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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Follow the Journey of a Shoe Designer: Week One

Welcome to Follow the Journey of a Shoe Designer: Week One! If you missed the Introduction to "Follow the Journey of a Shoe Designer, click the title to read more about this fabulous series released on The Fashionista Coach! Enjoy the first week of catching up with our Shoe Designer in her quest to design the perfect shoe line!

Hi Fashionista! Thank you for following my journey of designing the perfect shoe line! Yes, I am a Shoe Designer for a company that designs many lines of shoes for retailers all over The United States.  I feel pretty lucky to be in this industry doing what I love most...designing shoes!  So, as of now, I am 5 weeks into my shoe line.  See the "prototypes" to the left? Don't worry I'll explain what that means! :)

Let me get you up to speed on what I've done in the past 5 weeks.  First, my team and I started discussing what the line should consist of.  Then we decided which types of outsoles (bottom of the shoes) and uppers (top of the shoe) we will want know, what kind of shoe we're designing overall. In this case I'm designing flats!  But what does the marketplace really want from flats? We determined comfort and style.  From that point I connected with the factory (the manufacturer who will make my shoes) and started developing the outsoles and designing the uppers (which I'll get into more later!)

Today I am literally jumping up and down because my "prototypes"are  back from the factory! Okay, you must be wondering what the heck is a "prototype" right?  A "prototype" is the 1st Sample of the overall shoe.  It's the pattern (I requested) and the shoe (I designed) put together.  The "prototype" comes back to me with the material I wanted for the shoe but the Factory uses an available color of the material I want on the shoe and creates the "prototype"  from that.  The "prototype" may come back looking "clownish" (sometimes cute, or or in a totally different color than what will be on the finished product.  What's important is for the "prototype" to be subtle enough to see the pattern so I can make the corrections needed.  The "prototype" can take a couple weeks to develop,  or sometimes a month, it really just depends.  It usually depends on the availability of the material (which is the biggest challenge for producing a quick "prototype").  It is ALWAYS a GOOD idea to stay in contact with the factory so we can clear up any problems that may delay the shoe line.  

Now that I uncovered what the heck "prototypes" are and why I'm so happy to have them in my possession! It's time for the materials!  After spec-ing a lot of shoes last week, (specing is putting the actual material you want on the shoe) the factory comes back and says the materials I chose are not available or take too long to develop (make) in time to make my sample.  The factory also says I've chosen too many colors for the outsole (which are the bottoms of the shoes) material. Rrrrr China! Why is this frustrating news? Because it takes another day of finding more fabric, which sets me back a day...possibly more. In addition, I now need to wait for the Factory to find available metallic leathers for me to use.  I won't have an answer until tomorrow, if I am lucky.  So now, I've given up looking for a substitute material and going to do my shopping report, so I can find more inspiration for my shoe line.  Keep your fingers crossed, Fashionista!! Hope to see you next Tuesday for another update!  Thank you for reading. :)

Wowy! Thank you for reading Follow the Journey of a Shoe Designer: Week One!  Stay tuned for next week's update from our fabulous Shoe Designer! Have a wonderful week, Fashionista!

Your Fashion Coach

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