Costs vs value; what’s a good shoe worth? And who is paying the price for it?
Shoes; a lot of people love them, buy them –not necessarily need them– and collect them in spite of the price they have to pay for them. Most people however, consider footwear to be very expensive and don’t like to spend too much on it. But what’s a good shoe worth? And who’s paying the price for it?
In this series of blogs, we will try to explain how many stages footwear has to go through before it has found its way to the (web) shop. We’ll start with the commercial collections; later on we will focus on limited editions and bespoke shoes.
Part two: lasts and patterns
The basis of each new shoe is formed by the last and the pattern. A last is a wooden or plastic mould in the shape of a shoe. Each type of shoe is in need of its own last. A court shoe or pump with a stiletto heel for instance, needs a completely other type of last than a classic man’s shoe. If the last doesn’t have the right shape or fit, the shoe will never become what the designer had in mind. Lasts are very expensive and therefore are being used over and over again.
When the last finally has the righ shape, the pattern of the upper has to be made. Firstly, a master shell is made by draping a shell on top of the last. The outlines of the design are drawn on top of this master shell, as well as the seems, the linings and supplementary design features like cut-outs, stitching etc.
Next the master shell will be placed onto the pattern cutting shell on the last. All design features are pricked through with an awl to copy them onto the pattern cutting shell. This cutting shell will be used to make the upper, the master shell will be filed for future reference.
When the cutting shell has been finished it can be cut into different parts, after which the parts will be taken of the last. All parts have to be flattened before they can be used. All these actions have to be carried out with the utmost care; sloppy work will have a negative effect on the fit of the upper.
Next episode: production
1: Capolavori design in progress (image: Capolavori)
2: Sketching uppers (image: archive SDM)