Sole Sessions with Steve Madden

Sponsored by Steve Madden

You can’t think about shoes without thinking about the brand, Steve Madden. The label is ubiquitous in the industry, with every fashionista owning at least one pair. Everyone has a Steve Madden story; including, the businessman and designer himself.

Steve Madden, the man behind the namesake label started the company with a $1,100 investment and a car, which acted as his initial office. Now, 26 years later, the brand and the man are iconic members of the fashion industry.


How could you not want to know more? Steve Madden is letting CollegeFashionista in on his secrets to success, talking entrepreneurship, fashion and legacies.

Join us on Monday, October 24th from 5:30 – 6:30PM at the University of Florida for an empowering conversation between Steve Madden and CollegeFashionista’s founder, Amy Levin.

For those of you who don’t live in the Florida-area, check out a sneak peak of Madden’s words of wisdom below!


CollegeFashionista: We know you started your business with only $1,100. What was that time like for you? Were you anxious about the risk or just excited about the possibility of success?

Steve Madden: I was very nervous! I had butterflies in my stomach every morning but I powered through it because I was focused on the big picture and how to use that money wisely. I had to make every dollar count.

CF: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs hoping to follow your lead?

SM: Be prepared to work long hours and don’t expect overnight success. People think it’s glamorous all the time and it’s not. If you are not working the long hours then no one else is. You have to set the pace for your team.

And build a good team! That’s so important. I have people that started with me 25 years ago that are still here.

CF: What skills do you think are essential to being an entrepreneur?

SM: Being a good reader of people is an indispensable quality in an entrepreneur — I have a very good sense about people, knowing what you can and can’t do, who would be a good employee, who to stay away from.


Want to meet Steve Madden? Now’s your chance — in 140 characters or less, tweet @CFashionista why you deserve the opportunity.


This week I had the opportunity to attend Pitti Uomo, self-described as “the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections and for launching new projects in men’s fashion.” Everyone knew that Pitti was in town because Firenze was suddenly booming with Fashionistas and Fashionistos, more so than usual. There were quite a few common trends seen among the men and it was clear that they were all fluent in fashion.

This Fashionisto caught my eye from all the way across the street. As he was investing in the street vendor hipster-esque fedora you see above, I dodged traffic to snap a pic. His outfit alone was enough to stop traffic.

The cropped plaid pants are a statement, but paired with the rich turquoise blazer to bring out the color in the pants, they tied this outfit together in a bold way. The Oxford-style textured leather loafers were a key accessory with this outfit as well. Each accessory, the fedora, the initialed gold belt buckle to bring out the gold pins on his blazer and the original leather handbag had a strong individual presence, but this Fashionisto eloquently paired all together to create an entirely BOLD look. Cropped pants were very popular among the men at Pitti Uomo, and each one was styled to their unique taste. I’m certainly a fan of the cropped trouser, and when they are used as the focal point it is easy to dress around it by pairing the perfect blazer, hat and Oxfords just by using the colors in the trousers, perfectly demonstrated by this Fashionisto! I loved that he used each color from the plaid to put together this ensemble; from the classic white button-up tying in the white details in the plaid and on the leather bag, the black leather shoes to match the plaid and tie in the black bag, the bright turquoise blazer to bring out the turquoise in the plaid and finally adding the gold accents.

When I inquired about his belt and bag, he said that they were a part of his upcoming line. Based out of Los Angeles, Dejon Marquis and his fiancé Raquel Celeste were visiting Florence to build connections for their brand ICanDress2. This is a definitely a brand to look out for! Check out their website for more information of ICanDress2 and fashion from Pitti Uomo, Milan Fashion Week and more!

Let’s hear it for the fashionable men of Florence and Pitti Uomo!

Captured: I spotted this Fashionisto at the Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy. As the men’s portion of the Pitti Immagine collection of fashion events, Pitti Uomo is a tradeshow in Florence, Italy that’s been around since 1972. It’s a four-day market-facing event in which retailers, buyers, and editors come together to view upcoming collections.

CollegeFashionista X Denim & Supply: We Came, We Saw, We Conquered Boston

Last week, we had the opportunity to head to one of our favorite cities—Boston! Besides getting to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery and meet all of our fabulous Boston-based Style Gurus, I got to host an event at one of my favorite stores—Denim & Supply.

There were amazing treats, a photo booth, great tunes and, of course, tons of amazing Denim & Supply fashion. The highlight of the evening was a styling contest. Two of our Style Gurus posed as models as event attendees dressed them in looks created with the latest fashions from Denim & Supply. The end results were fun and inspiring.

Be sure to check out the photo recap to relive all the fun. Couldn’t make it to the event? You can still shop the amazing new collections and more online with Denim & Supply!

Threads Fashion Show Red Carpet Recap

Every year, the Textile and Apparel Design students and Fashion Show Production class put on a spectacular that is not to be missed.  Last Saturday, May 11th, Style Gurus Jamey Hastings, Taylor Viegut and I had the honor of attending this year’s fashion show, Threads: Emerging Designers 2013. Our very own Chelsi Zollner helped in the production of the event. The concept behind the show was that the designers and their work came together like individual threads come together to make cloth. It took place in the beautiful, brand new School of Human Ecology building.

Before the show, we Style Gurus hosted a fabulous red carpet where attendees could get their photo snapped and relish in the glamour and high energy of the night. Check out our photo recap of some of the best-dressed attendees of the night here, and see the full red carpet recap on the University of Wisconsin Fashion Shows Facebook page.

CollegeFashionista x BOP Shopping Event Recap

I think it’s safe to say that we all bopped ‘till we dropped last Thursday at the CollegeFashionista X Bop shopping event. The store was crawling with Fashionistas, Style Gurus and Bop Tarts galore from the start of the event all the way to the very end. A few lucky shoppers walked away with a free Adia Kibur necklace, one Fashionista’s name was drawn to win a Marc by Marc Jacobs wallet and our best dressed pick of the night snagged a Rebecca Minkoff mini-MAC in the color of her choice (she picked light pink!).

We Wisconsin Style Gurus each styled a mannequin to display what we thought was the ultimate summer ensemble. We also each picked two pieces that we thought were Summer Essentials you must have in your summer wardrobe. In case you weren’t able to attend to event, check out all of our Summer Essentials choices below and relive the night through our photo recap.

Summer Essentials:

Denim vest – My first pick is a denim vest because I think it is crucial for this summer and worth investing in! It is very versatile and always takes an outfit up an extra notch of style. I love it styled over a sundress with a bold statement necklace and Rebecca Minkoff mini-MAC for an easy, comfortable outfit for those hot summer days. For a more edgy look, I like to pair it with high-waisted black denim shorts and a cute bralette. –Jamey Hastings

Tie-dye shorts – My second piece that is essential for summer is a pair of tie-dye and bleached denim shorts. After a long winter, I can’t wait to wear shorts all summer. I choose this pair specifically because I love bold colors. Since they are bold, I would pair them with a simple white tank top, brown booties and an oversized purse. For nighttime, I would pair them with a solid orange blouse and a pair of black wedges. – Jamey Hastings

Cropped tank – This cropped tank is perfect for summer because it is so breezy, comfortable and versatile. You could wear this shirt with a pair of high-waisted denim cutoffs, a silver necklace and sandals for an easy, everyday outfit. For a night out, pair this colorful tank with black skinny jeans and statement heels. – Nicole Lettiere

Leather shorts – Leather shorts are one of my summer essentials because they are so sleek and trendy. Leather makes any outfit look ultra-cool regardless of what you wear with it. I love these shorts with an open back top, black wedges and bangles for a going out outfit. – Nicole Lettiere

Statement pants – These yellow pants are definitely a summer essential because you can wear them to your internship with a blouse, a little blazer and heels, hanging out with friends with a baseball T-shirt and tennis shoes, or on a night out with a cute tank top and some crazy heels. Pants are definitely doing the talking in fashion lately. – Sammy Luterbach

Floral dress – The versatility of this fun dress makes it an easy summer essential. It would look fabulous at your job or internship with a jacket and heels and super cute on the weekend with Supergas and sunglasses. – Sammy Luterbach

Colored leather skirt – I chose this vegan leather skirt in periwinkle because of the fun and fresh look it creates. Periwinkle has been one of my favorite colors ever since I was a little girl and this skirt, is perfect to create a playful and youthful look in the summer. Plus the leather adds a unexpected edge. – Taylor Viegut

Crochet top – Crochet is my guilty pleasure during the summertime. Once the weather heats up I crave clothing that has a crochet look. It brings out the bohemian in all of us and keeps your summer outfit from looking too planned out. It has a carefree vibe and is also great to layer over your other basic summer essentials like shorts, skirts and dresses. – Taylor Viegut

Pencil skirt – I chose this Milly pencil skirt because of the spring colors and abstract patterns. The skirt is great to pair with a casual top (even a white V-neck) and also with something a little more dressy if needed. – Chelsi Zollner

Day Dress – My second summer essential was this STYLESTALKER day dress. I just felt it was perfect for transitioning from day to night by pairing it with jeans or leggings and lots of accessories. – Chelsi Zollner

CollegeFashionista x Bop Shopping Event

Bop is a guilty pleasure for every Fashionista in Madison. How many times have you sashayed into its stylish doors when you were supposed to be doing homework? Have you ever gone to pick up dinner and ended up at Bop instead? Confession: I have. And let’s be real; how many times have you called your mom begging for a little extra cash because you can’t live without the stash you’ve accumulated there? It’s a fabulous, albeit dangerous, store.

This Thursday the 25th from 6-8pm, however, you can throw all that danger and guilt out the door because CollegeFashionista has teamed up with Bop to throw a shopping event you can’t miss! All regular-priced merchandise will be 20 percent off, and there will be prizes and giveaways you’ll love. Get your summer wardrobe ready by shopping the Summer Essentials rack curated by us Wisconsin Style Gurus, and check out how each of us would style a fabulous summer ensemble.

I know you wouldn’t dare leave the house without looking stylish, but be sure to bring your A-game this Thursday. All of us Wisconsin Style Gurus will be snapping photos for the site—be sure to come say hi!

Can’t wait to see you there!


CollegeFashionista Teams Up With 7 For All Mankind

Holiday shopping is the perfect excuse to snag yourself a gift or two. We have partnered up with everyone’s favorite denim company, 7 For All Mankind, for a holiday shopping event at their Scottsdale, Arizona location. Join me for an afternoon of shopping, mocktails, makeovers and more. Here are a pair of jeans and jacket I am already eyeing in anticipation of the event. Even better, receive Smashbox Cosmetics and a Vogue subscription with purchase! Plus one lucky attendee has the chance to an iPad mini. Happy Holidays, indeed. See you there, Fashionistas!

When: Saturday, December 8, 2-5 pm

Where: 7 For All Mankind, Kierland Commons, 15215 North Kierland Blvd.

Please reply to


CollegeFashionista X Steve Madden X LF: Three Times the Fun

Two weeks ago, CollegeFashionista paired up with LF and Steve Madden to debut their exclusive shoe collaboration with some fabulous friends and Fashionistas. LF had plenty of great fashion finds, including a section styled by yours truly equipped with plenty of flannel and fur. The Steve Madden shoes were edgy, statement making, and definitely Fashionista worthy. And perhaps my favorite part, the Style Gurus from all the NYC based schools danced the evening away to the beats of DJ Chelsea Leyland. Dancing and Fashionistas- does it get much better than that?

When these three brands collided it was truly once, twice, three times the fashion. Be sure to check out the Steve Madden x LF collection exclusively at your local LF boutique. In the meantime, check out our photo recap for a sampling of the fun had by all.

CollegeFashionista X Madewell Advertorial: Get Styled Tour Recap

We hit the road with Madewell to meet, greet and style students in this season's five coolest pieces. We were lucky enough to visit Columbus, Ohio, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C.. Each event left me awe struck at the fashion worn by the trendsetting attendees. Perhaps even more, I was impressed by these Fashionistas/os styling skills and ability to pair together five key pieces so differently.

Tatiana from Columbus, Jordan, Carolyn and Sierra from Atlanta, and Sarah from Washington D.C. were our lucky winners at our three events! We asked each stylist how they put together their look and below are their answers: 

Tell us about your look and why you choose the pieces you styled? 

Tatiana, Columbus- “As an avid reader of CollegeFashionista blogs and other numerous fashion magazines, I've been loving the socks with heels look. Whether it's on the runway or the streets the trend can be seen everywhere and is functional as well as aesthetically intriguing. The pairing of the lace shorts with the soft, silky blouse is a mixing of textures that really balances the outfit. Jean jackets are really modernizing the '90s comeback and add warmth on a fall day. As I decided my outfit theme would be perfect for a warm but windy September day, the soft floppy hat helps characterize the outfit as such while simultaneously complementing the shoes. The beige and rose color scheme I chose to exemplify fall, and also look wonderful with the complexion of my model. The accessories were kept simple; a gold necklace to draw attention to the chest and a set of bangles to add a little jingle when she walks! The belt cinching the waist gives her a feminine shape around the middle.”

Jordan, Atlanta “I picked the boots because they were masculine, yet subtly feminine at the same time…a big trend this season with boots, you know, gender-bender fashion.” ; “Musicians inspire fashion, honestly. For example, with this outfit, we thought of Rihanna’s all denim outfit from her concert or her music video for, “We Found Love,” thus we chose the combination of the denim vest and skinny jeans.” ; “Since I’m from a small town, I find I have to try a little bit harder to find edgy fashion – overcompensate. Yet I find bold and big is always better.” ; “You need to have inspiration behind fashion, need to come from a deeper place for fashion, then, ultimately, you will make a killer outfit.”

Carolyn, Atlanta “I look at street-wear, or participate in the simple act of people watching, so I see what others are wearing and I recreate and implement certain aspects I like, which is how we chose the boots.” ; “Coming from Chicago, I didn’t want to change my style…I’m staying true to my self.” ; “Being labeled as ridiculous is my thing [she laughs].”

Sierra, Atlanta: “Fashion is everything for everyone.”

Sarah, D.C.- ““I picked the denim chambray off the rack to act as a replacement for a white button down in this men’s wear inspired look. I was instantly drawn to the fuzzy baby blue sweater and used it as the staple for the rest of the outfit; I tied everything together by using the burgundy red fedora. ”

Thanks to Madewell for co-hosting our Get Styled Campus Tour! Enjoy our photo recap for this noteworthy series of events. 

**winning looks are images 1,2,3,4

CollegeFashionista X Frye Advertorial: CollegeFashionista Gets Fryespotted

Frye boots have been a staple of college wardrobes for some time now. Back when I was in school, I wore my Frye harness boots to class, to football games, and even out with friends. They literally took me everywhere and never got worn out. Even all these years later, I still wear them on the reg.

Can you really ask for anything better? How about Frye pop up shops and the opportunity to be styled and photographed by me for CollegeFashionista? Okay then, if you insist.

This weekend, Frye’s new mini boutiques are popping up in New York City. As an extra perk for our readers, I will also be on hand at their Union Square location from 12-2 pm to help style their new shoes and take photos of my favorite street style looks.

Already have a pair of Frye boots that you live in? Fantastic! Make sure to wear them to be showcased on FryeSpotted. Have you been eyeing a pair for a while now? Equally fantastic. From the Western inspired Billy Boot to the Studded Rogan Engineer, there is seriously a style for every CollegeFashionista and Fashionisto. Plus, the bested dressed Fashionista/o will receive a free pair of Frye Campus Zip Boots

Frye’s mini boutiques will be located:

         Saturday, September 17ths 10am-2pm in Union Square (between E 14th & E 15th)

         Sunday, September 18th 12-4pm 59th & 5th (in front of Apple)

         Saturday, September 24th 10am- 2pm in Ft Green, Brooklyn (Lafayette b/w Clermont & Vanderbilt)

         Sunday, September 25th 12pm-4pm in Soho (Mercer Street b/w Prince & Spring)

Fall is upon us, Fashionistas. There’s no better time than now to pick out a great pair of boots that will last you through the season and beyond. I hope to see you this weekend as CollegeFashionista does some Frye-spotting.

Be sure to follow @TheFryeCompany and @CFashionista and the hashtag #stylegurufrye for updates from our team this Saturday at Union Square.