Telephone Repairman Follows A Life-Long Dream: Designing Women’s Shoes


When I first heard Chris Donovan’s story I thought to myself, I don’t care what it takes. I have to interview this man.

It took several months and a dozen or so email exchanges. But last month, I traveled to Massachusetts with only one thing in mind: interview the telephone repairman who is now focused solely on the one thing he always wanted to do in life: design women’s shoes.

Since his junior year in high school, Chris Donovan has been sketching women’s shoes. It’s been his quiet obsession for the 30+ years. But at the age of 50, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And he knew it was time to leave his safe job at the phone company to pursue his lifelong dream. “I need to follow this. I need to find out why I have this passion for shoes.”

Based on the recommendation of European shoe designer Aki Choklat, he was accepted to Polimoda, one of the best fashion design institutes in the world. He enrolled in an accelerated masters program and packed his bags for Florence, Italy. And while his first few months were difficult, he ended up graduating at the top of his class.

In January, 2019, he will launch a new line of shoes at Chris Donovan Footwear. Take it from Tim Gunn of Project Runway: it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

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Check out Chris’ new line of shoes on his website.

Finally, here’s a photo of Chris Donovan and his incredibly-supportive partner Steve Wierzbicki.