Footwear News’ 31st annual FN Achievement Awards, appropriately coined the “Shoe Oscars,” drew a who’s who of the shoe industry to honor some of their very own innovators, creators, and successful newcomers at IAC Headquarters in New York City Tuesday night.
Receiving the highest accolade (Shoe of the Year) was designer Virgil Abloh for his Air Jordan 1 Off-White collaborative sneaker. He owed his success to his “intern spirit.”
“All that I could think while sitting here is that the only people that aren’t in the room for such an established moment like this are those interns that walk into our office and challenge the conventions, and I feel this award is representative of my emotion as an intern,” said Abloh.
Abloh then reflected on the “awesome rejection letters” he’d received from Nike in regards to his collaboration requests as a kid, before telling his peers to “high-five your intern tomorrow and tell them they can win Shoe of the Year Award too.”
Model and street style superstar Hailey Baldwin was in attendance to receive the Style Influencer of the Year Award. She also acknowledged young innovators for part of her success. “I try my best to pay attention to the culture that’s around me and to young people, especially,” said Baldwin. “I’m very inspired by the youth, constantly, and if I’ve inspired even one person then I at least feel like I’m doing one thing right,” she added.
Other guests and recipients included Alexa Chung (Launch of the Year Award), Tommy Hilfiger (presenter), Steve Madden (Company of the Year Award), Walt Clyde Frazier (presenter), Stan Smith (Manolo Blahnik Lifetime Achievement Award), Chloë Grace Moretz (presenter), Brooklyn Beckham, and Justine Skye.