ConceptKicks x Florence Weber – Interview

Currently designing for Fred Perry, Florence Weber is a super talented footwear designer having worked with industry bigs like Puma, LaCoste & Sebago before landing here current position in London. We managed to have a quick chat about what isnpires her to design, how she got started and she also gives some invaluable advice on how to succeed in the industry.

Check out our interview with Florence after the jump!

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[highlight] Can you tell us a little about yourself? [/highlight]

Hi, I’m Florence. Industrial designer turned footwear designer living in central London and currently working at Fred Perry.  Although I draw shoes for a living – I love taking pictures of cars on weekends.

[highlight] How did you first get into design, and footwear design specifically? [/highlight]

I’ve always loved arts and crafts at school and when it came to chosing a future it was pretty clear to me that it would have to involve drawing and making stuff. When i realised that there was a university just around the corner from where i lived in Brussels offering Industrial Design courses i jumped at the opportunity. I spent the last year of my course in Ingolstadt Bavaria doing an Internship and then my final project at Audi Design. I’ve always loved cars but can’t actually draw them. I just love to be around them. It’s during that time that I met my boyfriend and I decided to stay in Germany. After graduating I got a call from Puma who had seen my Coroflot page and wondered if I’d be interested in designing shoes for them. Of course I was! Until I got another call 3 years later asking whether or not I’d be interested in moving to London which I did and where I’m now 8 years down the line. I guess I’m waiting for the next call 🙂

[highlight] What inspires you when you design? [/highlight]

Whether I’m working on Women’s ballerinas or Mens sneakers the process is the same. I draw inspiration from daily blog visits (everything from sneaker to art and fashion blogs but also design blogs), my travels as well as cars which i absolutely love to photograph during my endless walks around London. I always need the right music when sitting at my desk. Somehow my mind is always on the lookout for something i could use in my next collection. It’s pretty hard to switch off.

At Fred Perry I really like the fact that I get to work with the other disciplines and design footwear to complement apparel and accessories.

[highlight] How do you feel about the current state of footwear design? [/highlight]

I really like the fact that there’s always the big players but there’s a lot of little brands out there trying to make a niche for themselves. A lot of really cool labels and stores popping up with unique stories and concepts.

[highlight] What are your favorite shoes ever designed? [/highlight]

You probably get this quite a lot but I’m a huge Nike fan. One of my favorites would be the Mayfly woven. I’m also excited to get my hands onto / feet into VORs latest  basketball boot.

[highlight] What are the positive and negatives of being a woman in a field mainly dominated by men? [/highlight]

I consider myself lucky to be a girl in a male dominent field. It always makes me stand out and most guys have always been absolutely lovely and usually respectful although maybe at the beginning I probably had to work twice as hard for people to take me serious.

[highlight] Do you have any advice to young designers trying to follow in your footsteps? [/highlight]

Footwear design is an amazing business but also really tough. Coming up with strong ideas is one part of the job but actually convincing others to invest into your design and your idea is another very big part of the design job. So be prepared to be a good salesperson and think about how to pitch your idea to project managers and directors. You need to grow a hard skin, persevere and never take NO for an answer. Especially the most innovative designs struggle but it’s worth it! Also don’t underestimate to power of networking off and online. The footwear business is a tight net and it’s crucial to be connected to the right people.

A big thanks to Florence for taking the time to answer some of our questions, to view more of Florence’s work you can head over to her personal website here. Also thanks for Joerg for the intro!