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about_ffe0b829-46bc-4e85-a150-ed6d93516df2_2048x20481. What is Footwear Designing all about?
Since footwear always has and continues to play an important role in complementing any fashion trend that comes by, whether it is professional, semi-formal or routine, hence the biggest advantage that a career in the footwear industry comes with is that of being non-seasonal and always evolving. Designing footwear might come off as an interesting job, and it surely is, but it is not just limited to possessing a creative ability and a sense of artistic talent, a it requires taking into account a lot of factors other than simply conceptualizing ideas and converting it into real thing, assuring that it is comfortable and will not hurt your feet. As a footwear designer you’re expected to identify and be updated about materials, color, construction and styling, coming up with something that can cater to both domestic and global market. Technical skill, couples with an insight of footwear business practices is very important as well, where you should be able to devise sourcing and marketing strategies.

2. What are the professional/job prospects?
India happens to be the largest footwear production country in the world after China, therefore, footwear industry offers a variety of bright career options for footwear designer, which may or may not be directly related to fashion industry. Graduates from renowned universities are known to be hired by international brands, to take up technical, management, and management areas. A lot of people also prefer to work individually, starting their personal footwear boutiques, or team up with established designers to learn the ropes.

Some extremely common jobs in the footwear industry include: Designers, Product Developers, Footwear Technologists, Marketing Executives, Quality Controllers, Merchandisers, Planning Executives and Trend Analysts.

3. Where can you get degree in Footwear Designing in India?

  • Footwear Design & Development Institute (FDDI)- Noida, Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai
  • Indian Institute of Leather Products (IILP)- Chennai
  • National Institutes of Fashion Technology (NIFT)- New Delhi, Gandhinagar, and Chennai
  • Avi School Of Fashion and Shoe Technology, Chandigarh,
  • Central Leather Research Institute  (CLRI)- Chennai
  • Central Footwear Training Institute (CFTI) (Chennai, Agra)
  • National Institute of Fashion Technology (New Delhi, Gandhinagar, and Chennai)
  • Government Leather Institute, Agra

4. Eligibility:
You just require 10+2 or graduate qualification to get eligible for most of the courses, will do for most courses. Some technical courses requires you to be from science or engineering background.

5. How much you can earn?
According to Payscale – A Fashion Designer earns an average salary of Rs 353,073 per year. Experience and penchant for illustration strongly influences pay for this job. Most people with this job move on to other positions after 10 years in this career.

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Swati Mehrotra, from Swatimodo.

6. Hear from the professionals:
Swati Mehrotra, a fashion footwear designer with her own label – Swatimodo, says, “Shoe designing is a very niche and fresh career option in India at the moment, which is expected to experience a huge growth in the coming years as well. As a shoe designer one gets lots of options to explore, from formals, casuals to shoe component design. It’s surely sets you up for creative food and excitement, but you should also be ready to face challenges, too.” In her 5 year-long career, Swati has managed to carve out a place to herself, with her customized show concept, shoes based on sun signs and astrology science, shoes for your beloved pets, and even a unique service that offers a shoe spa. She has been part of many fashion weeks, both on a big and small scale, apart from volunteering to make more comfortable footwear for people suffering from polio.
Swati completed her formal education from Footwear Design and Development Institute in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

Edwin Pinto, who is a self taught designer hailing from Goa, with his signature brand – ‘Janota‘ told The Hindu  – “If one is willing to work hard, has an insatiable desire to experiment, and is particular about finishing and quality of each pair then shoe designing is an interesting career option.”

From across the border, we have Waqas Ali, the 26-year-old founder of Markhor, a new shoe company that got  crowdfunding on Kickstarter last year, who used to be a physics student with no background in making shoes. After learning about the declining number of the shoe craftsmen, while visiting his own village on a break from school–and recognizing that people in places like the U.S. might appreciate the quality of the product–he decided to drop out and help bring back the tradition of Pakistani shoes.

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“These craftsmen were making shoes for local markets, and then suddenly mass production came, and factories were selling really cheap quality shoes,” he says,”Because of the economic situation in Pakistan, people wanted to buy cheaper and cheaper. The craftsmen are not business-minded, and they started to lose business. My co-founder (Sidra Qasim) and I are from the communities we want to change, and we understand the problems these craftsmen face. It’s not just about the salaries–it’s also about respecting their work.”

You can read more about Markhor here: Markhor – A Pakistani start-up trying to revive a dying craft of shoe-making raises $85,029 on Kickstarter.

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