Shoe and fashion legend Steve Madden was in Buckhead Saturday for a meet-and-greet at Macy’s at Lenox Square mall, and in an interview with the Neighbor beforehand, he talked about his trip to Atlanta.
The event was hosted by TV personality Julissa Bermudez of the Style Network’s series “Empire Girls.” Guests got to meet Madden and pose for photos as he autographed free branded T-shirts and tote bags. Some fans also won free shoes.
Madden, who lives in New York on the Upper East Side, said he visits Atlanta one to two times per year, “not enough.”
“It’s a great city,” he said. “What I really like is there is a great African-American following in the middle class. I always get a kick out of it.”
Madden started his company in Queens, N.Y., in 1990 with only $1,100 and turned it into a household name.
When asked what he looked forward to most about this trip to Atlanta, he said, “Just to meet the girls that wear our shoes and see what they’re like. It’s a different kind of city here with the African-American influence.”
Madden said when he comes to Atlanta, he spends most of his time in the Buckhead area. He added he did visit his Perimeter Mall store in Dunwoody Saturday morning.
As far as future plans, he said the company is always looking to do more.
“We’re looking to get better on our direct business, our Internet business and our social media,” he said. “We’re going to add more [products] to [the] Steve Madden [line] and are going to get more outlet stores and possibly acquire more brands. We want to expand the Steve Madden footprint all over the world.
As they waited in a line that stretched from the women’s shoe department to the escalators and beyond, fans talked about the opportunity to meet Madden.
Porche Jeffrey, a Buckhead resident, said she’s been a fan of his for 15 years.
“They said ‘free shoes,’ so I was on it. They said ‘Steve Madden,’ and I was doubly on it,” she said. “My daughter [Kali] is 17 and is a fashionista.”
Kali Jeffrey, a junior at North Atlanta High who aspires to become a fashion journalist, said she was also excited about the event.
Cindy Hernandez, of Atlantic Station, said she’s been a fan of Madden for 10 years.
“He’s definitely one of my favorite designers,” she said. “To get to meet him is one of my bucket list items I can check off.”
Tai Barksdale, 20, a downtown Atlanta resident, said she’s been a fan of Madden for eight years.
“I have always wanted to meet the man with the baseball cap,” she said, referring to Madden’s penchant for wearing the hats. “I found out about it through an email. I’m just excited.”
Her mother, Aleta Barksdale, added, “She’s always liked Steve Madden. When I saw the email message, I showed it to her and she just screamed.”