I've been sketching shoes since I saw a classmate wear a pair of platforms to school in the 70's. They seemed like a piece of art to me, like a wearable sculpture. I started drawing them and when I did the flood gates opened with all the possibilities that a shoe could be.
When I decided to become a shoe designer I started learning everything about the process of taking and idea and bringing it to reality. I love every step along the way. I find it incredibly fascinating. I hope you find this interesting too.
I sketch constantly. Sometimes and idea will come from something I've seen in nature, on the street, or architecture. There is no limit to where the ideas come from. I start sketching without worrying to much about practicality. I can filter the idea down to something more walkable etc later.
Once I have something I love on paper I start thinking of creating a collection around this idea. Everything from heels to flats. I will usually have many many drawings.
One of my favorite parts of the process is visiting my consultants in Italy. I bring my technical drawings to Studio Arise S. Working with them they help by narrowing the collection down, choosing lasts, choosing heel heights and shapes, and choices of leather and material. Richard, Shaowei, and Elena were integral in helping me launch my line.
Once the styles and lasts are decided on we use molds of the last to design on to test to see how it would look directly on the shape of the foot.
Then it's off to the factory where they will make the patterns and produce samples. Samples are a test. They are fully made shoes with all the specifications. Sometimes the leather you chose maybe too thick to get the right folds you want. The color combination that you think would work perfectly just doesn't translate into the image you had in your head. I decide which ones from the samples that will actually go to production.
Below are examples of my technical sketches that became shoes.
If you have any suggestions for blog posts you would like to see about the collection or the process let me know by dropping me an email at Chrisdonovanfootwear@gmail.com