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Black men and women are behind some of the most finely crafted footwear on the market.  A few have always known that they wanted to design shoes, some stumbled upon the industry while tending to other business, still others were recruited by loved ones eager to establish an entrepreneurial outlet for their artistry.  Whatever brought them to this corner of the fashion world, these sole providers are here to stay.

Vanessa and Angela Simmons

If it was money or status they were after, Vanessa and Angela Simmons pretty much had that bagged at birth.  But when your father is Rev. Run and your uncle is Russell Simmons, a desire to make your own mark on the world might be more acute.  With cameras trailing them for the reality series Daddy’s Girl, the sisters traded New York for LA and set about the business of building Pastry Footwear.  What started out as a four-item collection has morphed into a $50 million empire outfitting women and children around the world with sneakers, shoes, clothing and accessories.  As for what’s next, there’s a Barbie doll in the works, as well as negotiations to team up with the WNBA.

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