Phil LaDuca and his team have issued an apology to the Broadway and dance community. They said: "We apologize for the insensitivity of our previous actions. We are listening and we are learning. Coming soon all LaDuca Shoes will be available in a greater variety of skin tones."
The apology, via Instagram, comes as a response to the community's reaction to racism on Broadway and throughout the performing arts. A petition organized by the "We See You, White American Theater" movement had over 70,000 signatures this morning.
LaDuca continued: "All of our stock shoes will be sold in diverse skin tones. No performer will pay more for any shoe to reflect an ethnicity. The shoes will properly reflect the identity of the community of dancers who wear them. We acknowledge this is long overdue. All of this is happening actively, including our starting to produce production samples. We will do better."
Phil spoke to us today. He added to his apology: "The BIPOC community has long been the backbone of our industry but have never gotten the recognition they deserve. This has been long overdue and a small step forward towards changing that."
Initial reaction from his community was positive. Ballerina Jaime Reid said: "Finally! 👏🏽 I have been wanting your shoes for ages, but no skin tone options kept me away."
"Beautiful thank you 🙏" added Jaye Allison, an independent dance artist, producer, and choreographer. "It's a better day now. Excited to get a new heel that blends with me all year long."
Phil LaDuca's business has always been based in Hell's Kitchen (although he now has shops in Los Angeles and London's West End).
When we last spoke, Phil shared: "I started on 9th Ave – 39th/40th St and the area was still a bit sketchy. But I was the first new shoe store to open in the area in over 50 years and every day was an adventure, from having Meryl Streep to Bette Midler walking in alone, to 20 Radio City Rockettes in for fittings, to limousines pulling up with high society ladies who had heard about me. All set amid the backdrop of some very unsavory street people, many of whom I came to know and befriend as 'the regulars'. It was a very colorful beginning for LaDuca shoes for sure!"
He moved his shop to W45th St - 10th/11th Ave last year.
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