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  • Writer's pictureSiiri

Design Studies – First Year, Second Period

My second period in university was called Professional skills of desing. In this perioud we learned about different sketching and presentation skills, some basic principles of product desing as well as material used in footwear. We also made our first ever shoes during this second period.


Professional skills of desing


Sketching And Presentation Technique

In the sketching and presentation course we practised different techniques of presenting items that we're designing as well as how to create moodboards around your items. In my case, I practised imitating fabrics, materials and leathers used in shoes with tools such as markers, water colors and wooden pencils ect. We also learned to draw shoes from different perpectives as well as using art or prints as a source of inspiration for our desings.

Shoes from different perspectives with markers.

Shoes and in a moodboard.

Practising shoes with markers and diagonal perspective.

Creating a feeling of textures, fabrics and leathers with wooden pencils, water colors and markers.

Shoes made out of a print I designed and a moodboard for the shoe.

Shoes inspired by Mary Blair's Cinderella paintings for Disney.

In this course we also had keep a sketchbook of our thoughs and ideas. This is important as sketchbooks are useful tools to work with different ideas and techniques as well as learn to draw quick.


Principles Of product Desing And Portfolio Work

In this class we learned some basics of product desing and how to create your own trends from trends already presented to you by professional trend forecasters.

We also learned what are the core points we have to think about when designing a product. For example, is the product beautiful, practical, durable, what memories it might evoke or what its meant for are some of the key elements in designing new products. Then we talked about how to desing products to a target group and how to define our target groups.

What's more, we had to get to know to some designer that we find inspiring and write an essay about our chosen designer's life, work, inspirations etc. and reflect that to our own learning, values, dreams, hopes, fears, insecurities and studies. I wrote my essey on Manolo Blahnik because I specifically wanted to write about a shoe designer. Therefore, I chose Blahnik because his shoes are so well known, iconic and imaginative, and Manolo himself seems such a fun, unique and genuine person. So, several books and documents later, I discovered that Manolo's journey is quite an interesting one, he loves strories and every shoe he designes is almouts like a character of its own. They're just simply so beautiful!


Principles Of Vocational Materials And Production Techniques

Different types of leathers.

In this class we learned about fabrics, leathers and materials used in footwear. Basicly, where we use them, why and how they're made were the core questions of the course. We also touch the subject of sustainablity and I can confirm that as far as we know no animal is killed purely for the leather we use in shoes. This means that all the leather footwear industry uses comes as a waste from the food industry. That beings said, obviously, sustainability and ethics are far more complex and difficult topics than that with no right or wrong answer to them. But you want it or not, it is just a hard fact that leather is still one of the best, most durable and most hardwearing materials for footwear. At the end of the day is faux leather any better? It is plastic after all.

Another thing about sustainable shoes is that it is so, so, so hard to make shoes that are 100% sustainable, recyclable and renewable. Purely because even the most basic of shoes has at least 14 diffrent materials in them. So unless you shoes aren't made of only one material they are hard or almoust impossible to recycle not to mention all the glues holding everything tightly together makeing it even harder to rip apart materials. That is why quality is the keyword of footwear. But don't loose hope! Scientists, designers and factories are creating new techniques and materials everyday to make shoes more sustainable.

Apart from leather we also learned about synthetic materials, all kinds of fabrics, foams, glues etc. as well as different finishes and chemicals used to make materials more suitable, flexiable and strong for footwear.

Making Of Shoes

Second part of this class was to make our own shoes using professional production techniques. We didn't yet get to choose the style and desing ourselve but we did get to do the shoes with ready made patterns and leathers available in the storage room.

1. Cutting patterns

(Cow leather)

(Pig leather.)

2. Thining the edges, sewing and folding upper edges of the shoes

3. Cutting and glueing elastics

4. Sewing lining and elastics to the upper leather

5. Heel Stiffener

6. Attaching insole to a shoetree

7. Stretching lining over the insole and shoetree

(For this step you also need glue.)

8. Toe stiffener

(Toe stiffeners melt in certain degrees and therefore are easy to mold into a shape of the shoestree's tip.)

9. Streching the upper leather over the insole and shoetree

(Glue is needed.)

10. Glueing a border onto the egde of the upper leather and sole

(Glue is needed again here. We also have to sand the border as well as the bottom of the shoe so that the glue sticks better.)

11. Cutting and glueing soles out of EVA

(Also sanding all of the surfaces that are to be glued.)

12. Last layer of the sole comes from rubber

(Sanding and glueing all the excess sole materials.)

Finished shoes!

(Unfortunately, they were way too big for me...)


Thank you so much for reading!



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