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Grad is the Creative Director and Entrepreneur Behind Glory Gold Shoes

Grad is the Creative Director and Entrepreneur Behind Glory Gold Shoes

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Tanise Hill fell in love with shoes at an early age. She studied Fashion Design and Footwear Design & Development at FIDM, graduating in 2004, and joined Restricted Footwear the following year. After a successful seven-year career at the LA-based shoe brand, Tanise decided to launch her own premium designer label, Glory Gold, in 2013. Crafted from the finest leathers, each pair of Glory Gold shoes are made with breathable memory foam for comfort and support. We recently caught up with Tanise, who is currently based in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to learn more about her story. 

When did you first know you wanted to be a Footwear Designer? I had always been interested in fashion, and at an early age I began to fall in love with shoes. So when I discovered that I wanted to be a fashion designer, I knew my focus was going to be shoes.

What was your path to FIDM? My path to FIDM was a blessing in disguise. I knew from high school that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and fashion designer, so I chose business and fashion classes as my electives. In one of my fashion classes, I was introduced to FIDM as an opportunity to further my fashion education, but at that time FIDM did not have the specific footwear focus I was seeking. So, I applied and was accepted to Parsons in New York. I was supposed to start school during the fall of 2001, but after September 11, I knew I would not attend Parsons that year. In the meantime, I attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri for one year studying business and fashion. I thought I would start at Parsons the following year, but by that time, FIDM had developed a Footwear Design & Development program as an Advanced Study degree, and it seemed serendipitous! 

The only caveat was that the Fashion Design program was a prerequisite, so I planned to start at FIDM studying Fashion Design first. Due to the schedule of FIDM quarters, the Footwear program was set to start during the end of my second year of the Fashion program. To achieve my goals, I had to get special approval from the Admissions Director to overlap the two programs.

What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned at FIDM? The most valuable lesson learned was the importance of focus. Through rigorous projects and weekly deadlines, you have to stay focused in order to do quality work. More specifically to fashion, successful designs and collections have a clear and focused vision. I think during my time at FIDM, many of my classes indoctrinated that lesson. 

What led you to strike out on your own after working for seven years at Restricted Footwear? I loved designing with Restricted; it was a very fun time in my career. I was given the freedom to be creative and design trend-driven collections, many of which were featured in top publications and television shows. One of my designs was copied by probably the most famous shoe designer of our generation. But in the spirit of growth and exploring more areas of my craft, I wanted to expand the reach of my designs. 

Tell us about the inspiration behind your brand Glory Gold: As a young, successful, ambitious, professional woman, I wanted to create designs that embody that personality and from that perspective. I strive for my designs to empower women to be at their best by looking and feeling their best. I wanted to bring my sophisticated style to market, and create designs that inspire the importance of being polished.

How do you enjoy entrepreneurship? What are some of the challenges? I enjoy learning all of the other aspects of running a business, such as marketing, accounting, and logistics, which is another nod to a lesson learned at FIDM. One of my teachers expressed the importance of taking advantage of any and all opportunities to work in different departments when you land a job, so that if you do decide to become an entrepreneur, you will have gained some of those experiences. The challenge for me currently is resisting the urge to want to delve deeper into those other roles because I just do not have the time. I try as much as possible to keep my focus on design and creating new collections.

What advice would you give to an aspiring shoe designer? There are a lot of technical aspects of shoe design. I think even before I truly experienced that I would need the technical knowledge, I knew how important it was to learn. Being creative and fashionable is only half of what it takes to be a designer. To be successful you must learn the fundamentals of design and what elements create a great pair of shoes.

Learn more at glorygoldlabel.com and on Instagram @glorygoldlabel.

Categories:  Fashion Design Footwear Design & Development Alumni