On Nov. 30, Amina Muaddi will be honored with the Designer of the Year at the 36th annual FN Achievement Awards. Below is an article from the magazine’s Nov. 28 print issue.
There is an aura surrounding Amina Muaddi. It could be all the parties, the fabulous fashion friends, the front-row appearances or her many coveted looks that have propelled Muaddi to become not only fashion’s buzziest shoe designer but a figure to which devotees look for inspiration on fashion, style and general fabulousness.
Or it could be the instantly iconic TV moments that have helped to cement the brand’s millennial and Gen-Z fame. It could certainly be a partnership with Rihanna.
But beyond those factors is a businesswoman who has learned from past ventures to build a namesake label with global revenue sales totaling 55 million euros in 2022, after less than five years in operation, according to the brand. Muaddi’s heels dominate the footwear landscape, defining the heel shapes, color palettes and overall sense of glam edginess tinged with Y2K nostalgia that has pervaded fashion recently.
For a look behind the scenes of Muaddi’s success, FN asked some of her closest friends, business partners and collaborators to tell us how and when they met, what they admire in the designer and how she stands out from the rest.
Stylist and creative director
“Amina and I first met each other through Instagram. It was right after she had launched her first collection for her brand. I sent her a message congratulating her on her launch and said I was excited to have purchased her shoes for Rihanna. We met in Paris shortly thereafter and quickly became close friends and collaborators. It goes without saying Amina’s intelligence, humor, drive and taste are all quickly apparent upon first meeting her. Through her understanding of the needs of a woman, she is tapped into a segment of the market that was otherwise lacking previously.
I was very honored to have been asked by Amina to style her newest campaign. It was exciting to be a part of something that was so personal to her culture. We’ve worked together as collaborators on different projects for years now, and as friends we connect about our work, so at this point working together is a seamless process for us. Our mutual respect and understanding of each other makes it easy.”
Founder, Massimo Bonini
“We met Amina in 2014 at our showroom in Milan while she was launching her first brand, Oscar Tiye. Besides the beauty of the collection that she had designed, we were immediately drawn towards her elegance, confidence and grit. She’s a cosmopolitan woman, driven, passionate, hardworking and absolutely talented.
What makes her stand out is the extreme obsession for every little detail in her shoes and the awareness of what she likes. [It] drives Amina’s work. She makes products for women like her. Being a citizen of the world, she has a very modern approach to design and communication.”
Chief Merchant, Luxury, Kurt Geiger
“Amina has changed the luxury shoe landscape with the introduction of her distinctive martini heel. Without needing any logos or branding, you can always spot an Amina shoe. The ingenious design has also introduced a whole new level of comfort for the customer – in taking the pressure off of the ball of the foot by shifting some pressure into the heel – wearing fun heels is a pleasure again. Of all the new designers that have emerged over the last 5 years, Amina’s shoes have achieved cult status whereby many of the styles never reach the floor, due to our waiting lists and customer demand.”
Sabrina Scarpellini Bonini
Co-founder and fashion director, Massimo Bonini
“Amina knows shoes very well, with small details and has a particular eye for how shoes are built. At the beginning of the brand, during the development
phase of the first collections, we walked into a meeting at the factory to check on the progress of the prototypes. I was struck by the fact that as soon as the meeting started, there was a shoe on the table, 5 meters away from us, and while the product team was talking she turned to me and whispered that the cut of the pump wasn’t quite right for a few millimeters. She mentioned this to the rest of the people around her — all very senior modellisti — and none of them understood. When we finally had a model try it on, to everyone else’s surprise indeed the cleavage wasn’t correct. For Amina, proportions are everything. Her expertise in footwear and taste level are a great strength and something very rare. She has this eye that I admire very much.
I also admire her charisma, unique point of view and her role of leader. [She is] a beautiful example of a woman in charge, growing with her business and her community.”
Sales director, USA, Massimo Bonini
“Amina is a woman designing for women (and not only). She knows what her clients want and she is able to infuse a kind of attitude into her collections. Everyone who owns a pair of Amina Muaddi’s [shoes] knows the feeling. She’s also very independent-minded and this make her approach everything differently, breaking the rules and changing the system. She has created a movement, a new code that is very difficult to do, especially as an independent brand.”
Co-founder, The Attico
“We met through friends in common at a party in Paris during fashion week. It was probably 2011.
We clicked immediately and that night we talked nonstop, literally forgetting what was happening around us. Since then, our friendship has grown. We became inseparable, so much so that we became housemates for a period and went through a lot together. We love our bond. It’s very special and unique. She is simply my best friend.
Amina is one of the most passionate and hard- working people we know. She is fully committed to her brand. We admire her dedication and how she prioritizes her work above everything. She is professional, dedicated, business-savvy with a creative edge. In fact, her fresh approach has had a fundamental impact on changing the perception of shoe design in the fashion industry.
We really know her story and her life path. This leads us to have a special appreciation towards her consistency, determination, curiosity, ambition and dedication. But what people do not know from the outside is that she has the biggest fighting spirit. She is brave, always positive, even in the most challenging situations. We are always sure she’ll get through anything.”
Co-founder, The Attico
“I’m not sure when we met, but what I remember is that I asked her to wear one of her shoes right away!
Each of her shoes is dedicated to one of her friends and if one is familiar with this person, you can immediately see it from the shoes. She has an innate ability to translate her friends’ personality into a physical product.” ❚