Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Sexiest new shoe designer

This award goes to Tabitha Simmons, she does sexy so well... gorgeous slender heels yet never tarty. I think she also has an amazing understanding of pattern and colour.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Best (and most influential) Shoe Range

This is kind of similar to the Tart of The Trade award did last year, lots of High Street stores knocked off these two brands and funnily enough, Sienna Miller was seen in one of them - perhaps she should become a high street shoe buyer - she has an eye for the winners!

I'm giving the award to Surface To air (top) and Acne (bottom) . It's a tie!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Shoenistas 2010 Footwear Awards

First award is the Lady Gaga award for freaky footwear....and it goes to - Lady Gaga for her meat shoes.

Yes I know they are disgusting but they're not a million miles away from what untanned hides are like. Vegans run away now, run like the wind!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Kirsty MacColl - In These Shoes?

Ten years ago today since singer songwriter Kirsty MacColl was killed, as a tribute I wanted to post this tune of hers

Shoe Designer Zuzana Serbak

I just discovered another amazing conceptual shoe designer, who works with materials such as Silicone and Carbon Fibre. Amazing shoes!

Zuzana studied in Prague and focused on making shoes with materials that one would not normally associate with dress shoes. She is currently in the luxury sector, but she is also available for freelance and she hopes to set up her own brand one day. If you are reading this, Zuzana, please, please do - your shoes deserve a wider audience!

You can read more about Zuzana (and also contact her) via her blog.

Friday, 17 December 2010

It's almost New Years resolution time...

and I'm getting many, many enquiries from those of you that have a shoe design based resolution.
Perhaps you fancy yourself as the next Tinker Hatfield (Air Jordan designer, pictured), perhaps you fancy yourself as the next Louboutin, perhaps you have lots of designs and ideas and you want to see them turned into real shoes?
I thought I'd reiterate some of the questions I get and answer them here.
I have lots of amazing shoe designs on paper and I want to sell them.
Unfortunately shoe companies don't buy in designs like this. They employ professional designers (either employees or freelancers like me) to do it. We are given a design brief, which we have to follow closely. We are trained to design shoes that can be easily made on a production line, we can design to a given price, we know how to provide the instructions to a factory to make the shoe. If you want to be able to sell your designs, then you need to study and gain a qualification, to learn the technical side of shoe production, to learn how to follow a design brief, then with hard work and luck, you can gain employment in the shoe trade and you will be able to see your designs on peoples feet.
I want to start my own shoe brand and I need samples
The first thing you are going to need is lots of money - it is hard to estimate exactly how much money you would need to launch a brand, but a few tens of thousands of dollars would not be far off the mark. Why so much money?
Well, one pair of luxury women's shoe samples from a sample maker in Italy could set you back about 500 euros. Then there's the flights to Italy and the hotel for two weeks (you cannot develop a new brand without visiting the factory, someone will have to go there.) In the UK, the lowest price for samples would be about £200 per pair, but (if you can find shoe makers that is), they are usually much more than that!
For sneakers it is more difficult as traditional shoe makers and sample rooms cannot make this type of footwear - you would have to convince a factory to work with you. If you want to design your own soles, then the sample mold will set you back about $1000 alone. Then you have to factor in travel to the factory and hotels and shipping costs for those samples. Convincing a factory is tricky, they will want to know what your business plan is, how many pairs order can they expect from those samples and when? If you can't answer those questions, they may think you are too much of a risk to them. Investing in a new brand is not only costly for you, it is costly for the factory. They will not see any return on their investment in you for several seasons and making samples for you will tie up their sample room, when they could be making samples for an established brand, which might attract guaranteed or better orders This is why they have to be cautious in deciding who to work with and this is why many of them do not take the risk of working with new brands.
If you want to be taken seriously, then it's a good idea to do a footwear course, it's an even better idea to write as business plan, it's an excellent idea to visit a trade show and do some networking.
I'm updating my website to include and education and jobs section - I'll be quizzing entrepreneurs and asking them advice and sharing it with you.
Good luck with your New Years Resolutions!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A shoe design that totally sucks!

Introducing the Foki shoe, first ever vacuum cleaning shoes, put them on and vacuum your house! They totally (and literally) suck!

I'd imaging anyone looking at you through the window whist you were wearing/using these would be in their rights to wonder what on earth you were up to in there, because I reckon they must make for some bizarre and creative movements around the back of the couch & by the coffe table in order to ensure you get every last bit of dust up.

All we need now is for the inventor to design a version for dogs to wear, then my dog can clear all his dog hair up after himself, now that would be progress!
and the spelling pedant in me would like to point out to that it is footwear not footware - we are talking shoes here, not pots n' pans!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Selfridges Shoe Galleries - where are our new designers?

Ok, I admit it, I wasn't at all quick of the mark visting the new Shoe galleries at Selfridges, infact I was positively slow! In these days of the internet, the need for me to get out and look at shoes in shops isn't quite as pressing.

By the time a new trend hits the shops in London, it is six months since we shoe designers saw it at a trade show, so it's old news .

But when I went to the trade show Bread and Butter in Berlin in July, I spent an afternoon looking around the shops. What I saw was much more exciting, many more labels and designers. I actually got the 'I Wants', for this shoe or that shoe. Then I came back to London feeling a bit flat, because ihere I see the same old versions of designs I've seen at Micam, everyone is doing the same thing - nothing so new or exciting, because it's what the buyers want to buy.

So my impression of Shoe Galleries. Lovely shop fit, granted. The big names very much in evidence, presented in a way that I'm more used to seeing in the United States . More Kurt Geiger than you can shake a stick at and a decent selection of Azzedine Alaia (a personal favourite of mine).

But apart from the made it and established British Shoe designers (such as Rupert Sanderson and Nicholas Kirkwood), I couldn't see much evidence of many others, which is a shame. I left feeling a bit disappointed, because I was expecting to see something new and exciting, a new brand or designer and I didn't. Of course, there are other shoe stores and departments, Harvey Nichols is the best place to visit in London if you want newly discovered designers.

But I have friends who have started their own brands and they all say how difficult it is to get buyers in their own country to notice them and designers who mail me and tell me the same, which I think is a shame.

So come on British shoe buyers, support our new talent - we have some of the best footwear design eduction and talent in the world, time to give them some shelf space!

I'm posting some photos of new designers work just to give you food for thought.

and some links if you want to know more about them and especially to buy their designs!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mr Zippys Trainers

Yet another shoe design flash game, this time you have to design trainers for Mr Zippy. I especially like the technical stuff, this is the first flash game where they want you to add the features and benefits to your design and explain why!

Find it here:

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

New Challenger to Kobi Levi

Just found this shoe design (by Juliet G) on t'internet. Isn't it great? Very apt as I've just spent the last month working on equestrian footwear, which is a first for our consultancy. Now this is real riding footwear.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I want this wallpaper. That is all.

Years ago I had a great T shirt from Nike that was just shoes printed all over. Now there is wallpaper, a similar idea, but even more brilliant.
I really really want this, but I'm not sure it'll work in the confined space of my narrowboat. So I shall just have to dream.

Thanks to for bringing this marvellous stuff to my attention. You can purchase it here:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Detachable Heels? Yay or Nay?

The Inventor Patrice L Howard has designed and patented a idea for a detachable heel. Being a freelance shoe designer, I get to hear quite alot about new shoe concepts from inventors. I've seen detachable uppers from several inventors who are already in the market place and manufacturing, in fact there is even an online store devoted to the many brands -, but this is slightly different. What do we think? Will it actually work? Is it just a gimmick? Is it a design solution to a problem that doesn't really exist?

I can't see that the inventor has made a prototype. They are looking for an investor to invest in their idea.

I know from getting involved with testing labs that the heel attachment is a weak point in high heeled shoemaking (it needs to support your entire body weight on a tiny surface area, so the attachment cannot fail) and quite serious injury could be caused should the heel detach from the upper. So the risk is alot higher with this shoe.

Also I think you might be limited with the heel designs that you can put on the shoe - wider, cuban heels are heavier and require more heel attachment, the stiletto attachment could be too small. With shorter heels you can end up with a rather bizarre 'banana' or 'Ali Baba' look to your shoes as the last doesn't pitch properly with a different heel.

So what do we think? Yes or No?

If I were the inventor, I'd be comissioning Kobi Levi to design it - imagine the possibilities. I'd like to see darts heels that you can detach so you can play darts at the pub with your 'heels' (then hobble home, probably!)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Kobi Levi's wearable art

Kobi Levi is a freelance footwear designer (just like me!) with a cheeky vision for wearable art.

I especially love his slingshot shoe pictured above.

Check his blog for more amazing prototypes.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Zims Shoes

Since the start of the year I've been working on a new footwear concept, Zims. We're not launching just yet, we're putting the finishing touches to the samples and it is all really quite exciting.

Check out the Blog here and the Facebook Group here:
And the shoes? Well all will be revealed in due course, you will have to wait. :)

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I will be in Milano for the Micam shoe fair from the 19th of September to the 22nd (the whole of the show basically). Please contact me at your earliest convenience if you want to meet as this is a busy show for me! Please also check my personal Twitter as I will be tweeting any exciting brands or trends I see.
Link to information about Micam

Monday, 22 February 2010

Naughty, thieving Mr Park

I do love a bizarre shoe thievery story:
''A second hand shoe shop owner stole more than a thousand pairs of designer shoes by posing as a mourner in Korea.
His haul of more than 1,200 shoes were displayed by police today in Seoul in the hope that their owners can retrieve them.
The 59-year-old thief, named only as 'Mr Park' had literally walked off with his booty from funeral homes and hospitals across the capital.''

Read more:

Source: Daily Mail

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Fabulous magazine shoe design competition

Another one!

fabulous is the free mag that comes with famed scandal sheet News Of The World. So, once you have read what Ashley Cole has done and what Cheryl plans to do about it, get your pencils and sketchbook and get creating.

......and the deadline is March 29. the winning shoe design will be produced and on sale in faith stores this Winter 2010.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

ITS Shoe Design Competition

I'm flat out busy (as I always am this time of year) but I thought I better blog about this competition to give you enough time to enter it. The ITS International Talent Search takes place every year - it's a competition ope not only to shoe designers but to accessory designers.

As I'm in a hurry, I'm going to C+P the entry letter here:-


We just wanted to let you know that International Talent Support is back with ITS#NINE!!

If you didn't enrol last year, you can't miss the opportunity this year!

And if you did enrol but you didn't make it to the finals, this doesn't mean you will never make it! Remember that we had many finalists in the past who enrolled several times before actually being selected. So this could be your turn, you don't have to give up!!

The process is just the same as last year, so go to and read out very well all of the regulament for ITS#ACCESSORIES. You will notice that this year our partner for the accessories field YKK has changed the Special Project for the YKK Award, so read out very carefully what you need to prepare!!

And if you know about other young accessories designers who could be interested in enrolling, send us their contacts, or simply spread the word and have them enrol!

Our Schools & Contestants Office is always available for any doubt you might have:

We hope to receive your entry!!
All the best from ITS
ITS Team

You can find out more on the website Hurry because the deadline is 25th March 2010!!
Good luck and do let me know if you win!

Friday, 29 January 2010

It's been a really great week for Kicks

This week, not one, nor two but three really cool sneakers. Two brands we already know as movers and shakers in sports footwear and one 'Noob'!

Top pic is Raf Simons. I think the shape of the buckes make this shoe.

Followed by Middle pic Visvims latest offer, the Patrician-Folk, I love this, what is essentailly a formal brogue but reworked as a sneaker construction with external heel support and a lightweight eva outsole. Both courtesy of the High Snobiety Blog

Finally who'd a' thought it? Bottom pic I'm sure you've all heard about Choos recent forays into Ugg territory? Before that, there was the Choo Hunter wellies collab.

Well, it doesn't stop there. Choo sneakers! I will start worrying when Tamara Mellon decides it's time to make Choo plush cuddly rabbit slippers. then we will know that her feet are really killing her! From Elle UK

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Design Shoes - fab flash game

This just popped into my inbox and it's good fun, from the fab games for girls website. Ok, you can't actually 'design' as such, but you can colour shoes in, in absolutely hideous garish tartans or over the top animal print. Give it a go! I think perhaps this might be a fantastic timewaster for any of you working an office.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Just a quick plug - as you were.......

Checking the Shudoo website today and I noticed that one of my designs has just been delivered in. It is named Temptress - are you tempted? Link

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Fantastic new Australian bespoke shoes company

Shoes of Prey are based in Sydney, Australia and make semi bespoke shoes to order. You can choose the materials, toe shape, heel, heel height and more.

The 'shoe designer' designing program on their site is absolutely brilliant - I'd say it is also a great resource for anyone wanting to be a shoe designer as the designs are so well drawn and in proportion and you can play with the different materials and heels to see how they look.

Go here to find out more:

thanks to the blog for drawing my attention to this great company!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Interview with new designer Jili Allen

I came accross Jili Allen somewhere on the wild plains of t'interweb and was immediately struck by her designs. I was also impressed by her determination to make shoes as part of her product design degree and her willingness to learn more about footwear design on graduation.

So you studied a product design degree and you got a first class degree. Tell me about your degree show. You made shoes?

Product design wasn’t my first choice, it was in fact International Business & Modern Languages which I completed for a year before feeling the withdrawal symptoms of creativity! I have always been inquisitive and thinking of ways to improve everything, whether it be the usability of a utensil or the efficiency of a process; in this way, product design was therefore broad enough to be perfect for me. I love design, but especially shoes! The flexibility of the course allowed me to design anything and everything and I learnt the skills to be adaptable in my design approach; my greatest passion is, however, footwear and I was lucky enough to be able to create shoes for my Major Project.

I wanted to make something beautiful, yet meaningful; using shoes to highlight the issues surrounding over-consumption in our society. Using the anthropomorphic element, to make us think about what we are doing to ourselves, who we are stepping on. These products are designed to be commercial with a discursive voice; but not one which is forced upon you, subtlety within any message is important; who am I to preach? The degree show was hugely exciting and a great learning experience; when you have so much work that has got you to one piece, I worried that there was more I needed to show. However, it really made me appreciate what is behind every product we use and I have to admit, I find that quite magical. The whole process also led me to understand even more the importance of technical detail, as I made contact with a factory in China to get my samples made; only successful through distinct attention to detail.

*You did a shoe making course? What did you design and make?

I went on to London to study the hand-making of shoes with Paul Thomas for a month, creating my own pair of very much wearable shoes from design to pattern cutting to last to heel design and all the pins in between! This gave me a great insight into the great complexities of footwear design and manufacture and I have never looked at a shoe the same again! It was a fantastic opportunity and I cannot recommend Paul enough! I felt after my degree, it was important to understand the construction of a shoe to appreciate how to design shoes properly.

Luckily, I got my paws on some beautiful Vivienne Westwood fabric; which I contrasted with some soft black leather to create a pair of court shoes with influences of brogue. I wanted to make a pair of shoes that I could wear every day but that were different to your average court shoe, but that had definite class! Art Nouveau is my favourite art period, one which was encouraged while I was in Paris; I love the fluid languid lines that are so gorgeously feminine that when contrasted with brogue detailing which is quintessentially masculine, provides the balance of the working woman.

*How do you feel it differed from your degree course? Were the skills different?

Within Paul’s classes, students are allowed freedom of design; which differed intensely from the set briefs and strict guidelines we had to follow within the degree, as Paul says, “this course does not operate on set styles to make or generic teaching”. The class was also very intimate with only 3 of us within our group, which allowed for lots of one-to-one tuition and a fantastic atmosphere. The skills were very different from my degree, I couldn’t believe how completely physicl the whole process is! I was the proud owner of more that one blood-blister and calluses from the millions of pins used within lasting. Within shoe making, the 3D image is so important from the very beginning, and we were thrown straight in. With 80 hours to complete just one pair of shoes, but one pair of exquisite shoes that are wearable, usable, and created completely by your own hand; I found it one of the most satisfying experiences ever.

*What inspires you most as a designer?
The need to provoke, question and improve.

*Which shoe designers inspire you and why?
Nicholas Kirkwood’s shoe designs are absolutely divine! I remember when I first saw them I was astounded at how beautiful they were; they were so different, and seemed to tell a story. For example, the platform was completely unique within itself and coupled with the hidden pearl within the heel cleft; they was beauty, mystery and intrigue within one perfectly sculpted shoe! Also, a designer that I was introduced to after my graduation was Thea Cadabra, whose shoes are so inspiring; they are like fantasies within themselves, and Irregular Choice has provided this for the high street – beautiful! I suppose my main shoe inspirations are those that are an outfit within themselves; if you can wear all black and your shoes can tell a thousand stories without embellishment, making the clothing an accessory, and the shoes the main event; makes me ridiculously happy!

*What is your favourite pair of shoes?
Obviously I share a special affinity with the shoes I have made, but I love elegance and therefore hunt around the charity shops like a mad lady. I have quite large feet (flippers) and therefore it is difficult to buy vintage shoes. However, I found these beautiful navy blue soft leather peep-toe courts by ‘Renata’ from the 50s (which I was able to stretch). They have a triple layer butterfly on the toe alternating white and navy blue soft leather with a metal butterfly body within. They are so soft and elegant and make my feet look dainty and beautiful. They provide me with a bit of much needed bygone glamour!

*What would be your dream role?
A role that can combine my great passions; design, footwear, fashion, creativity, languages, progression, champagne (ok, maybe slightly wishful thinking!) and honesty. I would love to be a successful shoe designer of my own brand, yet I’m under no illusion that this doesn’t come with a lot of hard work and experience! I am a very determined person and I always promise to give my best in everything I do, and I always will.

Jili can be contacted via her website

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Hilarious shoe thieves story.

When I worked in Stylo in Leeds years ago occasionally someone would try and steal a left shoe from the shelf, if they could see the right shoe in the window, then they would steal that too. It would always be one of our most expensive styles, a Cheaney or a Loake.

But check this story:

'For a short while, the thieves were one step ahead of the detectives. And for Swedish police and shoeshop owners, that was exactly the problem: why were people stealing the left shoes of designer footwear from Stockholm boutiques?

Perhaps it was a case for Slipper of the Yard, but eventually the clues pointed only one way — to Denmark, where shops traditionally display the right shoe in their racks. Police were therefore able to announce yesterday that they had foiled a criminal masterplan to match up stolen left shoes from Malmö with the corresponding right shoes pilfered in Copenhagen'.

“Apparently this is a tried and tested approach,” said Stig Möller, a police superintendent in Malmö, Sweden’s third-largest city and scene of the initial crime. Staff at a shoe shop in the Entré shopping mall in Malmö saw two men in their fifties stealing left shoes at their boutique at the weekend. The duo escaped with seven left shoes which — if paired with the right shoes — were worth £900

- Full story here from The Times -