WordPressing

Hey kids, as part of the big Dead+Buried overhaul from quaint little craft blog to highbrow luxury goods retailer, I am testing out a new look for the blog.

Never fear, there will always be a blog on here of me/us/someone posting interesting happenings from here in Melbourne (or wherever we end up) but in time my shoe specific tricks and photos may move over to my own Steven Phillips site, so that this one can become a hip and happening* site full of fashion, art, music and hot girls.

For now, just let me know if this theme is looking crazy, ugly or unusable in any way and I’ll endeavour to fix it!

Until next time, nighty night.

*I am aware that the likelyhood of any site becoming “hip and happening” is inversely proportionate to the amount of times the term “hip and happening” is used on it.

2012 range : Part 1

Hey peeps, as you may have noticed I’ve been blogging on the fly lately with the ol’ iPhone app, but the last few days have seen me amass a bunch of photos that were better suited to one long(er) post instead of just popping up on your RSS feed every 20 minutes = Mega-post below.

(Plus, i’m running out of witty play on words style post headings… this makes it easier.)

I’m now about 9 days in to my break-from-paid-work sabbatical, and I must say, it has been successful. We’re getting a bit strapped for cash, and I do miss the lads at SquintOpera (and my lunch dates with the Pronto Productions crew) but having repeated days in the studio has meant I can go over the top with my OCD methodical planning habits, and write SO MANY LISTS that nothing slips through the net. Lists with everything crossed off are like heaven to me.

To anyone who has already designed a range of something, this might be old news, but I’ll explain my process for any budding designers out there who want the inside scoop.

I started the process with an intensive brainstorming session, a ‘mind map’ I think its called?
Whatever it is, it’s a bunch of words and drawings of “stuff I like”… with no limits placed on it, just pure ideas it resulted in things like “fog and trees”, “ink spills and colour bleeding”, “lomo photos”, “symmetry”.
This was added to a page of drawings of details from fashion that I’ve found I like (mostly McQueen), and things like black metal band logos, photos of Kate Moss, and lots of images from Tumblr that I printed out.


DESIGN DESK, DAY #2

Together they combined to make my official inspiration board for this range, or possibly all ranges from now on, who knows. I then combined these ideas into themes – like “car related”, “fabric manipulation” and “colour, paint, ink” etc.

That narrowed it down to 16 or so “themes” that I set out to draw actual shoes for…


DESIGN DESK, DAY #4 MAYBE?

… I referred back to a collection of favourite shapes, silhouettes and details from my previous sketching sessions quite regularly, and pretty soon a ‘look’ was developing.
This is where I hit a quandary, do I try to design all “new” shapes, or develop a signature design language?

I decided to stick to what I felt was right and go for signature shapes rather than a confused collection of greatest hits. I’m thinking this will make it easier for customers to understand my “style” rather than have them assume I make anything and everything… which will also help avoid the “can you make me a so-and-so” situations that I want to skip as quickly as possible. Seems I’ve chosen to be a shoe DESIGNER who happens to make shoes, not a shoe MAKER who does bespoke miscellany. Perhaps I’ll take over the shoe world next year, and get them all made in Italy – and you’ll be all “you know, he said he might do that”.

A few days (and lots of stencilled drawings) later I locked down a set of designs that will be my first offering to the world! I was happy, and showed them off to Dani, who nodded appreciatively.

…then I started colouring them in, and fuck, that killed me. There are SO MANY possibilities with colour alone, let alone colour + hardware + heel shape + heel height etc.
I decided to stop colouring and leave that for now.


DESIGN DESK + LEATHER SELECTIONS FOR IDEAS

Seems I sort of know now what I’ll be making for each one, but the reality of me making 3 or 4 colourways of each design in all  8 or 9 sizes that a ‘full size run’ requires will mean me making, hmm, 100+ pairs of shoes? hahahahah. yeahhh, um. no. So, for now I’ll make one colour of each, and see how I go with that.

Thus begins stage 2 (or whatever number we’re up to) of the design process -Pattern making and Prototyping!

This is a part I can show more images in, as it seems a little risky putting pages of sketches up on the innnernet, who knows who’ll use them and what for.

So, without further ado, here’s the rundown of the two (single) prototypes I’ve made over the last 48 hours.
These are studies for style / shape and proportion, once I’ve balanced out the heels and straps etc, I’ll make some wearable ones for Dani or Pennie to clomp around the studio in for comfort and wearability tests.


THE LAST I HAVE CHOSEN TO USE.
GRABLE? WHAT SORT OF NAME IS THAT? THEY HAVE A 90MM HEEL (4″).


TAPING UP THE LAST FOR PATTERNS


MULTI-TASKING. 3 PATTERNS ON ONE TAPE LAYER.


… THEN YOU SPLIT THE TAPE PATTERN DOWN THE MIDDLE AND PEEEEEL IT OFF.


AND WHACK IT DOWN ON SOME CARDBOARD.


WITH A BIT OF FANCY/TRICKY PINHOLE TRANSFERRING MOVES I HAVE 3 PATTERNS!


SO… NOW WE START MAKING TEST SHOE #1.
AT THE MOMENT I’M USING PRE-MADE INSOLES/MIDSOLES. I WANT TO MAKE MY OWN, BUT THEY TAKE SO LONG AND SO FAR HAVE ENDED UP BEING WEAKER AND WORSE THAN THE PRE-MADE ONES. I’M REALLY ONLY TRYING THESE AFTER GETTING A BAG OF THEM IN THE BULK BUY DEAL.


SKIVED AND TRIMMED EDGE (BAD PHOTO SORRY, PHONE IS A BIT SHIT, BUT ITS NEARBY)


WRAPPED AND LASTED SOLE. SO MUCH FASTER!


… SEEING AS MY DESIGNS ARE PRETTY ‘RUNWAY’ LOOKING, I NEED MASSIVE PLATFORMS…


FOR THIS PROTOTYPE I CARVED ONE OUT OF PINE ON THE DISC AND BELT SANDER.


A SLICED OFF FRONT… THIS PART WILL BE MADE FROM A DIFFERENT PLASTIC IN THE FINAL DESIGN.


BACK BIT, WHATEVER THAT IS CALLED. LOOKS LIKE GOLF CLUB NOW!
SO THATS AN EXTRA 30MM OR SO OF PLATFORM… WOOO.


SAME PROCESS WITH THE HEEL, BUT I FORGOT TO PHOTOGRAPH IT.


TEST ASSEMBLE FOR STRAP LENGTHS AND POSITIONING.


HARDWARE! BUCKLES, AND O-RINGS.


ALL JOINED UP BONDAGE STYLE…


UPPER ALL SEWN UP, I SKIPPED THE SEWING ON THE STRAPS AS I WAS SURE I’D BE ADJUSTING THEM ON THE GO…


LASTED, GLUED, TRIMMED AND HEEL AND PLATFORM ATTACHED.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS ABOUT 2 HOURS WORK, SO IT’S VEEEERRRRY ROUGH.
DONT GO THINKING I’LL BE MAKING SHITTY WORK LIKE THIS, THESE ARE JUST FOR TESTING!


5 INCHES BABY. YEP. SKY HIGH…
(THIS ONE IS A MEDIA RELEASE DESIGN, EXAGGERATED FOR MAXIMUM EFFECT, PRODUCTION ONES WILL BE A LITTLE LOWER)


BOTH BUCKLES WORK, AND ARE NEEDED TO STRAP YOU IN AT THOSE HEIGHTS.


FIRST TRY-ON! DANI MODELLING IT FOR ME.


DESIGN #2 ON THE WAY… I FORGOT TO PHOTOGRAPH THE INITIAL STAGES.


… BOTTOM BITS.


DESIGN #2 LASTED UP, SIMILAR TO MY OLDER YELLOW ONE, WITH SOME TWEAKS.


I AM GOING TO CAST MY OWN RESIN HEELS, SO THIS WAS A TEST OF RAW WHITE POLYESTER. LOOKS HOT.


DESIGNS #1 & #2 AS OF TONIGHT (THURSDAY)… 2 MORE TO MAKE TOMORROW!

Thanks for reading, hope that was a bit of fun for you all.
I have tomorrow to make another pair of prototypes, then we have a wedding on the weekend, so we’ll see how hung over I am on Sunday…

Listening to : James Iha – Let It Come Down
In case you didnt know about it, it’s the Smashing Pumpkins guitarists solo album, and its really, really good.

Lunch?

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Newest studio fitout addition – 4 wonderful old chairs from eBay (bargain) and a new lunch table using wood that I accidentally over-ordered during the jeweller bench build. 2 hours on a Sunday and voila, lunchin’.

Double trouble

I’m not the only one finally making use of the new studio. Pennie has been in here making recycled wonders, and Dani has had a back breaking day of porcelain workin’. Using her special trade secret coloring technique… Not sure if I’m allowed to spill the beans on that insider secret just yet.

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New colours, new shapes (to be formed from these spheres). Woo.

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Listening to: steel panther (at Friday night drinks)

Great minds

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… Think alike? Dani’s new jewellery ideas and my shoe range colour palettes coming together nicely. Big jewels, bangin’ shoes, look out fashion world, we’re almost there!

Insider secrets #1

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…that old saying of ‘work smarter, not harder’ applies to design too. Can’t draw a perfect shoe shape every time? Make a stencil, trace it, sketch over it. Perfectly proportioned sketches EVERY time, on any bit of paper you want to use.
You can even use colored paper and save time spent coloring things in.

I’ll post more secrets as I think of them.

Shopping spree!

…hands up if you just spent more on leather than the car you drove it back in is worth? Serious times now. Cheers credit card! Cheers Nsw leather co!

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Design time…

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Knee deep in research and ideas… And testing out iPhone blog updating.

0% |||||||||||||:: 100%

We’re back and we’re recharged!  … Well, almost ^ I’d say we’re at about 90% recharged at the moment, after a long weekend in Sydney on what is possibly the first “holiday” Dani and I have taken since we drove to Adelaide last December. 10 months of 7 day weeks? No wonder we were getting a bit snappy last month.

The longer story is that I was planning to do a one day up-and-back reconnaissance mission a few weeks ago to check out a few Leather suppliers up there, but a ‘computer error’ left me standing at the boarding gate in Melbourne with no tickets. So Dani and I decided to make the most of a bad situation and changed it up to a long weekend holiday… which was MUCH better.

We also had some luck finding that good friends of ours had to fly to Melbourne at the same time = free accomodation in Darlinghurst! bam.

That proved to be the extent of our good luck, cos it freakin rained the whole weekend…


We did get to head to Bondi beach on the Friday, so it wasnt all bad weather, but any plans to wander in the sun were shelved on Saturday and Sunday, and we  had to do the Art Gallery / Retail wander instead.

So, as a quick review of what we found, what we saw and what we bought :

- We visited Gaffa… and it totally rules. An artist run gallery / studio / meeting space in the CBD. Housed in a beautiful building, full of lovely people and great craft / art. Dani will probably post something more about them later on when she starts stocking her work there.

- We visited Birdsall Leather and NSW Leather and found them both to be run by nice, friendly and enthusiastic people (once we got past the digs about being from Melbourne).
I ordered a bunch of leather to get shipped down here soon. Woo.

- We stumbled upon Kinokuniya – an insane Japanese bookstore in the CBD. We bought 10 books, and had to post them home to ourselves because they blew out our carry on luggage weight allowance. More on the books when they arrive (i’ll take some photos), but for now here’s a pic of the ‘visual reference’ section… hundreds of books of just images, patterns and vintage sketches etc. Perfect for creating a library of inspiration! We bought quite a few.

- I dragged Dani around the wanky luxury fashion boutiques, then realised i’ve seen almost everything on the internet, and we left underwhelmed. I did manage to snap a shitty photo of the new Miu Miu shoes in the window display… out of focus I know, I was dashing in from the rain, but you get the idea.

- Dani found a Marimekko store and was in love with EVERYTHING in the shop. I had to nudge her out before we spent money we dont have. Perhaps we’ll try to stock their stuff at D+B sometime.

- We also found a World NZ store, and spent a fair bit of time in there talking to the staff. Cool people, nice vibes and we ended up buying 2 bottles of room perfume that smell like dirt and leather. Crazy stuff.

- We spent one evening by the harbour having beers and seafood, but it was cold, the seafood was fried and it got dark fast, so you know, not exactly what we hoped for.

- We ate at lots of nice places, drank good coffee and generally got over any “Sydney is too ____ and Melbourne has better ____” preconceptions… turns out it’s nice, and we like it. Dani even mused that she could live there if needs be, so we’ll see how the Melbourne market takes to our luxury goods… if they wont buy then I’m damn sure those leggy Sydney gals will!

Thanks for reading, and look out for lots of stuff this week… I’ve taken some extended time off from my other work to put in a few solid weeks of shoe planning, drawing and prototyping. Very ex-fuckin-citing.

Cheers!

Listening to : Odd Future mixtapes

Surfin’ the interweb

We FINALLY have the internet and a phone line connected at the new workshop! Nothing much new to post, and I solemnly swear not to spend much time dicking around on the computer now that I can… but in the spirit of keeping things ultra-modern here’s a picture of my newly finished shoes, taken in the studio, on a computer and uploaded immediately.

Be careful the ink probably isnt dry so if you rub your screen you’ll smudge the image.