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Become a designer of sneakers: where to study, in which company to get a job and how much you can earn from it

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Paradox: light industry is in crisis, and Russian shoe designers demanded in the labor market. By whom?
• No matter how much domestic producers complain about zero profitability, there are successful projects in our country: Ralf Ringer companies (factories in Moscow and Vladimir, annual turnover is more than $ 30 million), Enrico (Rostov-on-Don), Westfalika ( Novosibirsk) and others.

Currently footwear produced at 260 large and medium enterprises in Russia. And everywhere designers work.

• Vacancy advertisements posted on specialized websites often mention business trips to China ... What does China have to do with it? According to experts, in five years about 80% of all footwear consumed in the world will be produced there.

German, French, American and even Italian companies increasingly sew shoes, boots and sneakers in the Middle Kingdom - cheap. Most Russian companies also follow this path: Tervolina, Palmira, Econika, and others. Many do not have their own enterprises, but only invest in shoe manufacturing abroad.

But they create collections through the efforts of Russian designers, who not only design models, but also control the production process on the spot.

There is an opinion that creating shoes is less creative than modeling clothes, but it is not. Rather, the opposite. Squeezed into the narrow framework of the structure (sole, block, heel), the “shoe makers” have to show miracles of imagination and ingenuity. It is with their light hands that stylish shoes appear, emphasizing the grace of women, respectable men's shoes, comfortable sandals for children.

It was they who invented the "studs", "wedges", "boats", "over the knee boots" and much more. When creating exclusive models, shells, fish scales and seaweeds, feathers of hummingbirds and ostriches, diamonds, gold and silver embroidery, rhinestones and inserts from pieces of mirrors are used. Playing in shape and color, inventing new designs, designers create unique exclusive models for which wealthy customers are willing to pay any money.

But to become a famous designercreativity is not enough. The second condition for a successful career is “golden hands”. Many believe that the designer is only an artist who creates catchy sketches. In fact, it’s not enough to come up with and draw a model, you need to imagine how your idea will come true. And for this you need to be able to sew, to know well the production technology, the basics of modeling and design.

In shoe design, this is important. If in the manufacture of clothing an error of 5 mm is almost imperceptible, then such punctures are unacceptable. Shoes will either press or sit on the leg too loose. Beginning specialists often sin with such things. They create beautiful sketches, and when they try to launch the model into production, it turns out: the shoes cannot be put on because the disclosure is poor, or the assembly is so complicated that the production will be unprofitable. In a word, at the sketch level, everything is just beginning.

And finally designer must be a good manager. Without the ability to "promote" yourself in this business, there is nothing to do. To begin with, young talent can take part in the annual specialized exhibition of shoes MosShoes. Of course, to create your own collection, you need money. The approximate cost of making a pair of shoes according to their sketches in the fashion house is approximately $ 300-350 (depending on complexity), boots $ 400-500.

A collection can consist of only 3-5 models, and if it is really interesting, all costs will be paid off handsomely. After the first exhibition, many designers receive orders for preparing collections from large factories - both Russian and foreign. And to attract the attention of the public and the press, you need an original idea.

Say, Irina Selitskaya once introduced a collection of fish leather shoes! A lot of people came to the show, correspondents from different editions gathered - from "Hunting and Fishing" to fashion magazines - ready to write about the collection for free ...

The future genius of shoe design is easy to figure out. Almost all famous masters began to create almost from the cradle.

* "King of the pins" Manolo Blahnik was still a child shoeing his dog and hand monkey, and his favorite toy was ordinary rope shoes. He decorated them with shells, coins, glass - everything that came to hand.

* The legendary Salvatore Ferragamo dreamed of being the best shoemaker in the world and already at the age of eight did a good job with a hammer, dratva and a shoe knife.

* Andre Perugia, known as the king of shoe makers, opened his first store in Nice at the age of sixteen.

* The well-known Moscow designer Mikhail Poghosyan enjoyed spending hours of children’s leisure time with a hammer and shoe pads, while his peers played football or robber Cossacks.

* Alexander Gusev, defending his diploma at the institute, presented 14 (!) Independent works, of which four pairs of shoes, although one would be enough. Only two universities. The time has passed to study at shoe workshops - go to universities. The choice of specialized institutes in Moscow is small, but if you go there, you will become an exclusive specialist.

To become a shoe designer
- The first stage of exams - viewing home artwork. Applicants lay out their masterpieces at the institute, and the selection committee eliminates completely hopeless applicants, who are immediately advised not to waste their nerves on the forthcoming admission. It will take about ten works: ideally - according to the drawing (gypsum heads), painting (still lifes) and composition.

In fact, applicants bring their best work in any style and technique. Some teachers consider them as well (“maybe he can draw, let him try to do it”). It is even more reliable to enroll in preparatory courses at the university.

Creative entrance tests are traditional for designers: all the same drawing, painting and composition. The most important exam for a future designer is composition. Here you need to express the idea through shape and color. They give, for example, the name of the topic: “Amber Coast”, “Pine Forest”, “Malachite”, “Autumn”, “Carnival” or “Night City” - and you need to draw a series of sketches. Future fashion designer I must learn two main things: creating sketches and translating my ideas into material. Therefore, students draw a lot (several hours a day) and take up a needle and thread very early. They go to the open air out of town, and practical training takes place at specialized enterprises. The theoretical block begins with old acquaintances - drawing, painting, composition. They have to deal with until the release.

Complicated disciplines such as shoe manufacturing technology and accessories, materials science, design, modeling. Drawing and computer science are also required - without knowledge of the exact sciences it is impossible to calculate and simulate the details of shoes. In addition to special subjects, general humanitarian courses are taught at design departments. But even in them the accents are placed on fashion: the history of costume, the philosophy of fashion, the economy of the fashion industry, etc.

From the second year, many students begin to create their first shoe collections, participate in exhibitions (MosShoes, etc.). And from the third or fourth year, some already work in shoe companies. In search of young talents, not only Russian, but also foreign companies turn to institutes. But still, do not sit back, waiting for you to be appreciated. Designer - shoe designer - a craft that can only be mastered practically. Only through one's own initiative can something be achieved. Even better, if young talent falls into the Fashion House, where the opportunities for creativity are much wider.

In factories, the designer immediately finds himself in the tight grip of production, economics, equipment retooling, existing technologies, and in the Fashion House he can embody his most interesting ideas. At a shoe factory, designers work in a team with many specialists: marketers, fashion designers, fashion designer-boatman.

Marketers give the technical task: which audience should be guided when creating models, which factors to consider. Each designer is assigned one of the directions. The task is to draw sketches, come up with interesting shapes, give the task to the fashion designer-bootman to make the right shoe (the “shape” of future shoes taking into account the parameters of the foot and fashion trends).

Designers select the material, the sole, taking into account both aesthetics and comfort. Sketches are drawn by hand or on a computer. You can simulate the image immediately on the block by sticking on it a sticky masking tape. This allows you to really imagine the future model, since the proportions on the paper do not always correspond to the form.

One or two months are given for the development of a sketch series. And then the fashion designers embody these sketches in test samples. They are made in the experimental workshop, then they are approved at the artistic council and, having received the "good", go into production.

Evgeny Kolodin, journal Where to go to study.

Who are the shoe designers

I think that many already understand everything. But let's take a closer look. Sneaker designers are people who are responsible for the appearance, color, shape and some functions of sports shoes. In large companies such as Nike, Adidas or Puma, a separate designer is responsible for each part of the work: one person designs the sole, the second draws the top, the third selects colors and materials.

In addition to designers, designers and project managers also work on shoes, who direct the creative energy of their colleagues in the right direction. In small companies, one person combines all or several of these roles.

By training, designers of sneakers are most often either industrial or fashion designers of clothes, shoes or accessories. Sometimes people come from graphic design or architecture. A separate specialty “Design of sneakers” is not taught anywhere, at least in Russia.

In the USA there are similar additional courses, most of which are taught by Pensole School, however, to get there, you need to pass a strict selection. It is worth noting that in our country and abroad, sneaker customization courses are common, but this is a slightly different phenomenon that only teaches you how to work with color and materials.

How much sneaker designers earn

Usually, if you are not Kanye West or Tinker Hatfield, your income will be more or less equal to the average salary of any other designer in the company.

But there are some nice features, such as travel. Since most sports shoes are made in Southeast Asia, many companies regularly send their designers on business trips. China, Vietnam, Taiwan or Italy, Portugal - if you produce luxury shoes.

However, the need to work directly with a real product complicates the possibility of freelance in this area.

Where do you learn to designer shoes and accessories?

Istituto Marangoni, Polimoda, Domus Academy, - the leading Italian and world universities of design. They give an excellent education, they teach to create things made-in-Italy, because it is especially important for accessories. The best design institutes in Italy offer the following courses:

Three year course “Design of clothes and accessories”at Istituto Marangoni. It trains designers of accessories, bags, shoes, ornaments for accessories. This program provides the necessary knowledge to work as a manufacturer of design samples, as a creative director or as a fashion illustrator.

Cities: Milan, London
Languages ​​of study: English (London, Milan), Italian (Milan)
Course Duration: 3 years

One-year course Shoe Design: Intensiveat Istituto Marangoni. During the classes, students conduct research, develop shoe design and create their own collection. By the end of the training, each graduate will have developed a portfolio that will reflect the individual style of the designer.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English, Italian
Course Duration: 1 year

Master's course “Design and management of luxury accessories”at Istituto Marangoni. In the classroom, they introduce the techniques of using materials, the history of luxury products and marketing aspects. Students will prepare their own project, which will implement the idea of ​​"hidden luxury", characteristic of products made in Italy.

Cities: Florence, Milan
Learning Languages: English, Italian
Course Duration: 1 year

Summer course “Accessory Design”at Istituto Marangoni. A short-term course will teach you how to express ideas through drawing and choosing the right colors. By the end of the training, students will develop a sketch of the collection and create a digital portfolio.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English, Italian
Course Duration: 3 weeks

One-year course “Accessory Design: Intensive”at Istituto Marangoni. Future accessory designers will be trained in the following programs: Design and Materials, Art and Design of Accessories, Development of a Collection, Individual Research and Final Collection. After graduation, graduates will have sufficient knowledge to independently develop the collection.

Cities: Milan
Learning Languages: English, Italian
Course Duration: 1 year

Three year course 'Leather Technology' inPolimoda International Institute. The curriculum consists of the theory and practice of creating shoes and leather bags. In the first year they give basic knowledge, and from the second year students choose specialization. By the end of the third year, students are preparing a final project - a product with packaging.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 3 years

Master's course “Accessories Design” inPolimoda International Institute. The course is taught by resident teachers and international industry representatives. Students have access to all the mechanisms of the new Polimoda laboratory, attend seminars and participate in internship projects for companies. During their studies, students acquire cultural and technical skills, research products, learn to create and present their work.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 1 year

Summer course 'Leather Technology' inPolimoda International Institute. Pupils learn about the craft traditions of producing leather clothes and bags. In the classes they talk about specific methods and processes of skin treatment, learn to work with drawings, analyze products and create prototypes.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 1 month

Summer course "Fashion Shoes & Bags" inPolimoda International Institute. The program includes the study of technical data, the creation of projects, training in supply chain management and analysis of the organization of production. By the end of the course, students will make a pair of shoes and a bag under the guidance of a master and technical assistant.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 1 month

Summer course Fashion Accessories Design inPolimoda International Institute. Under this program, students will master the basic knowledge about creating accessories - the design of bags, hats, scarves, fabrics for ties and small leather goods. In theory and practice, teachers demonstrate the path of the product from idea to implementation.

Cities: Florence
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 1 month

Summer course “Smart Accessories” inDomus academy. As part of the program, a study of the field of technology and the development of concepts for innovative fashion products are conducted. This course is suitable for fashion designers, designers and creative technologists. Students are waiting for lectures, class work and guided tours.

Cities: Milan
Learning Languages: English
Course Duration: 1 month

The programs of Italian universities are based on working business models and taking into account the latest changes in the industry. Shoes and accessories design courses can also be taken in Russia, but with a diploma and portfolio of an Italian university, there will be much more chances to take a prestigious position in Europe or to establish your own successful business.

How to become a sneaker designer

If you are still just learning, I advise you to visit the ConceptKicks or Pensole sites - there you can find a lot of useful and inspiring information. There are several accounts on Instagram on this topic: in addition to the sites mentioned, the Laceless Design and CallingAllCreators communities are popular there. I also still have the only Russian-language blog on sneaker design on VKontakte.

Do you think that you already know everything, and want to get into one of the companies? The most effective way is to send them a resume directly. Addresses are often indicated on corporate websites in the Career section.

Sometimes companies themselves invite designers, for this you just have to notice on the Internet. But you need to take into account that the competition here is quite strong, so for a greater chance of success you need to stand out from the rest of the candidates.

You can go the way of freelance. But experience shows that it is much more complicated. Since many customers do not understand how to produce shoes, you will need a lot of experience, knowledge, as well as a couple of contacts with factories.

You will need to somehow work with prototypes and materials, and this implies your personal presence. Работать удалённо можно только в том случае, если ваш заказчик достаточно опытен, чтобы производить обувь самостоятельно, и может сам продолжить доработки прототипов.

Где работают дизайнеры кроссовок

В России не так много компаний, которые выпускают спортивную обувь. Тех, где серьёзно занимаются дизайном, ещё меньше. Однако такие существуют. Если поискать вакансии «дизайнер обуви» в интернете, вы наверняка найдёте пару-тройку объявлений. Most companies are located in Moscow, but there are other cities.

I advise you to visit their sites or stores and look at the product that they release. If you see frank fakes on well-known brands, know: all you will do in this company is change logos and colors. Which, of course, is also work, but you won’t put it in your portfolio ...

In the West there is more choice. If you are lucky enough to live in America, then most of the offices of sports companies are located here. Nike, New Balance, Under Armor, Saucony, Vans, Skechers, Brooks, DC are Native Americans.

Adidas and Puma are German companies, but they have design centers in the USA. The Reebok brand is now owned by Adidas, although its head office is in America. ASICS and Mizuno are Japanese brands, but they also have design studios on the western continent. Even the Chinese brand Anta - and he opened a representative office in Boston.

In Europe, as already mentioned, you can find the headquarters of Adidas, Puma, Salomon. In addition, sneakers are now producing haute couture houses such as Gucci, Versace, Balenciaga and others. Separately, it is worth noting the Fila brand - initially the Italian company was sold to the United States, and then to Korea.

Therefore, their offices are scattered across almost all continents, and brand products are very different in different countries. I may have missed some countries and brands, but only because there are just so many.

Want to let out your sneakers

Then remember: the production of sneakers is much more complicated and costly than sewing clothes and classic shoes. And the biggest difficulty in the sole. Modern soles are molded from foam rubber under pressure, this requires sophisticated equipment, and molds are required for every design and size.

The cost of a set of molds is approximately equal to the cost of a new car (and we are not talking about Lada Granta, but about two or three such cars).

You can save on the production of your own sole, choosing among existing ones. But here it is not so simple. Most manufacturers of soles do not undertake orders in which there are less than a thousand pairs, which means that you still have to invest several thousand dollars.

It is also likely that they will sell you not the original design, but a copy of a famous brand, which in some cases can turn into problems. Therefore, carefully consider the choice of the sole and manufacturer.

The third option is to make soles on your own. It all depends on your skill and capabilities. Someone buys cheap sneakers in the market and cuts off the sole from them, someone prints on a 3D printer, and someone cuts out the soles manually.

With the top of the shoe it is much simpler, so many brands produce different models of tops on the same soles. If you compare classic and modern sneakers, then the technology has stepped far forward, but the principle has remained the same.

You just need to choose a suitable block, and then complete freedom of creativity. You can combine all kinds of materials, add and remove parts without much cost. The main thing - do not forget that your creation should be not only beautiful, but also convenient.

That's all. I hope everyone learned something new for themselves. You can ask any questions in the comments, as well as write to me on any social networks.

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