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Midwestern Stiletto Dreams Realized in the Big Apple

by Marianne Salina
Fashion Career Center Columnist

People make many assumptions about the fashion design world. Some believe that all inspiration takes root in New York City, or that women are the driving force behind the development of luxury goods such as high-heeled shoes. But Courtney Crawford, a young gentleman from St. Louis, Missouri, is quickly dispelling all myths surrounding fashion design's exclusivity.

Crawford is a man with a mission: Design a line of high-heeled shoes for a woman who is "unapologetically sexy." The response so far is wildly in favor of this stylish shift in the fashion paradigm.

Crawford was raised by his single mother in a house full of women--ladies who were all, according to Crawford, "into luxury goods and high fashion." The seed was planted early on for this Midwestern boy, whose eye for design eventually took him to a prestigious fashion design school in New York City.

Fashion Design School: Choosing Your Path
Crawford studied all aspects of design and fashion merchandising before he made the decision to work exclusively with shoes. In an effort to further his experience and understanding of the industry, Crawford interned under shoe designer Eugenia Kim, winner of the 2004 CFDA Accessory Design Award. Gaining on-the-job experience proved invaluable to Crawford's career, as the internship eventually grew into a managerial role in shoe design and production.

A Winning Product is Essential
Crawford did his homework when it came time to branching out with his very own shoe company. He knew that as a luxury shoe designer he would need work space, a trademark, look-books, and a savvy PR person. With the financial backing of two hopeful investors, Crawford is quickly climbing his way to the top with his exquisitely feminine line of shoes and high hopes of becoming the next Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo.

What is the Outline for a Successful Career in Fashion Design?
Crawford's path from St. Louis to successful accessories designer is one that exemplifies strategy and dedication. Design school was a wise move for Crawford, as it provided him necessary instruction and it gave him his first connections within the industry. How can fashion design school help you climb your way to the top?

Sources:
Courtney Crawford
The Wall Street Journal, "How I Got My Funding: a Ladies Shoe Designer"

About the Author
Marianne Salina has a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and enjoys researching and discussing the myriad of fashion design pursuits in her columns.