Meet FGI Rising Star Accessories Winner, Chris Donovan. He became a shoe designer at the age of 55 after spending most of his career as a telephone repairman. Feeling unfulfilled with his current career, he decided to chase his lifelong passion of shoe design. With no design background, other than his sketches made throughout his life, Donovan left his job and entered the Masters in Footwear program at Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence, Italy. The program was able to help him retain his unique voice and bring it to a much higher level of sophistication. He opened the final graduation show with his collection and subsequently showed some of his designs at Dutch Design Week.

Back in Massachusetts, Donovan won a contest hosted by Project Runway to meet judge Tim Gunn and have him critique his work. Gunn noted his unique vision, developed from years spent drawing and studying his surroundings. For each collection, he draws inspiration from art, architecture, nature, found objects, and his many life experiences. The collection, which ranges from $385 to $895, is available for purchase on

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