Davis Guay: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Montreal-based shoe designer Davis Guay, who’s currently putting his signature style on footwear brand Cartel. We caught up with him to find out where he sees himself in 5, 10, and 20 years, as well as what advice he would share with other young professionals…



1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I observe, and then I create. I design and I conceptualize for the footwear brand Cartel.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
The inspiration was organic to the point that it almost can’t be called “inspiration.” Growing up in the punk rock community, you see the impact footwear can have in communicating a message, whether it be your Chuck Taylors, your Nikes, or your Dr. Martens. I was drawn to the power footwear has to communicate so much about an individual who wears it. Then, as you spend time in factories, you begin to appreciate the art in the physical craft of making a shoe. Learning the subtleties involved in making a beautiful product is infectious. 

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
When I think back to big career moments, it’s never about a big break or a good payday. It’s the first time I was riding the subway and I saw someone wearing a pair of shoes I designed. I remember thinking they looked good (both the person and the shoes) and feeling very validated that someone appreciates something I had a hand in making.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
What I enjoy about what I do is the freedom to create and constantly be in the company of people who know more than I do about what we’re doing. I need to be learning to feel inspired. As long as I’m creating and learning, I’ll be happy where I am.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Make sure everything you do is for the right reason. Question yourself constantly to avoid complacency, and be aware of your potential.

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I know its not the same, but I am a strong advocate for supporting local musicians. Growing up in a musical family, and in musical circles, I’ve seen the importance this support can have – from the ability to keep kids off the street and interested in the arts, to putting food on the table.

 7. What does the word notable mean to you?
It means you’re doing something relevant, regardless of field or intention, and you are worthy of note for that. I’m grateful to be considered under these circumstances today.


1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I’m a total diner guy: greasy eggs, club sandwiches, watery coffee. That’s my scene. Luckily I Live in Montreal, where there is certainly no shortage of greasy spoons.

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser?
I’ll read online record reviews in the morning while I have my coffee. Apart from various photo/art inspiration portals, my internet usage is probably what would be expected of the average 70-year-old man.

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
To say I’m behind the times on social media would be an understatement. I just got my first iPhone.

4. What’s your favourite cocktail?
Michelada, which is kind of like a Mexican Caesar using beer. This is the drink I just can’t get right making at home despite my best efforts. Anytime I find it on a menu I’m sure to take advantage.

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
After a Google search I can safely say I don’t suffer this affliction. If anything I might have a bit of whatever the opposite of that would be. ”Fear of Going Out” may be a bit more accurate in my case.

6. What would be your last meal? And don’t hold back…
Chicken and waffles… and diner coffee.

7. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Pizza, hands down. I have three pizzerias on call just so I don’t feel judged by them for calling “too often.” And cigarettes.


Photo: Cristopher Morrisson