New York—New York shoe designer Ruthie Davis received the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) awarded Footwear Designer of the Year at their annual American Image Awards on Tuesday night. AAFA and the awards recognize outstanding achievements within the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. This year’s event was held at the Grand Hyatt and served as a fundraiser for the Special Olympics.
Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin hosted the evening along with presenter and Olympic figure skater, Michelle Kwan. Other notable guests included recording artist and actress Ashanti (appropriately sporting Ruthie Davis heels) and CFDA designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown, John Bartlett, Fern Mallis and former pro-basketballer Sam Perkins.
Davis, an independent designer, sells to more than 100 accounts in 35 countries. Her shoes have been sought-after as red carpet favorites including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Sophia Vergara.
“I am so excited to be awarded AAFA’s 2014 Footwear Designer of the Year. It is a huge honor to be listed amongst past recipients of these awards such as John Bartlett, Badgley Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg and Oscar de la Renta. Being an American woman and designing for the American woman is something that is extremely important to me, which is why this award is so near to my heart,” said Ruthie Davis.
Other American Image Award recipients included Robert Graham for menswear; William Sweedler of Tangram Capital for Man of the Year; DL1961 for denim brand of the year; and Barry Sternlicht, chairman/ceo of Starwood Capital, as Humanitarian of the Year.
First awarded in 1977, the AAFA American Image Awards stands as an emblem of honor for those who have exemplified leadership, excellence, and outstanding achievement in all sectors of the apparel and footwear industry, including education, design, manufacturing, and retail. This year, with the Special Olympics as their charity partner, 40% percent of the event’s net proceeds will be donated to the organization.
About the Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world. Through work in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics addresses inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics is able to deliver 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 70,000 competitions throughout the year. www.specialolympics.org