… my interview with vince …

Vince Camuto:

Passion, Business, and Fashion



When one opens a shoebox containing the work of Vince Camuto they will find the following words inscribed beneath the lid:


“I’m passionate about creating a product that women really want… infusing great style, comfort and unparalleled value, for every stage of her life.” 


Based on the time I spent with Vince Camuto this weekend, I’d say this is an accurate reflection of his life and work.



AF: So, I intended to research you earlier this week, but I was graduating with my masters so I was, well, busy. I actually finished everything up yesterday! So this morning I turned to Wikipedia.

I of course knew that you were a co-founder for Nine West and was well aware of the brand that bears your namesake, obviously. But as I started reading I found out so much more: You developed the BCBG Max Azria and BCBGirls footwear lines, launched brands for Dillard’s such as Antonio Melani and Gianni Bini, have created lines for Banana Republic and Lucky Brand, designed for Jessica Simpson’s line, and have partnered with Tory Burch to create the Reva flat which is literally the most popular ballet flat in the world.

I found myself thinking, this man is literally responsible for a large majority of my shoe collection. And here we are now for a runway show for this season’s Vince Camuto collection.

VC: Yes, it’s been good. We started with quality shoes at a great value. Now we are putting it all together and focusing on the lifestyle. We are really proud of that. We have a full ready-to-wear line and have introduced a denim line called TWO. We now have 27 categories for women. The brand has really grown. I think we’ve been able to do this because we have what women like: an approachable designer with a fashionable product at a good price, using beautiful leathers.


AF: Out of all of this, what are you most proud of?

VC: [Personally…] My children. Seeing my kids grow. I have one that is in the business now. He’s 23 and has a great eye and I’m very proud of him, but very proud of all the others too. I have a younger one and older ones. We’ve got them at all different stages. To see the development of my children makes me very proud.

[Professionally…] I’m also very proud of our people. Our business is very people oriented. We have a lot of women working in the company, and I truthfully think there is a women’s movement going on right now. Our company consists of women who are mostly 25-35. They have a great energy, good fashion sense, and are incredible business-wise. I love working with them. Sometimes it can be challenging, but I don’t mind a strong woman. My wife is a strong woman, you know.


AF: It sounds like you can really appreciate this type of woman.

VC: At the end of the day if you’re in the fashion industry and you are a man, you have to be able to communicate and find out what women are looking for. You can’t be stubborn or have blinders on. So we talk to women all the time. I come to events like this and I talk to women, I listen to them and we find out what they want. I learn so much this way.



AF: How has this affected your creative process?

VC: We try to create a cohesive look within ourselves to serve what these women want. We are not just a ready-to-wear brand or a shoe brand. We have the entire look at a good price and that’s hard to come by. It’s what the American woman wants: a great style, at a great perceived value, and with consistent quality.

We are always listening. We knew they were going to like the moto-boot. It’s the big look this year, as we predicted. Our moto-boot called the Winchell sold out at Nordstrom. And we’re buying more into this. Booties are very big. We love the ankle boots and the short boots; they look cool. And with the weather being sometimes warmer in Texas you can wear it now and keep wearing it. Lower heels look cool with the current clothing. You can take the bootie or the low pump and wear it with tight pants or a dress for a change. Not everything has to be high heeled.

It’s unbelievable, you know, women all know and all like the same thing at the same time. How you guys do it, I don’t know. Truthfully that’s a woman’s thing. How does that work? And how can we plug into it?


AF: Well for me, I’ll be feeling something, and wanting it strongly and looking for it. I can’t always find it in stores when I want it, but once I do find it I blog it, tweet it, instagram it, and facebook it.

VC: Some of you advance it. You tell the rest of the women.

AF: And social media is causing trends to happen faster because we all know what one another is wearing instantly.


{at this point Vince and I were told we were out of time}


AF: One last question. My blog focuses on being an empowered woman, finding your passion, and doing what you love. How did you know that this is what you were going to do with your life?

VC: You know I started out working in a very expensive women’s shoe store in New York. What wasn’t there to like? I met with all the beautiful women. I was on Fifth Avenue. I was into the ascetics and beauty. Right style. Right atmosphere. I learned about the fashion.


AF: I’d assume you’d have to make yourself into a business man to do all that you have done?

VC: I was born in Manhattan and grew up on the lower east side. I did take some business courses along the way, but I had street sense and I loved fashion.


AF: And the passion just grew?

VC: And the passion just grew. I love it more than ever before.





Consider Me Completely Inspired.




Amanda Frances 



A big thank you to Melissa and Dillard’s for this opportunity.






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