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Joan and David

award footwear shoe design

Awards: American Fashion Critics Coty Award, 1978
         Footwear New Designer of the Year Award, 1986
         Cutty Sark Award, 1986
         Fashion Footwear Association of New York Award, 1990
         Michelangelo Award, 1993
         Women’s Achievement Award Girl Scout Council of Greater New York, 1995
         Financial Women’s Association Entrepreneurial Award, 1996
         The Michael Awards for the Fashion Industry—First Award for Footwear Design, 1996
         The Athena Award, Hunter College, New York, 1997
         The Shattered Ceiling Award, Atlanta Women’s Fund, 1997

Joan and David, a subsidiary of Joan and David Helpern, Inc., is owned by Joan and David Helpern. Joan and David’s first success as retailers came in 1948 when they operated leased shoe departments in department and specialty stores. In 1977, guided by Joan’s design philosophy that women should have stylish shoes that are both comfortable and classic, the company launched the Joan and David label in their stores and supplied other retail operations with their line.

Joan Helpern, who earned a Ph.D. at Harvard University in child psychology and is the mother of two, is the designer for Joan and David. She works entirely by instinct, having received no formal training in the business. Joan’s unexpected role as a designer began when she realized that she needed fashionable yet comfortable shoes to meet the demands of her busy lifestyle, and she was inspired to design a flat, oxford-style shoe. From that simple shoe, Joan began to design a wide assortment of styles to fit the varying personalities of the Joan and David customer.

The success of Joan and David’s footwear designs can be contributed to their merchandising strategies. No two stores carry exactly the same merchandise. They also believe in the limited edition, which helps to keep their product lines unique. With the success of their footwear, Joan and David expanded into other product lines including men’s footwear, handbags, belts and small leather goods, umbrellas, scarves, jewelry, hats, and socks. They also brought their unique combination of simple silhouettes, textures, and colors to women’s apparel lines. The Joan and David, Joan and David Too, and Joan and David Couture lines can be found in over eighty retail stores across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Joan and David’s practical design philosophy has influenced the shoe industry and the way in which customers buy shoes. That stylish, yet practical shoe is available for those concerned with comfort and quality. Joan and David have succeeded in focusing on the wants and needs of footwear and apparel in today’s fast-paced society.

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