Emerging Designers Open Up About Opportunities, Challenges

4/28/2011 05:19:00 PM

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Three of the industry’s rising design stars and one celebrity footwear newcomer opened up about their growing businesses at the 2011 FN CEO Summit during a special panel this afternoon.

Nicholas Kirkwood, Jerome Rousseau, Alejandro Ingelmo and Yeardley Smith (the voice of Lisa Simpson from the “Simpson” series) talked about everything from their first big break in the business to the things that frustrate them most about the industry, including knockoffs.

It’s clear these four are determined to take their brands to the next level.

Ingelmo, who is nominated for a CFDA award this year, talked about opening his first store in New York last year, and how that has helped his brand become instantly more recognizable. Similarly, Kirkwood is debuting a London boutique, his first location, next month, and has plans for retail in New York, Asia and the Middle East.

Rousseau, who lives in Los Angeles, sounded off on the power of celebrity. “Early on, I got in with two young stars, Kristen Stewart and January Jones, and that really helped me at the beginning,” Rousseau said.

And Smith weighed in on leaping from Hollywood to footwear.

“I like to do things that people tell me I can’t do,” Smith said, of her new footwear venture, Marchez Vous YS. “I started acting at 17, and people told me I wouldn’t make it. Well here I am [all these years later].”

Posted by Footwear News, The Editorial Staff