Hello all! Today we caught up with Lauren who gave us the lowdown on life as a Junior footwear designer here at Shu Da. We were keen to make sense of Shu Da’s slipper design process, foresee future footwear trends and gain a behind the scenes glimpse into a day in the work life of one of Shu Da’s talented design girls!
How did your journey start into footwear and working at Shu Da?
My favourite subjects had always been Art and Textiles and growing up I always envisioned myself being a designer, but clothing design didn’t feel quite right. I happened to be working as a sales assistant during sixth form in Clarks, the footwear store. It was here where I picked up a range of different footwear knowledge, including fitting, fabrics, leathers and technologies… one day it just clicked – hey, what about being a shoe designer?
I was accepted onto the Cordwainer’s Footwear Design course at London College of Fashion and began my degree. I undertook a placement year at Zara in Spain during this time, a typical working day here would be spent designing shoes. Whilst working at Zara, I developed an interest in comfort-based styles and the importance of sustainable fashion became apparent to me… so it’s great to now be working for a company which aligns with my values.
What does it take to design a successful collection?
It definitely takes inspiration to start with, I really enjoy discussing ideas with the team and having that shared vision. From then on it takes good ideation and direction!
What does a typical day in the office consist of?
It consists of many things, no two days are the same! It can range from researching, designing, communicating with our factories, a lot of organisation, reviewing samples and catching up with our lovely team.
What does sustainability mean to you and how do you consider this in the design process?
Sustainability to me is about slowing down and making conscious decisions, especially when it comes to fashion. I think it is about asking yourself those important questions such as, ‘do I really need this?’, ‘is it going to last?’, ‘am I going to get maximum use out of this?’ and question the textiles used in the making of the product such as, ‘does this product use sustainable/ recycled componentry?’
When it comes to design, these questions are always considered as we balance creating a timeless look with current trends. This ensures we can maximise product versatility and wear-ability. Shu Da's brand focus is using recycled materials for its products which we are very proud of! Product longevity is also key, I believe it is better to invest in something which is well considered and made to last.
How would you describe Shu Da as a brand, in three words?
Wholesome, conscious and comfort-driven.
What is your favourite Shu Da product and why?
From a design perspective, it has got to be the Laura slipper in Grey for me. It has a sporty yet minimal look which I am really drawn to; the best part being the outsole which has a techy-looking tread design. The felt clog upper is very on trend right now and in-hand it is very lightweight and flexible. It is the perfect hybrid indoor to outdoor slipper.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what is in store for the future of Shu Da?
All I will say is there is some great newness coming! No spoilers… but I just know the customers are going to love what’s in store for Shu Da. We are keen for each new collection to be even more sustainable than the last!
Are there any upcoming footwear trends you can share with us?
Yes – we are pleased to see that the hybrid styles, combining traditional formal and sporty footwear with indoor slippers aren’t going anywhere! I think it’s a super cool trend and it’s been exciting to play around with. I have enjoyed combining molded footbeds with more traditional uppers as well as relaxing more formal footwear styles into slippers with padding and volume. Hybridity is key.
What is the best part about your job?
Getting to be creative every day, knowing we are making an impact on the UK slipper market and beyond!
What have you learnt whilst working at Shu Da?
I could say a lot but most interestingly – the logistics around sustainable materials and components and how these are incorporated into product in a way that’s marketable and accessible.