Nothing could stop Yeardley Smith from attending FN Platform — not even "The Simpsons" 500th episode press blitz. "I managed to make it here, but just for two hours," said the Marchez Vous founder and designer, who flew in from Los Angeles in between making the rounds for the series' milestone and her long-running role as the voice of Lisa Simpson. "It's probably safe to say I won't be on another television series for this long again," quipped Smith. But she is banking on some equally serious longevity for her footwear line, which launched last year. The collection, which was picked up by Zappos.com for spring, will expand with 24 styles for fall. "I test drive all my shoes," Smith said. "I wear them everywhere."
Is Selita Ebanks following in Kanye West's footsteps? Not exactly, but the model and upcoming host of BET's "Rip the Runway" will launch a sample collection of swimwear — Sass by Selita Ebanks — for the fall season. "[It's] similar to Kanye West in Paris, but on a smaller scale. ... I'm not as fabulous as Kanye," she said. But after swimwear, Ebanks also plans to roll out footwear under the Sass label, which stands for "Selita's accessories, shoes and swimwear," she said. "I dress from the bottom up," Ebanks added, naming Christian Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood, Giuseppe Zanotti and Rachel Roy as a few of her favorite designers. "A heel will take you from the pool to St. Barts, so why not?"
Blue-collar icon Mike Rowe always has his sleeves rolled up. Not only is he busy with his signature workboot collection for CAT but Rowe also is taking his "Dirty Jobs" show on the road. This time, he's going international, heading for Italy, China, Russia and Australia. While no definite jobs are lined up yet overseas, Rowe said Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised him, "Come down and you'll never smell right again." But whatever job he ends up with on that trip Down Under next month, Rowe doesn't have to worry about the wear and tear on his CAT boots. "I can destroy them," he said. "It's nice to know I have an inexhaustible supply I can fall back on."
Angela and Amber Cope are used to operating at full speed. The Nascar drivers have a busy Nationwide Series race schedule, in addition to serving as the face of Luichiny footwear, running their own five-year-old e-commerce fashion boutique (which also sells Luichiny) and heading up their beauty salon in Mooresville, N.C. The twins, who both graduated from cosmetology school, said their main interests — racing and style — might seem like an odd combination, but for them, it's an ideal fit. "You don't usually see fashion in the sport of Nascar, but this is who we are," said Angela Cope. "You get out of the car and you fix your hair and makeup." And Amber Cope noted that while Nascar drivers are required to wear special fireproof shoes on the race track, more-fashionable looks could be on the horizon. "Hopefully, Luichiny will come out with [a stylish version] for us," she said.
Lauren Jones is getting ready to put on her dancing shoes. The designer and actress is taking part in a charity "Dancing With the Mississippi Stars" competition in her hometown of Jackson this spring. "I'm totally scared of making a fool of myself," Jones told Spy, though she admitted to being excited about the costume prospects. Crossing her fingers for an ultra-glam gown, Jones also is hoping to don her own styles on the dance floor. Her top pick? A pair of satin cross-strap sandals with rhinestone details. "I definitely want something sparkly and fun," she said.
Forget X-Men, Z-Man is on the way. Tony Hsieh is turning into a superhero in March, when the Writers of the Round Table Press will debut an illustrated version of the Zappos CEO's bestseller, "Delivering Happiness." The publication is a literal interpretation of the book and Hsieh's success story, and while the exec is excited to be a comic-book hero of sorts, he's still getting used to the emotional impact his work has had so far on readers and fans. "I'm getting emails on a regular basis from people who say, ‘After reading the book, I quit my job and went to pursue my true passion,'" he said.
Toms Shoes can't be stopped. Since launching in 2006, the brand has broadened its collection well beyond the canvas shoe. And now, after the spring '12 rollout of ballet flats, it's going a step further. Company insiders revealed that Toms — which last week moved out of its cramped Santa Monica, Calif., warehouse into a corporate office building — is working on a high-end line that will retail for $150 and up, owing to department store demand. But executives are still trying to iron out the details for its impact on the one-for-one donation model.
A lot can happen in 10 years — just ask Creative Recreation co-founder Robert Nand, who recalled the early days, when he and Rich Cofinco created a makeshift booth in their garage for trade show use. Since then, the brand has collaborated with Barneys New York and landed more than 200 global accounts. To celebrate its journey, the brand will throw a digital birthday party on April 2 that will include the unveiling of the Cesario II style. "There won't be tequila bottles upside down at this party," Nand quipped. The soirée also marks the beginning of a succession of celebrity collaborations, though Nand was tight-lipped about specific names. Some likely candidates could be brand fans such as Kanye West, P. Diddy, Zac Efron and Adrien Brody.