13 January, 2011

Right Before I Left

I hate this photo.

It was taken the day before I moved to London, and my boyfriend was trying incredibly hard to smile and be brave for me. It was taken over brunch, but I hadn't eaten much in months, I was unbearably sad and too scared to think straight. I had trouble making eye contact with him that entire day because I knew I'd cry if I did.

Even though I've now moved back to SF, when I see this photo I feel incredibly sad. And when I lay in bed next to my boyfriend, I often remember the night before I left and how I stayed up until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore... and the moment the alarm went off that next morning I yelled, "no no no no no no please no!" I don't remember much after that until I said goodbye to him in the car outside my parents' place. I remember crying at the airport saying goodbye to my mom, and being glad that my boyfriend wasn't at the airport because I wouldn't have had the strength to get on the plane if he had been.

What's lame is that I still get a little wet-eyed just thinking about those last two days. I was such a mess.

31 December, 2010

Update on Shoemaking Class

I just got off the phone with the people who run the small shoe school I am hoping to attend. Not only are they lovely people for allowing me to take classes that are already full, but I ended the call with excited jitters running through me. This sounds like exactly the sort of education I need. Knowing the limitations of trying to make shoes in a country with no shoemaking industry, they will teach me how to start from scratch and make custom components. This is HUGE! This is what’s been holding me back, and knowledge like that will change everything for me! Additionally, this will be my introduction to the US’s shoemaking industry- the teacher has already helped me find contacts for excellent leathers, shoemaking components and tools, and told me I would receive a list of contacts and shoemakers in my area. This is INVALUABLE information if I want to start my own shoemaking business (and I do).

So let me explain to you why I have been trying to auction off my skills and my soul in order to pay for these amazing classes. Each course is a short term intensive, focused on making one pair of shoes of your own design. The first one takes place in mid-January and lasts for eight days. The second is in February and is two weeks long. The third one (making fetish boots) is about ten days and in March. After that, I will play it by ear and see if I want to continue with their internship program.

The cost for my first class is $1200 (not including living expenses for the week). I know that sounds high, but it is very reasonable when you consider that he will be giving me all the leather, components, and materials needed as well as an in-depth education in a specialized field. The second and third classes are a bit more, but they will give me a 20% discount for signing up to all three. All in all, the total for the three classes will be a little under $6k (again, before living expenses).

As I have mentioned, I’ve recently fallen on hard financial times, as has my family and boyfriend. Things have just taken a rather sudden turn for the worse for everyone. Bad timing! Luckily for me, I have generous friends who have helped me raise $150 towards the costs so far (Thank you, M, S, B!) and my unemployed mother has fronted me the cash to pay for initial costs, but I must pay her back immediately.

I know it’s classless to discuss money, but several of my friends have asked me to break down the costs of what I’m doing so they weren’t donating blindly to a cause they weren’t sure I was serious about.

So let me tell you in no uncertain terms: I am INCREDIBLY serious about this career. I will do whatever it takes to pay for these classes and develop my design work. I am applying for jobs every day in hopes of changing my financial situation as quickly as possible. This is what I want to do. Shoemaking is a fascinating craft and I LOVE doing it. These classes are my next step in making this a career, and not just some dreamy hobby.

So if you have any suggestions on how I could raise some money to help pay for this amazing opportunity, I would love to hear them!

27 December, 2010

Funny Thing about Offering Classes.....

I sent out a message with my idea of offering shoemaking tutorials, and several of my friends wrote back immediately saying they weren't interested in that so much as just simply donating money. I feel really odd about accepting cash, but as three people have suggested it now, perhaps I'm not a horrible person for accepting their incredibly kind offers.

So, at their request:

Behold my new Paypal donate button! If you aren't interested in taking shoemaking classes, or bidding on naked art of me, but still want to contribute to my shoemaking class fund, this is a way you can do it. Every cent in appreciated, though in no way expected.

Would you want to learn shoemaking in exchange for a little help?

Let me catch you up on the story so far.

I just returned to San Francisco after studying in London, where I changed my focus from fashion to footwear design. I have a good basic knowledge of the shoemaking process, but I am looking to learn more so I can prototype my experimental and wild designs.

In my search for further education I have found three advanced shoemaking classes in a neighboring state that I very much want to take. They are not cheap and I have recently fallen on hard financial times. In order to help fund my shoemaking classes over the next three months it has been suggested that I turn to my friends. But I don't like the idea of asking for money, so I was thinking of what I could do to raise the funds I need to continue my education.

Then an idea occurred to me: I was nearly hired to teach a basic shoemaking class in London. Not only do I know the basics pretty damn well, but in all modesty I'm a good teacher (In fact I helped teach pattern cutting when I was a student at Central Saint Martins). So I want to ask you this:

Would you be interested in bidding on a 1-on-1 basic shoemaking class with me?

You would learn how a basic high heel shoe is constructed and make a basic mid-heel mule in your size. I would need to find an industrial sewing machine in order to make this happen, but that's completely doable. Your class would take place sometime in March, ideally. That way I will have finished more classes and be able to offer you far more expertise and experience to draw from.

(Additionally, my friend James Courtney has offered to donate a print of yours truly from his Wicked Grounds show for people to auction off, and my friend Elisabeth Anderson has offered to draw a portrait of an auction winner as well!)

I'm just trying to gauge interest in things like this, so please feel free to leave comments. I feel a little weird about asking my friends to donate, but so many people have told me I should do it.....

20 December, 2010

Seeking Design Work

If you have been reading my posts on Tumblr these past few months, you know that I’ve been having a great time working on an amazing and oh-so-secret project.
Unfortunately, two weeks ago circumstances beyond my control changed everything, and my amazing design job is suddenly no more.
But onwards and upwards, right? In the interest of seeking out new design and design-related opportunities, I am hearby sharing my eclectic resume in the hopes that one of you might have a lead for me.
Please feel free to pass it along to anyone you think might have use of my skills/talents/fabulousity. Thank you in advance. I’m blowing you very professional air kisses as you read this.

17 December, 2010

Computer Says No *kaff

Pleaser was silent for the last few days so I checked in to make sure they received the designs. They did, and they "weren't sold". So, that's that. I was feeling pretty confident about being able to design for them. Oh well. Good thing I didn't send anything like the stuff I usually design- they might have had a panic attack!

On the bright side, I can now share the three designs I sent them!

I didn't do anything wildly original because, well, Pleaser is Pleaser, and they have their look- I didn't want to challenge them too much. Perhaps playing it safe was a mistake? They asked me to design three styles that fit into their current lines, and send hand sketches along with a proper design. I wasn't sure what that meant, so I just did something simple. I'm aware that I'm not the best artist (to say the least), but I get the point across I think...

(Of the three I sent, two of them used standard, unchanged Pleaser shapes, so I didn't make up random measurements for those. Just FYI.)

09 December, 2010


The other day I was hunting for shoe design jobs, a disappointing experience which confirmed my fears that there are very few to be had in California. I happened across a listing for two entry-level design jobs at Pleaser shoes. Despite not having as much experience as they wanted, I could totally do the job. The only catch? I’d have to move to Anaheim, CA to do it. So I passed it by and moped about it for a few days.
But I kept thinking about it, and on a whim last night, I sent a rather ballsy email to Pleaser, asking if I could be a contract designer for them. I mentioned that I am a part of the alternative lifestyle and studied in London. I made it a point to mention that even though I’m new to the field, I see them trying to expand their brand and know I could help them do that. 
I never thought I’d hear back and almost regretted sending the email.
But to my surprise this evening I received a response! They’ve asked me to design 3 shoes for specific lines in their brand and to send those along. Essentially, I have an audition! 
Oh shit! Now I actually have to walk the walk I was talking the talk about. AIEEEEE! 

03 December, 2010

What Have I Been Up To?

Both the boy and myself were sick over Thanksgiving, and as such I didn't work out for two weeks and instead spent considerable time laying around watching movies. I also started a new Tumblr while I was feeling sorry for my sickly self. I have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of shoes laying around, and I realize that they aren't doing me much good if I don't tag and archive them to create a reference book for myself. Thus began the joy that is Shoe Pr0n, your daily dose of interesting footwear design, curated by yours truly. New stuff posted daily, sometimes with commentary or history.

Despite having to take those two weeks off my workout regime, I'm losing weight. I'm about 4-5lbs lighter on average, and my measurements are slimming down bit by bit. My natural waist which was at 32, is now a little below 31, and ideally should be around 30 or lower. It's nice to feel like I can wear waist belts and not look thick and icky anymore.

My oh-so-super-seekrit design job is going well. I'm a little frustrated with my own limitations as a designer, as they are doubled by the limitations placed upon me by the sort of job I'm doing. Additionally, I'm not a good artist and I feel a little ashamed about my inability to draw what I want quickly. I've worked my ass off at uni, but never before have I been expected to create new designs every day. It's a bit stressful, and I can feel my brain wanting to rest. But then I think to myself, "holy shit, I'm being paid to design clothes and shoes! FORREALS!" and the happy shock of the situation urges me to shut up and get on with it.

The funny thing about this job is how my ego is coping with it. I am of two opposing minds almost every day. On one hand I have complete confidence that I know what I'm talking about, and have opinions and knowledge worth listening to. On the other hand, I doubt my ability to back those opinions and knowledge up with actual skill. There is also a bit of fear as this is the first time I've ever worked inside a semi-corporate structure as a designer and it means that I get orders from on high without ever having presented or defended my work and ideas. I know I have advocates showing my work on my behalf, but it's unnerving to not be there to present it myself. All I get is 2nd hand feedback, and marching orders. It's just a bit unnerving, and it reminds me of the day I applied to Central St Martins when they took my portfolio away from me and judged it without me there. I don't think my work speaks for itself, and my drawing ability certainly doesn't do anything to improve my case, so I feel I NEED to be with the work in order for it to make sense. But that's a very amateurish way of thinking. I'm no longer in school and no one cares about my sketchbook and inspiration. They want content and innovation without artsy fartsy bullshit.

I've been dressing up nearly every day (yeay for a job where I can wear heels) and I've rediscovered my passion for trying different looks and silhouettes each day. I've also found that my consistent immersion in the fashion world has once again awakened my appreciation for design far beyond the scope of my paycheck. It's becoming dangerous.

So that's more or less what I've been up to.  Working, working out, buying shoes, posting on Shoepr0n, playing video games (I finished Fable 3!) and missing London a little.

21 November, 2010


Having a really tough time readjusting to life here right now. Feel like crying or screaming or both, sometimes. Not sure what I can do about it.

This cold isn't helping, either.


03 November, 2010

Fixing My Brain

I feel very lucky that my first design client is my boyfriend's company, and that he is my direct contact. He's an excellent art director and gives really helpful feedback. He also has somehow tricked everyone else in the company into taking me seriously as a designer, and it's the first time I've ever felt my professional design opinions matter to anyone, at all, even a little.

Every day he helps to heal the damage CSM did to my brain, in ways he doesn't even know.

Thank you, lover.