Art & Design, Lifestyle, Photography
Art & Design, Lifestyle, Photography

Pattern cutting for shoes

London Craft Week

I was looking for something hands on to take part in that would allow me to express a bit of creativity while learning a bit more about something I’m not familiar with. For this reason, I took part in the London College of Fashion Maker Library event for London Craft Week this year.

Held annually, London Craft week is a week of events throughout the capital that allows for people like myself to take part in learning the tricks of the trade in different creative industries. Many of the events include tutorials and workshops where you can get as involved as you want. It’s a brilliant showcase of some of the overlooked skill we have in the capital.

Who knew shoes would be so complicated?

This event was all day and jam-packed which I liked, but did I mention that it was intense? I don’t think I could ever look at a pair of shoes the sm way after this workshop. Our expert teacher Nafi Mustafa really knew his stuff, coming from a long line for pattern cutters and shoemakers so the class was in safe hand. Any mistakes made was us, not him.

Our focus was on the standard ladies court shoe as it was  a good basis for starters like myself to understand the different parts of a shoe and how tiny variations in calculations can determine the difference between a comfortable shoe and one of those hard, blistering creations we all own that we paid too much for.

As I was quite interested in knowing how extravagant designs such as those of Sophia Webster or Alexander McQueen, it was great to come away with the knowledge of how pattern cutting forms the foundation of any shoe, whether it becomes a simple nude court shoe on the feet of Kate Middleton, or a red-soled Christian Louboutin on the red carpet.

We were all given our workshop quarters to concentrate and Nafi was constantly checking to make sure everyone was understanding of what he meant and able to follow the patterns as intended.

Pattern cutting for shoes
Pattern cutting for shoes © UAL

Yay or Nay to pattern cutting?

This is not a child’s play course for someone who just likes pretty shoes. I can see Nafi is passionate about the business and take scare in explaining to students the importance of delivering a product that you could be proud of, one that consumers will want to wear.

Throughout the day we were able to check out the almost-finished products of some UAL final year students on the pattern cutting course. Although every shoe started off with the same pattern, Nafi was able to mentor us to think about the finished product and what we want to achieve. The execution of the final year shoe collections is impressive.

For someone who loves fashion, I can definitely say this a course that can really let you bring out your creativity as the designs will be your own. You could see the concentration and hard work that went into every shoe. I think anyone with a mathematical background with a love of physics would love this course and may have an advantage as it may give you a bit of edge when creating a pattern for a shoe that will be a little more comfortable than the average stock on sale these days.

Cary x

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