I first found out about TOMS back in college. I’ve always admired the fact that they are making a difference as a for-profit company. I was really happy that I got the opportunity to work there as a print designer last year.
Before this, I had never worked with shoes. I didn’t even know these shoes are called espadrilles or alpargatas. I’ve always thought them as “TOMS Shoes” (Way to do your research before starting a job Aly). Designing prints for shoes is surprisingly different from designing for cloth. The scale is especially important because you only have so much space on shoes. Luckily, since the space is so small, it’s less likely for someone to notice the repeat. The number of colors you can use are super limited. Clothing companies are usually okay with going up to 10 – 12 colors for a print. Even though that’s expensive, but if the print is right they are willing to do it. But for shoes, because the base material is so much more expensive the number of color I can use is very limited. Good thing this is Fall/Winter collection, the color palette is pretty restraint to beginning with.
Outside of developing prints, I learned to design shoes for the first time. I would be given an old style, and be asked to make a flat sketch with improvements. I’d then talk it over with the design team and figure out solutions to the problems. Obviously I wasn’t given real important parts, but it was nevertheless a whole new skill I picked up. After the flat sketches, we’d talk about what kind of material should be used on each part of the shoe. I learned that there is a part of a shoe that’s called “cookie”.
The experience was short, but it was rewarding. Hope I get to run into people wearing the shoes I worked on in the streets of LA.
Check out more images for the ones I worked on in portfolio.