Campus News

Ruthie Davis '84 on Her Toes in High-Heel Fashion

Story posted February 11, 2008

Steel, titanium, engineered support structures — all the makings of a skycraper. Or any one of the towering creations of haute footwear designer Ruthie Davis '84.

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Ruthie Davis '84

Four-and-a-half-inch stiletto heels fortified with natural materials combine with Lucite and leather to form the shoes of the DAVIS by Ruthie Davis collection. Davis' shoes have become must-haves among such A-list celebrities as singer Alicia Keys, who wore pairs throughout the video for her Grammy-winning song "No One" and during performances at the Super Bowl XLII Pregame Concert and on Live with Regis and Kelly.

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Singer Alicia Keys wearing DAVIS by Ruthie Davis shoes on "Live with Regis and Kelly."

Davis' path toward glamorous footwear for women took her through high-profile stints at Reebok, UGG and Tommy Hilfiger, but in 2006 she decided to strike out on her own. "People thought I was crazy to go from a big cushy corporate job to starting my own brand," says Davis.

"It is very risky and takes huge energy, drive and effort. There are up days and down days and the key is to try to stay balanced and not to take either the highs or the lows too personally."

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Alexander in orange

Davis, who was an English major, says her time at the College has come into play a lot in her career. "I was a multi-tasker who studied hard, played varsity sports, was a member of a fraternity (DKE), and wrote for The Bowdoin Orient in addition to other activities," she says. "As an entrepreneur, you have to juggle many things and wear many hats."

Buckle in cement

Reflecting on the success that is still emerging, Davis says she's grateful for the well-roundedness Bowdoin fostered within her, and says it has helped her through the highs and lows that come with following a dream.

"I think what presents the greatest challenge is to stay optimistic and continue to believe anything is possible even if what you are doing seems like a long shot."

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