Last weekend I found a great footwear industry, shoe development and design blog called First Pullover. I don’t like the name because it’s too arcane. If you’re not already in the footwear industry, you have no idea that the first prototype shoe is called “first pullover” so I think the name unnecessarily limits the number of visitors this site should attract. That’s not to say that he doesn’t have loyal visitors, he does, but I would have sent people there a long time ago if his blog had been popping up on google searches for “footwear design” or “shoe product development”. Still, the site is sufficiently technical and unique that I stuck him in my lower left side bar under fashion blogs (I need to rename that heading myself) but I named his link “Footwear Design” with the hope that it will attract people interested in the technical side of shoe design because several of you keep asking about shoe manufacturing. Speaking of, his site is loaded with all kinds of technical illustrations and spec sheets (click the images on his site for full size versions ).
Another option would be to view his Coroflot portfolio or download his mini portfolio from his personal website. If you want to manufacture shoes, I’d think following his examples for detail and formatting is mandatory.
Before I started kvetching, I was saying this is a great blog and it is. Our host is Richard Kuchinsky and he’s a product manager and designer of football (soccer) shoes for hummel International, currently residing in Denmark (I think he’s Canadian). His blog covers all phases of footwear design and development from design, forecasting, and line planning to sample and pattern development and production in Asia. Apparently, his isn’t an apologist for his industry either, saying that
i am a sneakerhead, but i am also an observer of the industry from the inside… i look at things from a different perspective. limited edition means that there are not enough preorders to justify a larger production run. exclusive colorway is an SMU. a collaboration is marketing breakthrough (wtf!)….the world of sneakers and footwear design has entered an era of new found appreciated and collective conciousness. unfortunately i feel that most of what passes today for “new” and “special” is nothing [but] overplayed, overmarketed, overpriced examples target[ed] towards the unthinking collector with too much money and not enough original thoughts.
Even if you’re not intending to get into shoe production, there’s an incredible world to explore. Richard has photographed factory shoe-making in many stages. The site is difficult to navigate -even the archive dates are enigmatic- so if you want to tour the shoe making process in order, read this post and follow the supplied links. Another item of interest is that hummel International is reportedly a lean manufacturer. Still, some batch processing is unavoidable in the needle trades. Below is a photo of batch processing. I thought it was cute! Imagine, one bundle fitting into that tiny little tub! I suppose that is true of any small sewn product item but I’m so used to making larger items I don’t think of it.