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Steve Madden: 'We Are As Creative As Prada'

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Steve Madden of his namesake shoe line talked to Footwear News about what is, in his opinion, the biggest misperception about his company. He explained

We design shoes every day, and we are as creative as Prada. We are creating as much as the Pradas and the Chloés of the world. Do we make $900 shoes that are in Neiman Marcus? Have we made shoes just like that, which are less than $100 and have been great? Yes, we have. We're out there creating and designing every day, making and building a meal for our customers. That creativity is not appreciated, and I would argue that what we do is harder. I could design an $800 shoe line; it's easy. You use the best materials and you can make beautiful shoes. It's easier than making great shoes for $90.

But under-appreciated creativity aside, Madden has had a lot of highs along the way.

The biggest high was coming back from prison [in April 2005 after serving time for stock manipulation, money laundering, and securities fraud] and to work for the company. The excitement, the great people I missed and really trying to take the business to another level and then seeing it go to another level, that was an exciting high. It's definitely a different company since I've been back, in terms of pre-prison and post-prison. The company is so much better in so many ways.

However, he does seem to miss the '80s, calling it "a great time...with a lot of interesting kinds of shoes. Men's platforms were very popular."

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