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Steve Madden's Documentary Chronicles His Rise, Fall and Rise Again in The Fashion World

Last night, SVA Theatre in New York City hosted fashion legend Steve Madden and director Ben Patterson to premiere their documentary Maddman: The Steve Madden Story.  The documentary has a very interesting start to it, where the filmmaker goes around and asks random people who Steve Madden really is.  They know of his legendary brand, but do they know the man behind it? 

The film chronicles Steve's life and how he got to where he is right now, along with some major bumps in the road including a stint in prison that forever changed his life for the positive.  For anyone who has an entrepreneurial drive and spirit, this is definitely a documentary you are going to want to see.

Steve grew up in my hood of Long Island (Lawrence to be exact) where at a young age he worked at a local shoe store which started his passion for footwear in the fashion industry.  One of the most impressive parts of the documentary for me was when he started his company with $1,100 back in 1990 and sold the shoes out of his car.

His idea of selling shoes out of his car worked, and the brand started exploding during the 1990's.  I felt major nostalgia when they showed their old school commercials to promote their brand, which would have female models with their heads majorly enlarged and the other focus of it being his amazing line of shoes.  It was something that no one else was doing at the time, and it helped make the brand a major success.

Steve also details his time in prison, for which he spent three years in due to stock manipulation, money, and securities fraud.  Instead of doing what most people would do and simply sulk and wallow in what their life has become, Steve took it as an opportunity to ready himself for when he got out, and also made some friends while in there. 

One in particular now works for the company, as Steve is a major supporter of The Doe Fund, which is a nonprofit organization in the United States that provides paid transitional work, housing, educational opportunities, counseling, and career training to people with histories of homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse.

Not only was his time in jail effective, but he also was able to find love while there. He married his former director of operations Wendy Ballew, and they wound up having three children together.  Although the couple divorced back in 2015, she still shows major support for him during the film, and thinks his time in prison turned out to be something for the better for him in the long run.

Steve was released from prison in 2005, and was able to help his company rebound after the major loss they suffered due to his imprisonment.  The brand still remains a vital force in the fashion world today, and his spirits with it are still very upbeat and high, in particular at last night's premiere.  This is definitely an awe-inspiring documentary that you are going to want to see, as even in the toughest of times, you can find the light.

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