Ever thought that one could make a living by designing shoes? If fashion, glamour, styling attracts you, how about making a career out of shoe designing. Slowly but gradually shoe designing as a profession is picking pace. In spite of being a little off- beat career choice, shoe designing also known as footwear designing is gradually entering into mainstream designing. With international brands such as Jimmy Choo, Ferragamo etc foraying into India and indigenous brands gaining popularity, footwear designing as a profession is catching up fast.
What does it takes to be a footwear designer?
- Ability to strike a balance between aesthetics and practicality of shoe designing.
- An eye for colour, textures and patterns.
- Knack of creating designs ranging from high street fashion, catwalk to sport shoes etc.
- Knowledge of various textures, patterns, colour and designs.
- Working knowledge of foot anatomy.
- A flair for drawing sketches and working knowledge of CAD.
- Good communication skills.
What is the work of a footwear designer?
From designing high street fashion stilettos to comfy training shoes, the work of footwear designer requires to be creative.They need to adjust their work according to the demands of the time. Also with rise in the market for specialist and custom footwear, the designer is expected to be highly adaptive. Eventually each footwear designer wants to work on his/her own label. As a result they are expected to liaison with fashion designers to interpret their work.
To register success in the footwear design industry one can enrol oneself in to a bachelor course in footwear technology, leather good & accessories design or footwear manufacturing technology. Students from any stream can apply for a course right after their class XII exams. These institutes conduct an entrance exam that is usually an MCQ test that analyses students’ understanding in the areas of Math, English, Reasoning/General Science & GK. Students get selected for these colleges on the basis of their performance in these entrance exams.
List of Institutes for undergrad and post-grad courses in Footwear Designing
|Footwear Design & Development Institute, Noida, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai||www.fddiindia|
|Central Footwear Training Centre, Tamil Nadu||www.clri.org|
|Government Leather Institute, Agra||www.gliagra.com|
|Chennai Central Footwear Training Institute, Chennai||www.cftichennai.in|
Once through with a course in footwear designing, one needs to decide which area in footwear designing to choose. Footwear designers can choose to take up jobs in designing, manufacturing or marketing divisions. Designers are the ones who are basically involved in the designing and creative part of the footwear. They work on the look, design, pattern, colour, functionality and style of the footwear. Once the sample is prepared by the designer, manufacturing department works on the mass production of the footwear. They also work on the feasibility and affordability of the footwear. Since footwear designers have a good understanding of the business, some also choose to make a career in marketing division.
Apart from the above mentioned profiles, following are the other areas of employment:
- Footwear merchandiser
- Footwear studio owner
- Trend analyst
- Quality controller
- Footwear technologist
- Product development manager
The begining in this industry is often very slow where an intern has to work on honing his skills under a trainer. The starting salary often ranges between Rs 9000-11000. But with experience one can easily earn an annual package of Rs 4-5 lakhs.