This is my final post related to study of Footwear Design at Leicester college/De Monthford university and to subject ‘Profesional development’ module undertaken in 2nd year.
I have applied to various companies that i found contact for and also agencies operating in East middlands, and few companies in London. Those were; Elan Polo, T& A (producing shoes for River Island, Next) Hush Puppies, Superhouse Limited, Brantano, Shoezone, Unito. I have registered in online database with other known companies like Jimmy CHoo, Sergio Rossi, Roberto Botella, Pepe Jeans, Ravel, Asos, Fendi, Jil Sander. The companies i have registered with were: Fashion Retails Personel, Freedom Recruitment, Elite Associates, 24 seveninc. co.uk, Fashion Jobs Board.com, Fashion Monitor, Fashion Therapy, Indesign Recruitment, Pakter.com,UandI Recruitment.
As a freelance designer i have opened a profile on a couple websites like PeoplePerHour, Elance.com, Guru.com. The websites i was looking at when searching for jobs as a footwear designer were social sites like Twitter/UK Fashion Intern, Fashion United/career,Fashion Capital, Fashion industry Network, Creativepool. So far i have gotten a few responses stating the same, that i have no required work experience at least 1 year and when i do get it they may offer me jobs.
The placement where work experience have been taken was with a company called Freed. It is an english company based in Leicester and London, East Middlands and producing dancing shoes -ballroom shoes, ballet shoes, salsa shoes. It is a well-known established company supplying shoes for dancers all over the world.
The visit to the factory was undertaken in order to understand the shoemaking process. The company producing about 30-40 pairs of shoes each day in London or Leicester factory, 250.000 pair of shoes in each year selling them in 50 countries. Each process of manufacture is hand-made and each shoe costs around 40-50£ and the ballerina shoes 100£. On the bottom of shoes a logo can be seen as a signature to fine craftsmanship. The brand has its long heritage starting at 1920 when Frederic Freed opened a small shop on basement , with his wife and quickly found the sucess. The company distinguishes herrself with unusual soft pastel colour, perfect fit and interesting design which make the shoes popular among dancers. The factory was quite smaller than i would expect, but huge storage of thousands of shoes, much more than on the website. The manufacturing pointed shoe was interesting to see, it is a hard work to make, and each shoe takes about an hour to make. The process of shoemaking was much more diverse than i could see in college. To make a business with dancing shoes is a clever idea because dancers need constantly new shoes, often new pair with each day of dancing and the theatre spends thousands of pounds just on shoes each year.
Designing for the company was a challenge , as it was important to understand their manufacturing and creative process, to stick it to history of the brand, to brand’s costumers, the materials and components used, and trends in dancing shoes. The brief was set up trough the presentation at Leicester college and was clear and well informed and there was no need to keep in touch with the company and most of the work was independent.
During the designing i felt there were creative restrictions as the shoes were made of similar materials, and a few designs that were similar to each other and there was no space for own creativity and incorporating new trends and re-modernizing the product. However, designing dancing shoes was a valuable experience contributing to my development, and i learnt new skills that i might use in a future career when designing for similar brand and feel confident about new gained experience.
One of the challenges was a time- management and self-discipline in order to manage time between college, independent study and other work. This has taught me the importance of professional manners when co-operating with a company and to make a plan carefully to meet the deadline. Therefore, i made a plan with orginizing the work for each day for 10 weeks and at the end of the day i wrote what was done and what had to be done in next few days. At the beginning, it the researching stage i was uncertain how it will end up, but as time progressed and work developed further, i gained a confidence and enjoyed the working process of each stage. The researching stage took about three days , subsequently the desigin work took 10 hours a week, drawing flat sketches took additional 8 hours a week, all together a 72 hours.
I am not sure if my work will be valued for this company, but it definitely helped me to build a portfolio and my skills might be valuable for other dancing shoe company. I felt i had a great support from the company in terms of clear brief on presentation day, and a fantastic experience when visiting a factory and got insight of the company working process. i also appreciated the availability of management through emails, and i felt valued by the individual approach of the staff to us and that we were treated as a potential employee. The only problem i had to overcome was a time management and self-discipline to independent work.
My role in this company as a shoe designer was to re-vamp a ballroom dancing shoes trough developing the portfolio with a last 4 or 5 pieces, select the final design, this design develops in spec sheet for a manufacturing process, produce a pattern for the design and make sure it fits the last, and that last is production meets the requirement. I have learned a new skills in dancing shoes manufacturing, the materials and different kind of leather and fabric, i also learnt about strength and weakness of company . During the designing process i have applied my knowledge which i gained in a college and researching when writing this blog. For example i was aware of the importance of knowing brand’s custumer profiles, what custumers expect from the brand, and what is happening in society and how these changes are reflected in current trends. The economic situation, demography, technical development, globalization, architecture, art, celebrities, movies, all these things one has to think about in order to keep sales up. Thanks to classes in college, i have gained skills in designing, drawing flats, spec sheet, graphic work in CAD and shoe making and engeneering program which i have used when working on the project. By knowing a processes of shoemaking from the workshop it was much easier to design a realistic and wearable shoes.
Maintaining a contacts with people in the fashion industry is very important as in these days it is not about what you know but who you know. One of the best ways to keep in contact with people is trough social sites, blog posts, write in forums about the same interest, and get a valuable feedback from people or advice of experienced people. I try always to be polite and socialize with them and maintain a good reputation. They might also become a custumers or co-workers one day.
My new found strength is an ability to design various types of shoes from high street to couture, produce a clear technical drawings, make a saleble shoes liked by people, to spot a new trends in fashion , marketing knowledge and building an own brand. My discovered weakness was a self-discipline, low accuracy in making a patterns or clicking and stitching and missing talent in hand shoe making in the work shop. However, i believe that with a time and experience this weakness could be improved. Besides shoe making;-)
The course gave me a basic knowledge and skills that are necessary for finding a work placement , helped me to build a portfolio , gave me a confidence and believe in my work and i am going to continue to pursue my career as a footwear designer and perhaps establish my shoe brand with ladies shoes, or to do a freelance work and create shoes for celebrities and other costumers. What the course taught me is that even a talent isn’t enough to succeed in this highly comepetive area , that in fact, is a minimum requirement. Many people have talent but other personal qualities like hard work, strategic thinking, ability to work in a team and being a humble person eager to learn is most important.
If i could take my time back and to change things that i could do differently, then it would be a wiser time-management, better focus on college work, more independent study and gain a deeper knowledge in all the subjects.
Beyonce wear Balenciaga in 2013, but her most favorite shoe designer is CHristian Louboutin
Lady Gaga wear Emporio Armani in Paris tour in 2010. she is known for extremely high platforms that are impossible to wear for everyday walk. her most favorite designer is Mc Queen. those shoes became her trademark.
Karen O. is wearing CHristian Louboutin stilettos on stage during performing song called ”The Moon Song”
Rihanna’s hot thigh high CHristian Louboutin boots on Diamond tour
Balenciaga zigzaged heels in studio in New York last year
Gucci Viola boots during the 2012 during Victoria’s Secret fashion show
Madonna performing in Louboutin
Madonna’s own collection Truth or Dare. the shoes should be specially designed for high confortability and safety to lower chances of injuries during performance.
Britney Spears during performance, design unknown.
Miley Cyrus wearing Versace studded boots
Sarah Jessica Parker and Manolo Blahnik. The collaboration with designer brought him enormous popularity in movie ”Sex in the City”.
Because i have a big admiration of this brand’s degins, i would like to find out what makes this brand so succesful and keep loyal costumers for so many years. is it designs itself? good marketing and promotion?
Salvatore Ferragamo was an Italian shoe designer who started to design first shoes at age of nine for his sisters and family members. he quickly discovered his talent and moved with his family to Hollywood where his success started. he designed shoes for well known celebrities, actors (in instance Marylin Monre ‘Someone like it hot”) His designs were innovative, creative and comfortable because he went to study foot anatomy course. after 115 years he returned to Italy where due to lack of management skills and bad economy became almost bancrupt (wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Ferragamo) but somehow managed to operate company that produced 350 hand made shoes a day.
The family CEO of todays Ferragamo proclaims that (http://youtu.be/07Kvgzgd2Dc) the biggest success came from US. And they try to manage balance between traditional designs, innovation and trends. they value and respect the heritage of comany and the bigest challenge is to adapt to social changes. what made this brand known is celebrity colaboration, unique style, innovation and many years of passion of creative timeless shoes (http://youtu.be/xfxgthHMQzw). The brand is sticking up to Salvatore’s way of promotion by colaborating with top celebrities, the spectacular catwalk shows in Paris and Milano representing well the product, by opening a workshops with shoemaking techniques for cobblers, the ability to meet the specific by made-to-order requests and undoubtedly producing high quality and confortabily shoes. Each shoes are produced in Italy by talented craftsmen.
In 1989 the brand expanded to Honkong and opened 100 stores to this day, and asia became greatest share of brand’s revenues. The brand is maintaining its publicity trough involving with movies and pop culture, for example sponsoring the opening of film ‘Rush’ in 2013 or designing costumes for actors, which is the clever way of establishing new high profile clientele (www.luxurydaily.com/ferragamo-flaunts-presence-in-upcoming-movie-by-sponsoring-premiere/).
The brand’s interest is to atract new young clientele by designing shoes for young singers like Lady Gaga, expand across the europe and keep modernising the product while remaining loyal to brand heritage.
CHristian Louboutin using bright red colour as branding not just for the sole but for overal brand image. He is an example of colour importance when emotionally comunicating with his costumers. The red sole is probably the trademark that help him to distinguish from other brands and establish on competetive market. The designer proclaims that red colour is symbolising passion, love with femininity and luxe.
The new trademark for j. Choo brand is a luxurious velvety touch in soft pastel and gold decor.Stores are located in prime locations like New York, London, Paris (main studio and management) and Las Vegas. his last opened store is Harvey Nichols
His last store was opened on April this year on Venice’s finest luxuty shopping street. The designer proclams that chosen location was strategis as it is the major tourist and intertantional market destination (www.giuseppezanottidesign.com/experience/en/news-post/giuseppe-zanotti-design-in-venice/) the interior is innovative with trendy mixture of materials wooden with mirrors, ambient, intimate athmosphere with lots of lights to lighten up a products and using white as major colour. The designer also proclaim that this decor with distinguishing traits will be used in rest of the stores.
Thriving to be distinguished from other stores, with modern, innovative and futuristic look they seem to keep brand well alive.
Today I have focused on most standing out store interior designs. in todays world an original outstanding interior design is important in order to compete with big-name chain retailers and because of strong retail market.. It should have brand signature, attract the right customers, stick it to season, sales, current trends, and be outstanding and original. We can see the trend of big brands moving onto high street in order to be easily accessed, large screens to display products, virtual fashion mirrors and very stylish designs.
Rodney Fitch, Professor of Retail Design states in Trends , 2012 amid several, the two standouts for me are: firstly, the polarisation between value, expressed by price, versus value expressed by the experience. The former epitomised on the one hand by the inexorable growth of online and on the other by the rise and rise of Poundland culture, where design, except perhaps in the case of Primark, is little evident. Compared with the latter, where good design anchors the experience as in the case say, of Abercrombie + Fitch, Uniqlo or Selfridges. Second, the way innovation in retail design has moved back to New York. More exciting work on 5th and in the Village, than on Bond or Regent Streets or Spitalfields”http://www.designweek.co.uk/news/2012-review-the-year-in-retail-design/3035769.article
Stuart Weitzman international flagship store Milan, Italy, Zaha Hadid a most recently known British-Iraquish London based architect. S.W. is a family business in USA. Design is Innovative ,playful and has futuristic construction with curvy shapes and folds.
Mellisa Shoe Store New York
Swedish Design in Fashion store in Stockholm by Guise architects with black/white and graphic elements. Fashion brand name is ‘ Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair’. The brand deconstructs typical clothes into new hybrid garments.
Shoebaloo store, Maastricht, its like stepping into fantasy word with a kaleidoscopic-like shelves with lots of lightings. Designed by MVSA. Shoebaloo is an Amsterdam high end designer with footwear, bags and accessories existing on market since early seventies. The shop is based in heart of city.
Virtual mirror at John Lewis, Oxford Street , StyleMe mirror allows shoppers to create a virtual collection which can be emailed to them with their chosen image, price,the photos can be shared on social sites and get a feedback from friends before they spend some money.
Kariene Arabian Boutique in Paris by Joseph Grappin.
New Year just came in and bought us a lot of amazing and interesting shoes which we could see at last fashion shows . Some are very creative with vibrant colours, with a sporty look and with a mix of new, unusual materials and shapes, contrasting colours, new heels and surfaces. Let’s look at the ones which stand out most.
Gaetano Perrone is unknown designer for me, but his collection is definitely a stand out. I fell in love with these futuristic gray wedge heel boots, a mixture of new materials, innovation and contrasting colours. Definitely a trend hit of this year and metallic texture, lots of straps and silver hardwares are still on and will be at least next season as purple colour as well.
Roger Vivier Passionate Brasilian colours is a must for this summer. And with those sandals in a lovely mixture of colours you would definitely stand out.
Alexander McQueen These sporty sandals have interesting shape and yet seems comfortable.They have a nice silhouette , black/white combination and big buckles which holds the foot firmly and suit varying sizes of feet. McQueen’s last catwalk shows are much more interesting and commercial in my opinion.
Balenciaga These sandals look so luxurious, elegant and haute couture with a sparkle of vintage. Nice contrast of soft goat and smooth, hard calf leather. I have a weakness for vintage high quality calf/kid leather but it seems it is made for tiny feet only;-)
Sergio Rossie and his sculptural simple yet original golden heel block wedges with a stunning curvy vamp strap.
And his mosaic effects might also be a big hit of this year.
From where the fashion trends coming from?
Trends influence our life and not just in clothing, but all things that surround us. in instance an art, design, architecture, technology… Trends are coming from everything that humankind got through. Every year the designers and artists are inspired by trends. But from where the recent trends are coming from and what do they symbolize? Is is a mother nature herself, which control the whole world?
Trends are reflecting recent process, progress and development in today’s society.
1. Recent actions:
Can be any greater event in near future. For example World Cup in Brasil or popular movie, political or economic situations, globalization and culture, climate, increasing global population and fast growing architecture, celebrities, actors styles (good example is Beyonce’s new ‘visual’ album and her amazing stylisation), new music genres, recent society’s philosophy- ‘think green’, become vegetarians (footwear and clothing companies using less and less leather and fur products and replacing leather with pvc materials), digital media(blogs, news).
2.Innovation in technology:
In the last decade the society is undergoing rapid rise in technical and scientific innovation:
Holographic Surface: I found out that its why there are trends with soft, sheer and iridescent colours in the last few years. Holography is a combination of fantasy and real life, futurism and science fiction. Hi –tech gadgets containing functioning holographic qualities that appeal to be a future. Its visual complexity, 3D visualization and advanced computer engineering will reflect on creating products- faster, more accurate and cost effective software programs for better rendering products. We might also see finished materials with inconporating holographic elements. Also 3D Hologram movies when the computer shoots the holographic pixels/’hogels’ electronically to another location
3D Hologram fashion show: which creates an optical illusion and breaks the rules of time and space on show that are replacing conventional presentations.
3. DNA, Molecular Structure
As long as we exist we strive to be harmonized with mother nature. New coming trends in the future is Biomimicry-a biological system where artificiality, engineering and nature comes together. Its inspiration by synthetic and organic life forms, a combination of nature and modern technology, inspired by patterns in nature.
It’s benefical to society as it means being ecologically conscious (water purification, energy needs, reduce waste on minimum,no pollution. ‘’Its an urge for change in the way society is consuming and directing on which way should go/think’’and its about practical with time and money. ‘Because of significantly increased manufacturing the society is shifting into an ‘ecological age. Biomimicry means translate nature designs into solving human problems. (http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/news/frog-chooses-biomimicry-as-tech-trend-for-2012)
4. 3D Printing :
3D printing has become recently popular mainly in creative industries to produce a fast prototype for testing. However the production , material remains expensive, therefore its popularity in the future is questionable.