Technical Knowledge

Hello There,

I would like to ask for some help with a certain issue:
I’m an Industrial Designer whose been working in the fashion industry for about 3 years in different positions. A few weeks ago I’ve won the position of the Head Shoe Designer at a fairly big fashion brand with no previous specific experience and only based on my motivation and potential I assume. I’m really interested getting into the world of shoes, I have a lot of experience at the fashion industry and have experience as a designer but I have to admit that I’m lacking quite a lot of technical knowledge related specifically to shoes. I know that in time I will learn, especially while traveling to the factories in China, yet I would like to learn a bit ahead so I wouldn’t feel so ignorant.
Could anyone suggest any means of studying a bit or direct me to any relevant literature/websites that could give me some technical knowledge.
I would specifically like to learn more about leather, types of leather, working techniques with leather and so on.

I would honestly appreciate any help or advise…

Thanks in advance

look at Richard’s site…you’ll get alot out of it.

you can talk to Pittards, they do some interesting things with tanning and leather types, not only sports leather but also high quality shoe grade. There is a guy there called Jay Darvill who is on the sales side, yet has a good grip on his tanning processes and products. I also have experinece with Paka in Austrailia and Sedas in Argentina who are also both ok for knowlegde. Also talk to the BLC and the leather technolgy college. Linea Pelle in Bologna, Italy, is also a good place to pick up knowledge. if your in the UK, Northmapton has many clued up leather suppliers who can give you a lot of info etc.

Being Fashion based you would also do well to visit John Lobbs in London and get a masterclass from Mr Lobb himslef. Tony Gaziano at Edward Greens is another guy who knows his leather inside out.

If you are in the UK, you could do a short course at Cordwainers - they offer some part time and evening classes. i’ve sent designers who don’t have the relevant experience on these before and they are pretty good.

I know alot of companies even send their buyers on these, as its so important to understand the construction when liasing with suppliers.

I’d also recommend the ARS Sutoria school in Milan I’ve heard really god things about them and a lot of people I respect in the industry studied here.

If you are in the USA, theres a company which advertises a short shoemaking course in Footwear News. If you visit Footwear News website it should be advertised on there.

Good luck!