Footwear designing

With the advent of more sophisticated shoemakers in the country and the inflow of foreign brands, the Indian consumers have begun to appreciate the value of a quality pair of shoes.

They are now ready to shell out more if it means owning an exquisite pair of shoes that gives both pleasure and comfort. Shoes crafted scientifically and with ergonomic principles are worth their price. Hence, shoemakers who combine both panache and poise rake in success and money, making this profession a most lucrative one.

Shoe designing is becoming a popular career option thanks to the robust growth the footwear industry in India is demonstrating. As per a recent Assocham report, the domestic shoe market is pegged at Rs 2,22,810 crore and is growing at a CAGR of 15 percent. The industry is likely to touch Rs 3,81,960 crore mark by 2015. India is the second largest shoe producer in the world after China. This throws up a plethora of opportunities in shoe designing, manufacturing, fashion consultancy, retail and customer service.     

Institutes and courses

There are several undergraduate and postgraduate courses one can pursue in India to build a career in shoe designing. There are also plenty of diploma and certificate courses available in footwear design and technology. In order to fulfill the rapidly growing demand for qualified professionals in the country, several top notch institutes like NIFT are setting up vocational courses purely to serve the demand of niche shoe and footwear designers. There are other institutes dedicated to just shoe designing like the Footwear Design and Development Institute in Noida and Central Footwear Training institute in Uttar Pradesh. Students gain an essential knowledge of materials, patterns, design concepts, software as well as industry trends in these courses. They also get hands-on experience in the entire process of shoe designing and manufacturing. The course material also often includes a wide spectrum of knowledge in fields like fine art, anatomy, kinesiology engineering as well as business and marketing.

Qualities required

Besides a formal training, the one quality irreplaceable for success in this career is an innate creativity and a love for design and perfection.  Most veterans in the shoe business will tell you that a positive attitude and the ability to work extremely hard are irreplaceable. Technical knowledge is undoubtedly essential as the emphasis these days is on shoes that feel as good as they look. Being innovative and unique is also important. Thus someone who is serious about shoe designing needs to keep a constant tab on the trends around the world, keep oneself abreast with classic and contemporary styles  and bring his/her own take to these to really carve a niche in the long run. A flair for drawing, sketching and an eye for detail are equally essential. Finally what matters is the finish and the polish that the pair exudes.

Career options

After training oneself in shoe design, there are plenty of options that one can turn to as a specialised career. These range from footwear design, product development, quality control, footwear technology, merchandising, marketing, planning and also trade analysis and research. The remuneration is directly proportional to one’s ability to scale the heights of success. Usually this career is a well paying one as it is very demanding and also requires talent coupled with technical expertise. Most beginners opt to work for mass merchandising brands, sportswear companies or under established designers to learn the ropes before diving in with their own business.
Crafting a pair of beautiful shoes, engaging consumers with your designs and making them fall in love with what you have created are unimaginably rewarding experiences that come with the bonus of high income and profit.

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