Most dress shoe (Fig 3.10) design direction comes from Europe. Creative international shoe designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Robert Clegerie set international trends for women’s fashion shoes. Shoe designers study fashion trends so that their shoes will coordinate with apparel.
Many shoe company designers or line builders (product managers) attend the shoe fairs in Dusseldorf, Germany, and Bologna and Milan, Italy, to get ideas for a new shoe collection. Like an apparel merchandiser, the line builder begins with concepts for groups and works with designers who develop individual shoe styles. Designers are primarily concerned with materials, color, shape and proportion.
They must consider the view of the shoe from all angles. Many shoe companies are using computer-aided design(CAD) systems that are capable of both twodimensional design(design of uppers and size grading) and three-dimensional design(design of the last, a foot shaped form, and projection of the drawing on the last.
Sometimes the line builder will buy prototypes (sample shoes) from a modielista (model maker) at a studio or shoe fair. Or, the line builder might forward a designer’s sketches to a modelista, who makes the first model. If the line builder and modelista live in different countries, ideas and samples must be sent back and forth by the Internet or via fax. The sample shoes are edited to from a balanced collection. Duplication is then made for the sales staff, showroom, and trade shows.