Jane Gershon Weitzman, the inimitable woman behind much of the success of Stuart Weitzman Shoes, has been a fan of Kevin O’Brien Studio, and a friend of Kevin’s for many years. Building their company since the ’80s she and Stuart have sold their business and now Jane has even better things to do, she raises money for any number of good causes through a book about shoes she has created. Now that we at Kevin O’Brien Studio are finally on our feet in our new headquarters (a totally rebuilt movie theater from the thirties), we are able to invite people to our manufacturing and design facility. So it became clear that Jane and Kevin had to do something together, that something was an event to support the work of the AIDS Fund.
For many years, Kevin O’Brien Studio lived up to the description “scrappy upstart” and did our business from a historic, but creaky and ancient loft in Philadelphia’s Old City district, but all things, even companies, must grow up. After an unseemly long adolescence, we have burst upon the scene (in our own minds at least) and opened our beautiful new space to our guests. On a recent May evening, Jane gave her funny and heartwarming address about her new book, Art&Sole. The book would seem to just be about shoes, but the stories that Jane told were about a lifetime of using her company to create opportunities for all sorts of New Yorkers who needed a bit of a helping hand, be it in the LGBT community, inner city schools, or breast and ovarian cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd as Jane recited stories about how she was able to help so many people simply by thinking differently about how to use her position at a very successful company.
Afterwards, Jane answered lots of questions and signed books while the Aids Fund volunteers served up food and drinks. Meanwhile, Kevin and Angela (the KOBS manager) gave tours of our facilities. Then the raffle winners were read out and people went home with goodies from El Dorado Rum, Bernie Robbins, Bitars Restaurant, Starbucks, Trinity Framing, Merritt Gallery, Philadelphia Theatre Company, In Liquid, A Girl Named Katie, Shane’s Candies, Candy Coated, Blush Salon, South Philly Accupunture, Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market, Nickolette Phillips Design & Tailoring, Eat-a-Pita,
More Then Just Ice Cream and artists such as Nikolay Milushev (YOMI t.g.m.b.) and Tim McFarlane.
Serious money was raised and serious fun was had.