From Concept to Finished Product – Shoe Designing Explained

People often ask me how I get inspiration for designing shoes. Well inspiration comes from things we see around us every day, but a lot of it is just “playing around” with leather and trims until something looks right.

We have to keep a close idea on the catwalk collections for ideas that will ultimately filter down to mainstream fashion. This also includes keeping an eye on colour trends, because we have to make shoes that will complement the colours of the season.

We start with the shape of the shoe or boot – this is the “last”. from there we can choose leathers or suedes and cut them to wrap around the last to make the upper design. Different soles and heel shapes can be added to show what the finished concept may look like. No one probably realises how many different heel shapes there can be. Heels are very defining and can make or break a design. They can also “age” a design. The wrong heel shape can look “old fashioned” and not of the moment – so it is very important to get it right. Then trims can be added. The combinations can be endless with colour mix, pattern and trim. Different heels and soles. Then all of a sudden something can just look and feel right. Capture the fashion and mood of the moment. This is a bit of a “Eureka” moment. Bear in mind that we are working at least 6 months ahead of the time we will be selling the product – so it is quite hard sometimes to guess what the customer will be wanting and happy to buy.

Sometimes the best ideas fall by the wayside and other concepts that started off a bit sticky can come to the fore and become best sellers. If only we had a crystal ball ! But fashion does tend to work in cycles and we have had several seasons recently where nostalgia has reigned and we have been heavily influenced by the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. However always with a twist and not faithful replication.

However with all the trials and tribulations it’s totally amazing to see what started off as a sketch in your mind – become a sell out item that our customers love wearing and gain pleasure from.

I wouldn’t change my job for anything.