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Kicking Up Her Heels

Paradise Valley’s Joan Dominiqué creates her own path with her fashion house’s influential shoes

To most, they’re names that grace clothing labels in high-end walk-in closets.

But for Paradise Valley native Joan Dominiqué, Alice + Olivia, Kenneth Cole, and Diane von Furstenberg became names on her professional resume by the time she was barely old enough to legally be served a glass of champagne to toast her success.

Today at 24, the designer of men’s and women’s shoes has celebrities and tastemakers flaunting her craveable runway-worthy kicks.

The founder and creative director of her eponymous brand Joan Dominiqué ( runs a sleek online shop, in addition to her showroom at Pyramid on Central in Phoenix.

Her ever-evolving collection flaunts more than a dozen women’s and men’s head-turning designs. The women’s pieces are status symbols while the men’s line has its own niche with conservative looks that push boundaries.

Dominiqué’s appointment-only bespoke clients want her to create their dream shoe. Her special touch includes framed sketches of their shoes as gifts.

“It’s a way to make it truly special,” she says.

Dominiqué got her first real taste of the fashion industry at 15, working with Phoenix Fashion week. At 16, she landed a paid internship at Alice + Olivia in New York City.

But it wasn’t the first time she realized this could be a career.

In the second grade, she did class project on fashion icon Donna Karan, who made an impact on the budding designer.

“That was the first time I was exposed to the idea… I can be a fashion designer and people will wear my clothes? Wow!” she recalls.

Fast-forward to her graduation from The School of Fashion at Parsons The New School, Donna Karan’s alma mater. She got job offers that promised a not shabby $40 an hour.

Most would jump at this chance. But Dominiqué is not like most. She turned them down to pursue her dream of having a fashion house with her name on it. Taking those jobs could be an irreversible detour.

Her entrepreneur mother offered guidance and support needed to do the near unthinkable: Turn down a lucrative paycheck to chase her goal in a cutthroat industry.

She admitted she was nervous.

“Absolutely I was. But I’m going to take the path that most people don’t,” she says. “There were a lot of uncertainties, but it ended up being the best path.”

She worked for designers in the U.S. and Europe before starting Maison Joan Dominiqué in 2018. This summer, she will unveil her limited edition series Rite—all-inclusive bridal shoe sets for couples slated for heterosexual or same-sex unions. These special order designs can be customized for each couple’s preferences. The tagline: “In celebration of all love.”

“It’ll be something cool to shake up the shoe industry,” she says.

Recently, Dominiqué participated in a project for G Road, a Phoenix nonprofit that works to improve the quality of afterschool programming. This is done through fostering relationships with professionals in the community who provide mentoring through sharing their respective careers with kids.

Dominiqué had them create a character and sketch it out. She then designed a shoe for that character that’s sold on her website.

“We had the most fun with these kids. Their imagination is so untapped and there’s no limit to it,” she says.

What also gives her a boost is the feedback she receives from those she’s inspired from afar.

“So many people tell me, ‘Thank you so much for your ambition. You getting out there and doing the work has gotten me to do X, Y, and Z.’ I cherish every one of those stories,” she says. “Thankfully it has that domino effect.”

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