11.09.2010

Q and A

There were a lot of good questions about my last post so I just want to take a minute to answer them...

(a shot of past samples in our sample room)









Angela said...






Now, is this the design process for all shoes? Or just better made shoes? Because I've wondered why there's such a discrepancy in fit. I'm sure each company has their own way to come up with the right last, but I wonder why some leave way too much room between the shoe and my toes and others are perfect.







This is the process for all shoes. There's really no way around it. The difference in high quality shoes and less expensive shoes is not the sample process but the actual production of the shoes. Meaning, after department stores and boutiques have seen the samples and placed their orders it's time to mass produce them in order to fill the orders. Better quality shoe companies have stricter rules and standards do they usually fit and feel better. Also, notice how good quality leather feels on your feet as opposed to man made leather that most lower priced shoes are made of. Check the lining because that's what your feet are actually feeling. If the outside is leather and the inside is faux, you'll definitely feel the difference.

Murderanda said...





What are some of your inspirations when it comes to designing? Do you have.. an 'inspiration board' of some sort or something?


I do make inspiration boards and I can't wait to share them with you guys. I haven't been able to yet because we design so far in advance that the inspiration board and sketches I have are just now coming out in stores. I'm not allowed to show sketches for shoes that aren't out yet ;)

Jessica Alice said...





What are the heel and outsole made of and how are they shaped?


For the sample process the heel is usually hand carved out of wood. We (designers) sketch out an idea of what we want and usually go through a few tries before getting exactly what we wanted. After the wooden heel is confirmed, a mold is opened and it is made in plastic. About 90% of all shoes have plastic heels, the exception being chunkier wood heels and wood wedges. Wooden heels are unstable and can break easily, especially on super thin, high heels. Plastic is more durable and way more cost effective.
Outsoles are cut from thick but pliable leather, based on the last and heel shape. Less expensive shoes may use rubber, plastic, or reconstituted leather to save on price or make the shoe more durable. 

holly in heels said...
...I personally would like to hear how a shoe gets NAMED--what creative elements/what team ideas go into naming a brand's shoe style. 
Every company is different, I'm sure. Smaller companies or Luxury brands can probably name their shoes anything they want but when you're dealing with mass production and distribution, you have to have a system. I can only speak for myself and the company I work for, but we can't repeat names within a 3 year period (so there is no confusion in department stores' systems) and we use one starting letter per season to help our customer service reps to know what shoe a customer is referring to. For example, let's say we're using "C" this season for Betsey Johnson. We'd have a Cassy, Carrissa, Courtney, etc. Usually a baby names book is involved. ;)

BobHH said...
The designer sketch you show is exaggerated in the shape. How is the actual last shape determined? Are there lots of lasts or just one for each heel height? Are they modeled from someone's feet?

I actually visited a last factory this past trip and was super bummed that I didn't have my camera. I'll try to go back again! 
The last shape is usually taken by a standard measurement and then adjusted accordingly. It can be a long process to get the last exactly the way you envisioned. The sketch in the picture was made by a European designer which typically means the drawing is more stylized and exaggerated. In my opinion, more beautiful- but everyone has their own style. My sketches are more straightforward but kind of boring ;)
There are thousands of lasts in our factory. I was trying to find the last room but they may have moved it off site. Every different shoe shape has it's own last. If there is a slight change from another style, it's a different last.
Here are some examples of how different designers sketch completely differently:

(photo: Footwear News)

william said...





When it comes to heel shapes do they simply carve a proto and then make a mold of the final result? I'm always curious with high fashion shoes that don't have acrylic heels, do they have to carve each heel individually? And how do stacked leather heels work.. is there a steel rod down the center for support? I'm always baffled by super skinny stacked leather stilettos because I don't know how such a skinny heel could support weight without added structure.

Ok, great questions!
1- Yes
2- Most high fashion shoes DO have plastic heels but for the rare times they don't, I'd imagine that they'd be hand carved though I can't say for sure.
3- Stacked leather heels are simply plastic heels wrapped in a thin piece of stacked leather, like this...

4- Most heels do have metal rods in them for added support- especially the super thin ones! 

I hope this gives you guys some insight into what I do :)

43 comments:

FASHION SNAG said...

Great answers to the questions Celine! x

www.FashionSnag.com

te said...

I love how you use a baby name book to name the shoes. that's excellent. awesome post!

lamb83 said...

Fascinating post! Thanks for answering those great questions!

Tiffany* said...

Great post Celine! Very informative to all the questions that linger in my mind when I'm buying shoes. You seriously have the best job in the world! Love all the samples in the first picture. What happens to the samples after the season? For instance-the purple shoes on the third shelf down and the rose shoes you showed us a while back? It has to be hard to not want them all in your size for your closet :) Love your blog!
beijos-Tiffany-http://imashoewhore.blogspot.com

FabsFabulous said...

Great post, I am addicted to your blog!
And the sample room... OMG! I always go crazy in sample rooms everywhere I visit.
xoxo

bravegrrl said...

you are amazing. you complete my shoes addiction... haha!

xo

MissMae said...

I love your blog and your shoe collection!!! :) Thank you for posting all of the intricacies of how shoes get made. As a fellow shoe lover I really appreciate being able to see all the steps that are involved in designing, manufacturing and selling shoes. And if you ever come to LA, I'd love to go shoe shopping with you!

Analía said...

Celine,
Your blog is GREAT!
The past 2 post have been very interesting and really enlightening. Thank you!
Can't wait for the next one...

Anna at ShoeHunting said...

I really enjoyed this post, and learning a bit about the behind-the-scenes production! Looking forward to more :) And I LOVE those sketches, wish I could draw like that. Thanks for the great content!!

Annie White said...

super interesting! i especially liked seeing those different styles of sketches.

Absolutely Ladylike said...

I enjoyed reading these secret details a lot...

Many thanks for the lovely birthday message. Means a lot...and even if it's a little late: Happy Birthday to you too :-)

Cheers: Evi

william said...

Awesome!

yenny said...

Thank you so much for providing insight into the industry, your blog is truly unique. I am so glad you got out of your blogging block and came back with such force! I love seeing those sketches, too. Keep up the great posts!

Jörg said...

Wow, damn interesting post.
Wanna read more about it!!!!

Sharne said...

Cannot wait to see your inspiration boards and maybe some more sketches (please)?

Love your blog.

Angela said...

And, just look who's question you answered FIRST! Whoop! Whoop! =^) Thanks for this extremely informative post. Love. I linked you up as a feature for Sassy Shoe Thursday: http://www.stilettosandgrace.com/2010/05/sassy-shoe-thursday-q-with-expert.html.

(Fyi, my word verification is playsta. Doesn't that sound fun? Like, instead of a gangsta I'm a playsta. Hee-hee.)

hey you. said...

i would love to do what you do! i also have my own collection of shoes (: i love your shoe blogs!

holly in heels said...

Celine, thank you so much for answering my question! I'm adoring your company's naming technique (aaand the fact that baby books are involved, love it.) I'm honestly learning SO much from this post and the Q&A. Thank you!
xoxo,
www.hollyinheels.com

MotherofStyle said...

I loved this post. I stand in my closet surveying my shoes some times, and look at the seams and details because it's fascinating to me...although it might sound a little sad now that I actually typed it...

ANyways, loved reading this!

Brett Sutcliffe said...

What I can say is you are really really professional. Love your blog with all my heart.

serena said...

hello!
there is another very very IMPORTANT question I would like you to answer.. :D
how exactly did you become a shoe designer?? That's my dream too, and since I'm just about to finish high school I need to know what to do.. and I don't have the smallest idea...

IP Lawyers Melbourne said...

I am really wondering where I can learn the stuffs I wanna learn?
Meblourne? where? without background?

TeShá said...

Wait. Wait. Wait. You guys have a shoe sample closet? Where are you and how can I peruse...even for just an hour?!?! ;)

cindir-rela said...

omg! i loveee shoes!! i love heels...i really do!


:)

drop by my blog when u have freetime:)

etoilee8 said...

Once again, an informative, good post! I can't stop reading your blog now.

Jessy* said...

wow! I just loved your criativity and wish I could have a work like yours. :D

Ijust loooove shoes, like you.

I'm in the last year to ingress in the university and i think i'm going to choose product design. I like to create and imagine chairs, tables and stuff like that. I know that is not very important for you but i think we have a lot in common. (LOL)

Best wishes,

Jéssica

kids footwear said...

Wow.. It's nice to see that you have plenty of shoes to wear. I hope I will also have this collection of shoes someday.

sagerdp said...

Luv your posts!!! And specially the way you answered this questions!!
Super Detail and Sweet!!!
Big Fan Fellow Designer!!!
Much Success!!!! XOXO

mbt shoes said...

I like to read all your articles and also like to spend more and more time on your site so that I can know more interesting stuffs as you always provides. I like to wear different shoe very much and also like that my wife will wear variety of shoes.

Personal Injury Lawyers said...

I wanna dead in your sample room...so many shoes gee

tips about beauty said...

WOW , Amazing collection

Shamini said...

wow!

thanks for all these answers!
am loving all this!

✰_✰

carla said...

It's nice to see those shoe collections...

Landel said...

Gaahhh! I wanna snatch all of 'em! :D They look glamorous!

FARLE said...

Are expensive heels usually worth it especially in the way they're made? What's the difference between an expensive and inexpensive shoe?

Maryjane said...

Thank you for sharing a bit about shoe making. I've always wondered how the process works. You lucky girl!
www.insane-maryjane.com

A Maze In Grace said...

It is amazing that you respond and value your audience. I had no clue what went into making shoes. This post was so insightful. You are an amazing designer!

gucci uk said...

these styles on your post are totally my favorite,xoxo

CLPig said...

very nice site!. will start following more frequently!

Pigalle Passions
——————–
http://www.cl-pigalle.blogspot.com

Alexa said...

Great post - very interesting and informative! I love your blog :)


http://cashmereandcandy.blogspot.com

The Owl's Closet said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post and the post below! It was very informative and I agree, everyone asked very good questions. I have always wondered about the shoe process. It's awesome!

TheOwlsCloset.blogspot.com

WendyB said...

Very educational!

amr said...

cooooooool post thanks for your information

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I'm a shoe designer with an obsession for shoes, life and love.