Shoe Designer: Career Profile and Educational Requirements
Shoe designers use their knowledge of fashion trends, materials and design to conceptualize and develop new footwear. Aspiring shoe designers who complete an associate's or bachelor's degree program in fashion design may have a competitive edge in the job market.
Career Profile for a Shoe Designer
From conceptualization to final product, shoe designers create shoes for new or existing footwear lines. Using their extensive knowledge of industry trends, design concepts, patterns and materials, they sketch designs by hand or with the assistance of computer-aided design (CAD) software. Once the designs are complete, a prototype is created, refined and used to make samples for industry shows. The level of hands-on involvement shoe designers have throughout the design process depends on their experience level and the size of the company for which they work.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted little change in the employment of fashion designers from 2010-2020 but noted that competition for open positions would be fierce because many people are drawn to this industry (www.bls.gov). In May 2012, the BLS reported that the mean salary of fashion designers employed by the footwear manufacturing industry was $74,190.
Educational Requirements for Shoe Designers
Aspiring shoe designers can complete 2-year or 4-year programs in fashion design. By enrolling in fashion design degree programs, aspiring shoe designers develop and hone their craft while building design portfolios. Some designers may pursue a broad course of study in fashion design, while others take specialized courses in accessory or shoe design. Courses may include footwear design, design software, materials, marketing, industry trends and advanced footwear design. While the majority of employers prefer candidates with college degrees, past experience in conjunction with demonstrable creative skills are often the primary prerequisites for employment.
Skills Needed to Become a Shoe Designer
An eye for aesthetic detail is essential to become a shoe designer because these professionals consider color, balance, line and other design principles. A flair for fashion and foresight regarding upcoming industry trends are also important qualities. Shoe designers usually integrate paper-based sketches with CAD software, which requires that they have the ability to sketch. Even if they don't physically create prototypes, knowledge of how to construct shoes is important for communication purposes. In addition to creative talent, good communication skills are vital for success.
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