FNAAs to Honor Christian Louboutin With Lifetime Achievement, Plus More Outstanding 2022 Winners

It’s the biggest night in shoes, and this year the FNAAs will honor one of the industry’s biggest legends.

At the 36th annual FN Achievement Awards on Nov. 30, legendary designer Christian Louboutin will be recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other honorees hail from all corners of the industry, from athletic sneakers to luxury design, and in 2022 they demonstrated remarkable creativity, as well as a willingness to break down barriers in service of both their customers and the greater good.

“The FNAAs inspire and demonstrate the great intersection of fashion, sports, celebrity, music and commerce, and we recognize the leaders in our industry shaping culture through footwear,” said Michael Atmore, editorial director of FN and chief brand officer of Fairchild Media Group. “Celebrating rising stars and industry legends alike, it’s an honor to spotlight the exceptional innovation, depth and breadth of talent across the footwear industry.”

Each year, the FNAAs ­— often called the “Shoe Oscars” — celebrate footwear’s major style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans.

Below is a list of the 2022 FNAA winners — so far. Stay tuned for more announcements about the event.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Christian Louboutin

The design legend celebrated three decades in business in 2021. Over the course of that time, Christian Louboutin has artfully used footwear design as a vehicle to explore his many obsessions — travel, pop culture, theater, dance, art, literature and cinema — and wooed legions of devoted fans and A-listers, including Blake Lively, Cardi B. and Zendaya.

Person of the Year: Dr. D’Wayne Edwards

For more than a decade, Dr. D’Wayne Edwards has been dedicated to racial equality in the footwear industry as the founder of Pensole Design Academy in Portland, which entered a historic new phase last year with the opening of the Pensole Lewis College in Detroit (Michigan’s first and only HBCU). Additionally, Edwards has been a vital champion for the National Black Footwear Forum that returned in person this year.

Shoe of the Year: Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh

The Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 collection was designed by the fashion label’s late artistic director Virgil Abloh, who passed away in November 2021 from cancer. Though Abloh crafted numerous memorable looks with Nike and Louis Vuitton, this sneaker serves as final testament to the prolific career of a design genius.

Company of the Year: Skechers USA Inc.

Skechers marked its 30th anniversary this year with multiple record sales quarters driven by strong demand for its comfort technologies. On the marketing front, the company continues to be on the forefront of cultural trends by entering the metaverse and the pickleball category. And new projects with Martha Stewart and Willie Nelson generated huge buzz.

Designer of the Year: Amina Muaddi

Amina Muaddi’s 4-year-old brand continues to be talk of fashion and footwear. This year alone, global sales will total 55 million euros. She also has become a pop culture force, with memorable name checks on “Euphoria” and “Insecure” this year, and a powerhouse social media presence that rivals the celebs who wear her heels.

Retailer of the Year: Kith

Through collaborations, robust seasonal releases and compelling marketing campaigns, Kith has crafted an upscale lifestyle that’s attainable for all. Also, Ronnie Fieg and his team tapped into pop culture like never before this year via memorable partnerships (BMW, “Spiderman,” “The Wire,” “Goodfellas,” Gert Boyle and the iconic “Tough Mother” imagery for Columbia, etc.).

Brand of the Year: Jordan Brand

Jordan Brand hit the $5 billion sales milestone for the first time during its most recent fiscal year, proving its incredible staying power. This year it released countless collaborations, bolstered its ambassador roster with rising stars including NFL wide receiver Deebo Samuel and No. 1 NBA draft pick Paolo Banchero, revealed the first signature shoe for NBA standout Luka Doncic, and announced a 20-year partnership with Howard University that will yield “athletic and academic opportunities.”

Brand of the Year: Merrell

Merrell has led the way promoting a more diverse vision of the outdoors. This year, it launched a women’s-centric hiking club. And it continues to invest in and support the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in the U.S. and Canada, to make the outdoors more accessible for youth.

Hall of Fame: Diane Sullivan

Diane Sullivan, who has spent more than a decade dramatically evolving Caleres Inc., will step down from her role as chairman and CEO in January to become executive chairman. As one of the highest-ranking women in the industry, Sullivan has been a champion for board gender quality, achieving parity at Caleres. She also recently led the St. Louis-based firm to its best-ever Q1 performance.

Hall of Fame: Scott Meden

Throughout his 37-year career at Nordstrom, Scott Meden served as GMM of shoes, president of Nordstrom Rack and, most recently, as chief marketing officer. During his time leading the charge on footwear, he helped significantly grow the shoe business in the Nordstrom stores. Meden announced his retirement from the retail company earlier this year.

Launch of the Year: Lululemon

The popular fitness brand shook up the athletic industry this year, when it launched its first collection of performance sneakers, starting with the Blissfeel running shoe that debuted in March. Most notably, the line was specifically designed for women first, with men’s slated for 2023. The launch was a massive hit and demand far exceeded supply.

Collaboration of the Year: Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock

The Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock two-part collaboration was a sell-out event for fans of the brands and merged Birkenstock’s classic style with the essence of Manolo Blahnik. There were luxurious velvet uppers and crystal buckles, as well as playful polka-dot patterns on the signature cork-bottom sandals and clogs. It was a perfect marriage of two footwear icons.

Social Impact Award: Brandice Daniel 

At a critical time, the founder of Harlem’s Fashion Row has worked tirelessly to support and empower Black designers across all corners of the industry. In September, the organization — in partnership with LVMH — kicked off New York Fashion Week with a powerful 15th anniversary show spotlighting three emerging talents.

Sustainability Leadership Award: Puma

Through its Forever Better strategy, Puma has made important strides in becoming a more sustainable company. This year, the brand explored biodegradable shoes with its Re:Suede program and it brought environmental concerns to the forefront at New York Fashion Week. Meanwhile, its live-streamed Conference of the People with Cara Delevingne sought to amplify diverse voices to seek solutions to the climate crisis.

Emerging Talent Award: Jessica Rich

Jessica Rich launched her eponymous footwear line in 2017 and has carved out a space for her line of sexy heels using tenacity and marketing and social media savvy. Celebrity fans include Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B and Kylie Jenner. Retailer partners include Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, DSW and Belk.

The 2022 FNAAs will be held Nov. 30 at Cipriani South Street in New York. The event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom.

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