Rebecca Marshall

Senior Shoe Designer

Rebecca has designed for companies such as Kurt Geiger, LK Bennett, Berties, and Next, are just a few big names to mention within womenswear, trainers and kidswear sectors. Rebecca talks to us about her insight into the Shoe industry through her eyes and to share her thoughts and inspiration.

When & how did you get into the industry?
I studied for an Art & Textile A levels then from there I went to London College of Fashion to do a Foundation course, which then lead me to Middlesex University to do a BA Textiles. After that I went to Cordwainers to do a Post Grad in shoe design. I managed to get a bit of work experience in Monsoon as a Footwear Designer, but after a year later, I got a job at a very shitty footwear supplier and it started from there!

 Sounds fun, did they get you making the tea too?
Photocopying wa s big part haha!

Can you tell us what’s your average day like for a Shoe Designer?Designing is a process that has a start, middle and end through each season. A start of a day could consist of, looking at new trends while amending the previous seasons samples, or sorting out tasks for the new season and range building. We design from  trend research and specing out briefs to our factories. It helps spending time there because you’re amending samples to the best as we can. Each day can be quite varied but the processes are similar each season.

How do you start a new seasonal collection?
Looking at best selling kits/constructions to start the foundation of the the range, research key shapes for the season to add to the range leaving some options for OTB, then make sure the range stays fresh. You need to research new trends to build on the existing last/units.

 Tell us how you find inspiration?
Retailing around the world in different cities I find the best, but there are trend websites, like WGSN which is great & and industry shows that  can be directional. Catwalks and social media are also a must!


Is it difficult pinning down the right trends for your target customer?
Not if the brand has a strong identity. I actually like it when the brief is tight and you have to design something relevant under very tight constraints.

Do you work closely with your buyers. If so why?
Yes, working in retail it is buying/ mech lead, and design is part of the team and together we create the range. This is important for all your team to get the best product we can achieve.

Why are your trips to see your suppliers important?
Our production is done in Asia mostly, so going out to see supplier can make amendments  happen in minutes rather then days over email. It’s 
also to establish and keep a good relationship with supplier and get the best product as possible. Culturally it is seen to be good to go, and meet suppliers face to face.

How do you see global warming and sustainable affecting the shoe industry?
I think people will spend more money on products that will last years rather then throw away. Hiring & renting clothes will become normal. We need to cut down the amount of landfills of waste, so I feel this will be the future in how we shop.

Are there any final words of advice you can give the shoe designers trying to break into the shoe wear industry?
There’s are not many jobs in the UK, so be prepared to work abroad. Get as much work experience as possible, this is key! This will help you get your foot through the door. Make sure you understand the basics of illustrator and photoshop,…. and believe in yourself never give up, it will pay off!