Hall of Fame

Though born into a footwear fam­ily, the de­signer and en­tre­pre­neur has paved his own path to suc­cess with clear vi­sion and tire­less ef­fort.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By ERIN E. CLACK

Marc Fisher

Marc Fisher grew up sur­rounded by shoes. The son of the late Nine West co-founder, Jerome Fisher, he set his sights on a ca­reer in the in­dus­try when he was still a child, tag­ging along with his fa­ther to trade shows, din­ners with cus­tomers and trips to the brand’s Brazil­ian fac­to­ries. “There was never even a ques­tion that I’d do any­thing else. As far back as

I can re­mem­ber, I wanted to work with my dad. I loved ev­ery­thing about the shoe busi­ness,” he said.

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from col­lege in 1980, the younger Fisher joined Nine West and be­gan learn­ing all facets of the busi­ness be­fore tak­ing the helm of the com­pany’s pri­vate-la­bel divi­sion in 1984. He held that post un­til 1999, when Jones Ap­parel Group ac­quired the com­pany. While his fa­ther chose that mo­ment to re­tire, Fisher stayed on un­der the new own­er­ship.

By 2003, he was itching to strike out on his own, so Fisher gath­ered to­gether a small team and set up shop in his garage, paving the way for the launch of Marc Fisher Footwear. His fledg­ling firm got off to an aus­pi­cious start in 2005, land­ing a ma­jor li­cens­ing deal with Guess. Over the next decade, Fisher steadily built a women’s footwear powerhouse, snap­ping up other high-pro­file li­censes — among them Tommy Hil­figer and Tre­torn — and mak­ing sev­eral big ac­qui­si­tions, in­clud­ing Siger­son Mor­ri­son, Easy Spirit and Unisa.

He also turned his tal­ents to de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing his own col­lec­tions: Marc Fisher, the higher-end Marc Fisher LTD and the junior-fo­cused In­digo Rd. “We felt there were op­por­tu­ni­ties to do dif­fer­ent things [be­yond our li­censed col­lec­tions],” Fisher re­called. “We don’t al­ways have to li­cense. It’s im­por­tant to be di­ver­si­fied.”

Fisher’s partners and peers said his knowl­edge and pas­sion for shoes run deep, fu­el­ing his com­pany’s suc­cess. “Marc is a real footwear pro. His at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­pec­ca­ble,” said de­signer Tommy Hil­figer. “[His] brand port­fo­lio speaks for it­self, and the de­vel­op­ment of his own brand has been in­cred­i­bly im­pres­sive.”

Stu­art Weitz­man, who met Fisher in the early days of his ca­reer through Jerome, noted that be­yond his busi­ness tri­umphs, Fisher has ad­mirably car­ried on his fam­ily’s legacy of pay­ing their suc­cess for­ward. “Marc is just a su­per guy,” Weitz­man said. “What I ad­mire so much about him, as I did his fa­ther, is his com­pas­sion for the world out­side of footwear. [With causes such as FFANY Shoes on Sale], phi­lan­thropy plays a big role in Marc’s life. What bet­ter way to be re­mem­bered than do­ing your life’s work well and then help­ing oth­ers be­cause of that suc­cess?”

As his com­pany heads into its 15th year, Fisher is tak­ing on a sur­pris­ing new chal­lenge: the turn­around of Nine West. In a full-cir­cle mo­ment, his firm has been tapped by Au­then­tic Brands Group to re­launch the la­bel’s shoe busi­ness, along with sis­ter brand Ban­dolino. (ABG pur­chased both in a bank­ruptcy auc­tion in June.)

Fisher said he is get­ting a kick out of work­ing with Nine West again. “I’m hav­ing fun, but there is a lot to fix. Un­for­tu­nately, the brand lost its way and went down a dif­fer­ent road. Our goal is to bring back the lus­ter and make Nine West a go-to for great fash­ion styles.”

In­deed for Fisher, the de­sire to cre­ate must-have prod­uct con­tin­ues to drive him af­ter decades in the busi­ness. “I love see­ing women wear our shoes. I love the fash­ion cy­cles, the con­stant changes, the new­ness,” he said. “Ev­ery sea­son, it’s like, ‘OK, let’s go, let’s hit it.’ It’s en­er­giz­ing.”

“I LOVE THE FASH­ION CY­CLES, THE CON­STANT CHANGES, THE NEW­NESS.”

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