won 2020 Retailer of the Year for The Whitaker Group:

“2020 has been an incredible year being in the space of retail, being able to stand up for the people who we believe in and our community. Evolving retail and keeping our community at the center of it is something we’ve been focused on for years.”

Iris Apfel, in a surprise appearance at the 2020 FNAAs:

“I only have two choices: to be positive or negative, and I’m a person that prefers to say that the glass is half full. Actually, I don’t know if that’s the way I was, but during this pandemic, I’ve been training myself.”

Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, presenting Crocs with 2020 Brand of the Year:

“Crocs stepped up in the face of adversity to deliver comfort at a time when it was needed the most. The company reinforced what it always stands for — that doing the right thing is the right thing for the brand, its employees and the community. It’s important to me that I partner with brands that recognize that they can do well by doing good for others. I’m proud to work with a brand like Crocs, who shares the same values that I do.”

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