Hi! I’m new to the boards. I would love to have some advice regarding my accessory design career direction. In 1997, I graduated with a degree in accessory design from a school in nyc and went directly to work for a knock-off footwear company in the Northwest of the US. I was very miserable, since I really wanted to go to Venice, Italy and study with a custom-made shoemaker there who I had found on my travels in 1996> He had told me to go learn Italian, then we’ll talk. I even had the letter in Italian a year later telling me to come, he’ll teach me everything he knows. I stupidly put the letter away and went for the corporate route, changing companies to secure my ‘dream job’ at Esprit in San Francisco a year later as a foowear designer. I got burnt out because I didn’t get along with my boss and didn’t feel as if I had the support I needed to grow as a designer, and make their product stellar. So I left and went back to my hat design business in 1999. In 2002, I went back into shoes working for an athletic shoe manufacturer in nyc, but didn’t like that job either, plus the environment was very negative and toxic energy was everywhere, blah blah…

I absolutely love shoes and dream and think about them all the time, but don’t really sketch them anymore. I’m in contact with a few headhunters who’ve secured interviews for me, but nothing fit.

I moved back to San Francisco 3 months ago because I couldn’t take nyc anymore, but I know there are no jobs here for footwear design (I’m working only 3 days a week in a boutique at the moment–floating time)

Should I make the commitment to work on my portfolio for an hour a day and build it up or just start contacting companies who I want to work for? The OBSTACLE I face is that I really would rather work and live in Europe, where I grew up, and design for the European market, not the American mass market one.

I’ve been also thinking about going back to school for a master’s in industrial design, combining it with clothing design. You can see that I’m confused and am direly in need of some direction. I’ve interviewed 2 industrial designers already to see if school is necessary.

Thanks so much for your reading this long post! I would greatly appreciate any thoughts and ideas…

My thought would be that if you feel that living/working in europe designing products specificly for the European market is what will make you happy then you should make that happen. Don’t waste your time on anything tangental because you have discovered what will make you happy, and your heart won’t be in anything else. Your in a great spot, a lot of people struggle to find what they want. Now that you have that, what stepps do you need to take?

Dear Yo,
Thank you very much for your direct and to-the-point advice. I am compiling a list now of companies I admire: acupuncture, royal elastics, trippen, palladium…I know it won’t be easy, nothing worth it ever is, but hey, I got my hats into Barney’s after trying for 4 years (www.unizorlu.com), so I know I can achieve anything I set my mind and heart to. I shouldn’t let a lack of an EU passport stop me either…

Thanks again!

Thats the spirit.