Most famous shoe designers are older white men, many of whom mass produce their products. Baltimore shoe designer Tori Soudan is changing the game, she brings shoe designs to life with her own special touch. She believes that shoes are emotional, and not something to be made on an assembly line. Soudan’s start in fashion began at the age of nine when her mother began teaching her how to make Easter dresses, then as she grew older as a teenager, her mother showed her how to make prom dresses for her friends. While attending Spelman College in 1994, the shoe designer participated in a study abroad program and traveled to Italy. While overseas she developed an interest in shoe design, after witnessing a demonstration by a master shoemaker on the outskirts of Venice. After graduating from college, Soudan went on to study at the Parson’s Institute of Design in New York, which led to an internship with Tommy Hilfiger. Following these achievements, she earned an MBA in finance from Northeastern University in Boston, so she would have the knowledge to start her own business.
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