Madden, Steve

(1958- )
   Born in Queens, New York, Steve Madden entered the shoe business during the 1970s at age sixteen as a stockboy at a local shoe store, Toulouse. After another sales position at Jildor, in Great Neck, he landed his first job working for shoe manufacturer L. J. Simone during the 1980s, where he learned how to build a shoe collection. With a keen eye for spotting trends coupled with his skill for turning product around quickly, Madden and a partner formed Souliers, which soon failed. However, in 1990, he struck out on his own forming Steve Madden, Inc., and opened a hip shoe store in New York City's trendy SoHo district, where he retailed his own collection in addition to other hot brands like Caterpillar, Puma, and Sperry. Madden's reputation as a copyist was overcome with the introduction of one of his own creations known as the "logger boot." Not only were these boots all the rage among teenagers in the 1990s, but they too were widely copied. His shoes could best be characterized as high chunky platforms. He attracted a cult-like following.
   In 1993, the company went public and, by 1997, Madden extended his product line into T-shirts, hats, and other accessories. His T-shirt was merchandised in a box called the "Ice-Tee." In 2000, he partnered with Atlantic Records and launched a cross-marketing campaign called Rock N'Sole: The Girl Band Search, which provided support for aspiring female recording artists. His enfant terrible personality worked in synergy with his "cutting-edge" brand image. However, in 2000, Madden was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering and securities fraud. He pleaded guilty to those charges in 2001, paid $7 million in fines, relinquished his CEO status, and spent thirty-one months in a minimum security prison in Florida before returning to his company in 2005. The company continues to license its brand name for handbags, eyewear, hosiery, and belts. It is also the licensee for L.E.I. footwear, Candies Footwear, and Unionbay men's footwear, as well as for 100 freestanding Steve Madden stores worldwide.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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