Shoes and accessories
What do you currently do?
I am a footwear and accessories design consultant. I work closely with my clients to produce designs which meet their vision and expectations. This involves me researching, designing and then developing ranges of footwear or accessories.
I work from home, except when I am travelling to meet clients both in the UK and globally.
How long have you performed the role?
I have been a designer for 17/18 years and have worked as a freelance design consultant for the last 4 years.
I became a freelance design consultant since it enabled me to have more flexibility and work on a wider variety of projects. I also enjoy the work/life balance it gives me.
What educational qualifications do people need to perform your role?
I have a BA Hons Degree in Footwear and Accessories. It is also possible to do an HND Course in Footwear & Accessories or equivalent qualifications in Fashion Design, Automotive Design, or Product Design would be considered.
What practical experience do people need to help them to obtain your role?
Practical footwear knowledge in shoe construction (shoemaking).
The ability to use both freehand and computer skills, such as Photoshop or illustrator to enable them to deliver their designs from various perspectives.
Are there any particular personal skills which people need to have to perform your role?
Clear communication and the ability to confidently present to small and large groups of people.
The role often involves the need to travel globally and work with different people from a variety of cultures. You need to enjoy working with people and have the willingness to adapt your approach to fit each individual situation.
What do you enjoy about your work?
I enjoy being creative and all of the stages and processes involved in putting together the final product. Each stage has its own specific requirements and each stage is interesting in its own right, from putting together the initial design to selecting the correct leather and thickness to obtain the desired outcome.
I would say the most satisfying moment is seeing someone wearing the final product.
What can be challenging about your work?
Working with other team members who don’t share your vision and ideas can be challenging. The importance of persuasion and learning to pick your battles is important to make sure you and your client get what you really want from the final product.
What is your fondest memory?
Accepting a Best Creative Award (for the team I managed) from the company chairman.
Do you have any personal advice for children/teenagers/young adults?
Be prepared to work hard. Your career will take various twists and turns in this industry, so you have to have tough skin and the ability to roll with the punches.
Working in this industry has enabled me to travel the world and visit many regions and places (i.e. local retail areas and factories) that I would not have visited. It has opened my eyes to different cultures and has helped me to make friends globally.
If you are looking for a career that is ever changing with constant new material innovations, fashion trends or sporting influences this is a great move. BUT be prepared to move jobs globally to fulfill your career goals.