27
Nov
09

DIY: Design It Yourself

Here’s a little something for all the Do It Yourselfers out there: Design Your Own Shoes sites. Thanks to About.com blogger Desiree Stimpert, we’ve all been introduced to Shoes of Prey, an online shops that boasts it “creates beautiful bespoke women’s shoes, designed by you.”

My first design attempt at Shoes Of Prey

Here’s how it works, according to the company: “You choose the heel, toe, fabric, color and embellishments. Our expert craftsmen then make your shoes to measure, swaddle them in a soft dust bag and crisp new box, and ship them straight to your waiting feet.”

Reports Stimpert, “I had a lot of fun playing with the design tool, and was surprised at how many combinations were possible. But the biggest — and most pleasant — surprise is the price: most shoes cost about …$215 U.S. dollars, which is an incredible bargain for bespoke shoes.”

While Keds and Converse have been allowing shoppers to customize their kicks with color, print and style choices, self-directed dress shoes and heels have been the sole property of footwear designers. That’s changing.

One style possibility at Dream Heels

According to Luxist, Canadian company Dream Heels is offering novice designers/shoe lovers a chance to custom-create styles. “The designs are shown on the Dream Heels Web site and can be voted on. Each month a winning design is chosen. The creator receives $250 and a $250 Dream Heels gift certificate,” explains Luxist.

So far, all of the Dream Heels styles are the same — a pump — but the designs vary wildly from a rainbow stripe to a peacock print. Currently, 25 designs are in contention.

Finally, Glamour Magazine’s Slave to Fashion blog recently posted that “Online shoe retailer Zappos.com has teamed up with Steve Madden for Sole Search, a design competition that gives aspiring Louboutins a chance to share their towering vision with the world.” Aspiring designers can create a design from scratch or by using a downloadable Steve Madden template.

The Lauper, a popular design in Steve Madden's Sole Search competition

So far over 1800 entries have been submitted and there’s still another month of the competition. Check out the competition, review designs (the Lauper got raves like “These boots r amazing & so cool. I love them! I would love to have a pair!” — in fact, most reviews seem to be supportive) and submit your own ideas.

The grand prize: Steve Madden himself will select one of the three first prize winners’ designs (determined by votes on the Zappos site) to be produced and sold online at Zappos.com/Steve-Madden. There’s also a $500 Zappos.com gift card and a $500 Steve Madden gift card. Nice.

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