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CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


The Project and the Concept

3, 4

Developing a Brand


The Brand, Brand Values and Brand Elements

8 - 12

The Macro Environment and PESTEL Analysis

13, 14

The Micro Environment and SWOT Analysis

15, 16


17 - 23

The Consumer and Consumer Questionnaire Results

24 - 36

The Market, Stockists and Market Competitors


Range Planning

38 - 42

Production Chain and Costing

43 - 47

Trend Analysis for S/S12

48 - 56

Design Inspiration

57 - 58



Colour Palette

60 - 63

Initial Designs





66 - 74


THE PROJECT This project aims to look at all aspects of how a new brand is created and all the research that should be undertaken to inform the brand development. It is impossible through research to be fully aware of everything that possibly could go wrong, in order to learn, mistakes must be made as you go. However, the chances of making mistakes are reduced, by doing as much research as possible into the following areas: - Using case studies to analyse how and why a brand becomes successful - Finding own values to back up own ideas as a brand - Investigating the macro and micro environments - Looking at different consumer groups and how attitudes may be changing - Seeing what is already in the market place and comparing the companies - Planning a range of luxury footwear - Analysing the production chain and costing - Being aware of what current trends and predicted trends are - Finding inspiration and ideas to inform designs - Evaluating what the findings are and how the project will develop after this point

CONCEPT My brand, ‘Virginia Lee’, initially aims to compete in the luxury footwear sector in Britain, later developing into the international market. This project sees the research undertaken to inform a range of footwear intended for the Spring Summer 2012 season. Using inspiration from seafaring traditions, early deep sea diving equipment and all things related to maritime, this project will investigate how these can be translated to design.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

DEVELOPING A BRAND In successfully creating a brand that consumers want to buy into and engage with, it is very important for the identity of the brand to be very clear from the beginning. In looking at successful brands in today’s market, it is clear with the majority of them that there is a strong concept and idea behind the brand that is appealing to consumers. Nowadays, with our celebrity obsessed culture, more designers behind the brands are putting themselves forwards in the public eye, which I think helps consumers identify with the brand they are buying and investing into.

For example, Henry Holland not only sells products, but sells the lifestyle that should go hand in hand with the products he designs. If you type his name into Google, you might expect his designs to be the first things that come up in the image gallery, however hundreds of pictures of him at celebrity parties appear instead which immediately tells you that the Henry Holland brand is all about him. It is unlikely that you would buy his clothes if you did not like his public persona. However, that is one of the reasons that he is successful, because there are people who aspire to the life that he leads and buy his clothes in the hope that they can have a taste of his lifestyle. Source: Mybeautifulfashion

In contrast, another successful clothing brand that is the antithesis of Holland is Martin Margiela - A faceless and anonymous brand. Margiela is the brand for people who don’t like brands, which is an interesting strategy. However, in creating a brand with anonymity - it has proved successful, as there are loyal customers who like the mystery surrounding the brand.

Source: Fashionistplatform

If a brand is true to it’s own identity and values, it can be successful, as long as there are consumers who also believe in the story that is being offered.

“An anomaly in an industry that places enormous value on the image and accessibility of its personalities, Mr. Margiela has maintained an astonishing elusiveness.” (Wilson, 2008, NY Times)

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


One of my favourite brands is Margaret Howell - a brand created in 1975. Margaret Howell does not have a long, rich history, the reason it has been so successful is that the designer has always had a clear vision of the brand which has translated into a strong brand identity. Margaret Howell has always stayed true to the design ethos of the brand, with the garments and products all being high quality, and everything associated with the brand. Howell says of her inspiration:

“ I enjoy pulling threads of British tradition, quality, and skill together in clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world, where good design is about living with thoughtful style.”


Throughout her career, the look of the brand and products have remained similar in nature, and quite classic. As well as clothing, the brand also does footwear, accessories and also a range of new and vintage furniture, lighting and tableware. In creating other ranges to fit with the lifestyle of Margaret Howell, she invites consumers to invest in the whole feeling of the brand and not just the clothes. It is interesting to look at brands who do not have a long established heritage or rich history and see what methods they employ in order to be successful. At the recent International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference, held in London (Nov 2010), Paul Smith gave a lecture and on the topic of brands without a strong heritage, (For example, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and Dolce & Gabbana) and said: “...While they don’t have that heritage to base their future on, finding success came from staying true to themselves.” I think the same would be true for Paul Smith who has always remained true to his own brand identity. Brands with longevity, appear to be the brands that have a signature style, a story that people can relate to or project a lifestyle that is aspirational. Moving forward from this, it will be important at every stage of the project to keep in mind the main vision for the brand. Using some key words to refer back to at each stage will be beneficial to make sure that the vision for the brand is cohesive throughout.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

THE BRAND As stated on the previous page, it is important in developing a brand to be true to yourself and your values. In undertaking this task, I wanted my brand to reflect my values, and be something that I personally believe in. This map shows the main ideas that interest me, the values I most believe in which I will continue to refer to these during the development of the brand and project. For a brand it is important to be consistent with the values, as for some customers, if they feel a brand is not being true to their own identity they may lose faith in the brand. Also, if a brand is often changing to suit new consumers and not retaining the already established consumers, they may change their loyalties.

Unusual objects

Scandinavian Design

Design Sensibilities + Values Attention

Moral conscience


to details

High Quality + Well made products

Traditional materials

1950’s, 60’s + 70’s Style

Wit in design

Antique Books

Vintage furniture

Handcrafting techniques

Loyalty Awareness of ethical issues

Looking at these values and design sensibilities, I believe they are close to Margaret Howell’s design ethos. Moving forward from this, it will be necessary to edit these values down further in order to create brand values that can be continually referenced throughout the concept development.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4










I feel my brand values are relevant to today’s market. The market is so saturated at the moment that I think consumers are now getting sick of disposable fashion and are looking for something they really believe in and ultimately invest in. I also think there is a growing interest in brands that not only supply a product but give something back. Having a moral conscience as a brand will generate interest from a more informed shopper. At the moment, in the luxury footwear global marketplace there are no brands that seem to have an ethical mind or interest in sustainability and I feel that there is a gap in the market for a brand that does. The idea of sustainability is not one that is going away, and is only going to get more important as our world uses up more of the earth’s resources. However it is very difficult to live life totally ethically and organically, so my brand does not pretend to be totally ethical, however it will do it’s best to source as much ethically as it can. I do not want my brand to reflect negativity or preach to consumers about these issues, so whilst it will be important to my brand, it will be second to the design. There are general negative feelings towards ethical design as people don’t believe fashion forward products can be both ethical and fashionable so it will be interesting in the development of this project to see in what ways these issues can be addressed. The brand name ‘Virginia Lee’ comes from my first full name - Virginia and my father’s surname - Lee. I feel it sounds more professional than ‘Ginny Williams’ yet is clearly still very personal to me.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Whilst thinking about my brand last Summer, I came across a beautiful antique book called ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils’, which is a classic Swedish folk tale written by Selma Largerlöf and first published in 1907. I was really inspired by the tale of the little boy who travels across Sweden on a goose; the way the book was bound, the font it was written in and the beautiful illustrations inside. In developing the brand, I looked at the illustrator of the book, Mary Hamilton Frye.

I really liked the colours of the illustrations and the simplicity of the line drawings. I have always liked birds and loved the first page of the book with the cloud of birds surrounding Nils.

Final chosen logo

Source: The Wonderful Adventures of Nils

When I began playing with logo ideas, I utilised the birds from this first page and tried placing them in different positions. I finally decided on the logo on the top right, opting for Baskerville as my font, which I think embodies my aesthetics, having a vintage feel, and being quite traditional and classic. I also had to check that taking something from someone else’s drawing wasn’t impinging on anyone’s copyright, however because the artist (Mary Hamilton Frye) has been deceased for over 70 years it is alright to use. I think the logo works well as it has come from something very personal to me, and the birds can be utilised in different ways, (for example, above the page numbers). I think it is recognisable and would look good on the sole of a shoe, on packaging and on a website.

Virginia Lee





Virginia Lee


Virginia Lee Virginia Lee VIRGINIA LEE



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


MACRO ENVIRONMENT For a new luxury brand setting up it is imperative that research is done looking at the macro environment, the bigger picture and analysing what factors may have an impact on the brand, whether it be in the near future, or in the long term. In analysing the macro environment, the factors that can be studied are:

POLITICAL It has recently been announced that the British government are going to increase university fees over the next few years, with tuition fees increasing from around the current total of £3,670 a year, to £9,000 or in some cases even as high as £12,000 per year. Whilst this may not have a direct impact on a business starting up in the next couple of years, it could have a long term effect. Parents who may fall into consumer categories at the moment may change their spending habits in the future to support their children going through the university education system. This could have an impact on businesses who rely on the revenue generated by this core consumer base. If this is what the future is looking like and salaries do not increase with the rise in taxation, and other increasing costs, consumer spending habits may change considerably and this may be damaging for the fashion industry. With the British Government raising VAT to 20% in 2011, this will have an impact on new start-up businesses. Although in the EU, companies do not have to pay VAT for importing goods within the EU, if the business is interested in creating relationships with international markets and stockists, they will have to take into account the increased VAT. This may put some international buyers off ordering large quantities in the business’s first season for example as they will have to pay VAT. According to Mintel, the VAT increase will also affect consumers who are on fixed incomes, students and pensioners as they will not be able to compensate for rising inflation.

ECONOMIC In the last couple of years in Britain, the recession has hit hardest. Whilst we as a nation are coming out of it, according to Mintel research, people are still in a ‘recessionary state of mind’, thinking more carefully about their spending habits. This could have a negative impact on the luxury market where people are more inclined to buy cheaper products as they feel they can’t afford to invest in more expensive items. It is difficult to tell how the recession has affected everyone, but this chart shows what percentage of adults have been affected and how much.


Source: Mintel - Focusing on the essentials Aug 2010

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Whilst the worst affected have been the population earning minimum wage, the recession has made no difference to the majority of the population. Some people have benefitted from the recession, tending to be those in the top earning categories. Looking at this data it tends to suggest that whilst people have been affected, the people who are most likely to invest in the luxury market have not been affected. However, in the time of a recession, even those who have not been directly affected may still not invest in luxury items as often as they may have done previously as it may seem a little distasteful to be consuming conspicuously, whilst others are suffering. Also a current concern within the economy is the weak pound. The pound being at its weakest against the dollar and the euro have had negative financial effects for British companies who manufacture abroad with the cost of production being more expensive than it used to be. However it could also be a good thing for British companies, as American and European buyers could be more likely to buy from Britain, because they will be getting more for their money, and increased profit margins. On a smaller scale, when discussing with a sales associate in Liberty’s shoe department, it was apparent that American buyers have been coming over and ordering in large quantities whilst the pound is weak.

SOCIAL With regards to social and cultural factors that may affect businesses, there are several things that should be taken into consideration. With increasingly good quality health care in this country and around the world, people are living longer. with an average life expectancy of 79.9 (from a survey 2008). Below is a chart showing the ages of the population in 2009. It is clear to see from this chart that there is a peak in the population that are in their mid 40’s. Understanding that an increasingly ageing population’s needs might be different to what they once were is important. New brands should take into account that they may find that the core consumers are older than they think, and that accommodating for an older consumer could be beneficial to the company. Source: Government Statistics

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


TECHNOLOGICAL With modern technology improving all the time, it is crucial for a new business to be aware of different ways of marketing and selling using the internet and other applications.

“During 2009, luxury internet shopping grew by 20%. According to some of the biggest web retailers, luxury sales will one day be bigger online than in real stores - and in some cases already are.” (Wasem, 2010, Harper’s Bazaar) New innovative ways of marketing and selling are starting to emerge, such as ‘Apps’ on the iPhone, and now on the iPad changing the way consumers shop. For example, Mulberry has recently launched an ‘app’ where consumers can browse the catwalk show, shop, read the Mulberry blog etc; making it easier and more accessible for people on the move. Other brands are following suit or coming up with their own ways of doing things, like Burberry who have decided to start streaming their catwalk shows live, which several other brands are starting to pick up on too. Burberry are also introducing new technology so that you are able to pre-order catwalk looks using your iPhone or iPad, whilst they are going down the catwalk. Source: Happy High Fashion



Some older, luxury, heritage brands have been a bit slow on picking up on using the internet as a marketing tool. They see it as not part of the ‘luxury experience’, they feel one of the main reasons why people buy luxury is for the experience that goes hand in hand with the purchase of the product. However, Natalie Massenet of Net-A-Porter, has disparaged these ideas, in providing a luxury online service. From the videos showing live models wearing each item and access to ‘Style Advisors’, to the magazine style layout of trends where you can click on a item to purchase and the luxurious packaging your purchase arrives in; it is very much an interactive, personal experience, (plus you can try on the clothes in the comfort of your own home).

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

E N V I R O N M E N T A L Living in western civilisation where we rely so heavily on utilising natural resources to keep our demand for fashion and consumption satisfied, companies rarely look closely at what effect the product they are making has on the environment. It has been reported that around 20% of the world (namely the West, USA, Europe etc.) are utilising 80% of the earth’s resources in quantities that are simply not sustainable for the future. One reason for this is greed, mass consumption and disposable fashion. To be successful as a modern brand, knowing about how to waste as little as possible throughout production is essential, and in what ways other parts of your business can become less damaging to the environment. In the future, it will become a more pressing issue and companies that have already started using more sustainable business models, will be a step ahead of other companies that will have to invest in changing their materials and methods of production. Some high street companies have started putting small capsule ranges in their stores from companies like People Tree (in Topshop) who are an ethical company who use organic cotton etc. Raising awareness with consumers will also be necessary in order for a more sustainable business model to work. One high end fashion company called Noir, has already started trying to change luxury fashion. The man behind the label is a Danish designer - Peter Ingwersen who believes that a luxury brand should not have to compromise on either quality or ethics. He set up the company and works with farmers in Africa, where there are codes of conduct in place to make sure that the farmers are paid fairly for the cotton they produce and that no harmful chemicals or pesticides are used in the process. In these pictures (from Noir A/W10), you would not think that this is necessarily an ethical range, in what is usually perceived to be the ethical norm. These clothes exhibit modernity, forward thinking and they speak for themselves. Clearly to the brand Noir, and the founder Ingwersen, issues affecting the environment and fairtrade are very important, but aesthetics are obviously equally important.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


L E G A L With the trickle down theory occurring more and more in today’s society, start up businesses need to be aware of their legal rights with regard to intellectual property. Trickle down theory is when a trend starts in the luxury market, seen on the catwalks around the world, a lower down the chain market will then pick up on the trend for example a high street brand like Topshop or Zara, then the trend will continue to trickle down and be picked up in cheaper stores like Primark or New Look. It can be difficult as a new brand to know how to act if they feel a high street store has copied them. Taking on a huge company like Topshop as a small brand could be detrimental, as you can guarantee that they will have huge legal departments that deal with copying every day. As it stands, there are supposed to be seven differences between products for them not to be counted as having been copied, however the differences could be as small as size of stitch length, material colour, metal of buckle etc.

A classic example, was when Terry De Havilland a shoe designer best know for his 1970’s style platform shoes, accused Miu Miu in 2003 of having copied some of his designs exactly. The shoes were incredibly simillar, however he did not have the money to take legal action against Miu Miu, and they got away with copying his design.


Other legal factors that companies should be aware of are working conditions in the factories they use. Although it is difficult to monitor the exact conditions if only visiting infrequently, there are certain bodies and organisations that do factory checks to make sure everything is upto standard. For example, an initiative called the ‘Clean Clothes Campaign’, which is an organisation and movement who make it their concern to set up alliances between organisations throughout the world to come to agreements, and factory checks to ensure working conditions are satisfactory.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

MICRO ENVIRONMENT As well as looking at the bigger picture within the macro environment, analysing the micro environment by looking at factors which may directly affect a new brand starting up are key to understanding and predicting what can go wrong.

STRENGTHS - Strong brand identity and values, which hopefully create interest in brand. - Looking at a gap in the market for luxury, high quality and sustainable footwear. - Brand accommodates for several different types of consumer from consumers ages 25 - 65. - Range offers versatility and wearability. - Product quality will focus on offering longevity. - Will offer range of prices, allowing those at lower income levels to invest in the brand, would hope to have a diffusion line in the future that is more accessible. - At the moment, as the recession is subsiding people are reassessing their values and spending habits, a brand offering longevity and sustainability could be just the thing that people are wanting to invest in. - Whilst the pound is weak at the moment this could be bad for making a new British company money, but could be good for gaining international stockists, and creating new international relationships. - Again looking at the recession situation, people are tending to cut back on things like holidays, in pursuit of more instant and easily attained pleasure like clothing and footwear.

WEAKNESSES - Costs are higher to manufacture at the moment, as the pound is weak. - The VAT increase in 2011 will have an effect on product prices. - Sourcing ethical, organic and sustainable materials could be very difficult, and prices tend to be higher. - Market is quite saturated with a lot of new emerging footwear designers entering the market. - Consumers may still be averse to spending large amounts of money on goods.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


OPPORTUNITIES - Increasing consumer interest in technology and different online tools would be useful in promoting, marketing and selling products cheaply and efficiently - utlising websites like Twitter and Facebook. - As product is hoped to be quite ethical, this could be an opportunity to get into boutiques and stores that specialise in selling ethical ranges. - Using sourced materials and leathers from organic suppliers and manufacturers will provide more business for the suppliers and also recognition for what they are doing. Working with suppliers like these may also create more interest with consumers and press.

THREATS - If product is not 100% ethical this may put some consumers off. - Company may not make any profit for several years, as start up costs are so high. - Exchange rates could fluctuate more and the pound could get weaker. - A lot of competition in the current luxury footwear market. - Not having great knowledge about international relations with stores and clients could be negative for the business. - Not having many contacts because starting up straight away with little industry experience could also be damaging. - Economy may not pick up and spending may continue to stay low. - May be difficult to check sustainability of every component and trace the initial source of materials.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

ETHICS It is hugely important as a new emerging brand to be aware of all ethical issues surrounding creating a company. This is especially true in the current economic climate where in the past couple of years the credit crunch has had such a major impact in our lives and possibly spending habits. Factors that are important to look at: 1. The consumer, their attitudes and spending habits. 2. Other brands who are ethically conscious and in what ways they are changing how people shop. At the moment there are several innovative brands challenging the way we shop and coming up with ways of selling products without creating waste, using recycled materials, and letting the consumer be interactive with the design of the product. One of these examples is the clothing brand SANS, created in 2006 - a conceptual design brand, who don’t sell clothes but sell the patterns of the garments that they design so that the consumer can create the clothes themselves.


This stems from the idea that there is so much waste now with what we call ‘disposable fashion’ or ‘throwaway fashion’, which are both terms that seem quite unfavourable. Consumers are encouraged to use old materials, or whatever materials they like, to create their clothes. The patterns are sold from $6 to $20. Whether this is a business model that will ultimately profit from this idea is as yet unknown. In a video interview with the co founder and designer, Lika Volkova, she talks about the fact that these days 1/3 of all ‘disposable fashion’, created by places like Primark, H and M etc is sold, 1/3 of the products are put on sale, and 1/3 of it goes into landfill. And although this may be a very profitable way to run a business, is it really sustainable in the long run? As a business model I feel SANS could do with some development to make it more commercially viable, as it is has quite a niche market at the moment, but I think there are elements of the idea that could be interesting in the future. CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Another company harnessing the power of ‘consumer as creator’ is the shoe company ‘Shoes of Prey’. Based in Australia, it is a website that has been going for a year that allows the customer to create their own shoes, using templates and a select colour and material palette. Again, as the idea is quite a new one, I’m not sure it has been as fully developed as it could have been, with poor quality drawings that don’t exactly do the real shoes justice. Reading the web site, it is clear that excellent customer service is greatly prioritised by the company. Within the shoe return policy, it is possible for the consumer to send back the style if they do not fit correctly and have them made in a different size for no extra charge. Also, if something goes wrong with the shoes, Shoes of Prey will pay to have them fixed by a shoe mender where you are. I believe having good policies like these are key for good customer relations, and very helpful in getting repeat custom. I also think that Shoes of Prey has realised this, and decided to work very hard to keep their customers happy. Interactivity with customers is also important, especially for a company who rely on their consumers taking a risk with them; so the founders have been keen to be open and honest with Youtube Introduction:

Pic. 3 Source:


Design page on web site:

Pic. 2 Source:

their consumers by introducing themselves as people, how the brand came about and also having introductory videos to aid the consumer, (see pic. 2) Another similar website, that has just been launched in the UK is called Upper Street, and it is basically the same as Shoes of Prey, but a little more advanced. The drawings of the shoes are more technical and have more of a real - 3D feeling. Also the website seems a little more upto date and the return policy is very similar. They don’t mention on either of the websites where the shoes are actually made, although they do say that they have dedicated craftsman with years of experience.

In a short email interview with Michael Fox (one of the founders of Shoes of Prey - see appendix), I learnt that the shoes are actually produced in China. It is interesting to see that the websites don’t tell you this information, and I wonder if its because it might have a negative impact on sales. In asking about whether or not Shoes of Prey considers ethics and sustainability in developing their business, he replied that they were very interested in looking at doing a range of vegan shoes.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

TODAY‘S CONSUMER With consumer attitudes changing all the time with different factors affecting them (as outlined is PESTEL analysis), it is useful for brands to keep upto date with their consumers by asking questions constantly. In a Mintel report from August, its appears that consumer attitudes are changing and fortunately for my brand, some consumers are actively looking to invest in quality and longevity in products.

Hopefully this will be a growing trend within consumer attitudes and more people will want to invest in the same ideals.

“ At the top end of the market, high prices buy classic fashion and quality manufacturing, with products that can last many years. Consumers have learnt that heritage, craftsmanship, quality, design and style are worth paying for when it provides fashion that can withstand the test of time: clothing becomes an investment and not a form of consumption. This sector is fashion influenced, but fashions change on a more gradual time scale.” (Source: Mintel Aug 2010)

Also growing attitudes with regards to ethical fashion are changing. In Chris Arnold’s book, ‘Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer’, he says this:

“The challenge for all areas of the fashion industry is that design and aesthetics comes first and ethics second. ” (Arnold, 2009, p220) I think it is true to say and hopefully though questionnaires, I can establish how true it is. I still think there is a negative attitude towards ethical fashion, and in talking to people it will be interesting to hear their thoughts on it.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Questionnaire Results I was most interested in finding out consumers ethical views and what is most important to them when they shop for footwear. It was also my intent to find out about how people shop, whether it be on the internet or in real life, and if there were reasons behind these. The questionnaire was posted online using and using industry contacts and friends was sent out. Questionnaires in the street were also carried out in Sloane Square and at the Lanvin for H an M launch on Regent’s Street on the 23rd Nov 2010. In total 22 people answered.

Ages of Consumers

51+ 41-50 31-40 21-30

This pie chart shows the ages of consumers asked, most of which were between 21-30 - the core age for aspirational consumer B and C.


Average spend on a pair of shoes 10

This graph shows the average spend on footwear on a single trip. The results show that the most common average is between £100 -£250, which is more than I was expecting considering the core age of consumer were between 21-30 and a fair No. of amount of students were asked. As the people questionnaire was asked in Winter it may be notable that in Summer the average spend may lower as boots are more expensive.






Below 50

50 - 100

100 - 250



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

250 - 400

400 +

Do you ever buy footwear from the internet?

I was surprised to see that more people did not buy footwear from the internet as there are so many websites dedicated to selling shoes.



A lot of the feedback was that some people browse online but would prefer to try on the shoes instore.


As the questionnaire was done by people mainly living in London, the results may have been different had I asked people from other parts of the country; where access to a wide range of stores may be limited so the internet may be used more often.

No. of People







What websites do you use to buy footwear from?

From the people that did buy footwear from the internet it was useful to me to see which websites were most utilised. I had never heard of ‘The Outnet’ which sells designer products at discounted prices before, so that was good to see.

Notable Quotes from Consumer Questionnaire

“It’s still difficult to find ‘designed’ and considered product that is ethical but doesn’t look too Eco or natural.”


“I try to buy all my clothing from labels with

transparent supply chains, who are socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. However I find it hardest to do this with footwear because comfort + fit is a big issue for me. As a result I mostly try to buy good quality, comfortable shoes that will last a long time and can be re-soled. I try my best to avoid frivolous shoe buying and avoid poor quality shoes from the high st. ” (Anonymous)

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


What is most important to you when you shop for footwear?

I was slightly disappointed that ethics came at the bottom of the results to the ‘Most important when shopping’ question, however it must’ve been expected.

Investment Piece 8 6


Quality and comfort came out top which I was not surprised by and value for money was lower than expected too.


4 2


I think it is difficult for people to say what is most important, because the one thing that is of MOST importance is whether or not they LIKE the product or not, which sways people more than anything else.

Value for Money

On Trend

Designer Label

“According to one survey carried out by a leading shoe brand across Europe, women claim that they

consider the ethical implications when buying a product, much more so than men. In reality, its the other way round. Men’s ethical purchasing is closer to their claims while women are more easily distracted by the, ‘Wow I really must have those shoes’ factor. ” (Arnold, 2009, p220)

Although when asked, the majority of people said they would be prepared to spend more if they knew the product they were buying was ethical, it is difficult to gauge how true that Maybe statement actually is without testing them in reality.

If there were two of the same product, one was ethically made and the other was not - would you be willing to spend more on the ethically made product?








No. of people




In asking a further question, ‘If you knew more about ethical fashion and it was more accessible to you do you think you would be more inclined to buy it?’, most people said yes. So in conclusion, I think that ethical fashion is still seen as not being very cool, and knowledge is very limited. I think in order for it to be desired, it must first become cool.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Aspirational Consumer A Age: 39 Occupation: GP Style:

Classic, smart, pared down.


Quite ethically minded, buys organic produce and actively seeks out ethical fashion brands. Likes to be aware of where products are coming from and for that reason likes to support local businesses, brands she feels are helping society, and start-up brands.

Spending Habits: Willing to spend quite a lot of money in order to preserve ethics. Not interested in spending very large amounts on a whim, but rather buys investment pieces, after shopping around, making sure they are high quality, versatile and wont go out of fashion quickly. Not very trend led. Loyalty: Loyal to brands that don’t contradict themselves ethically speaking. If a brand does something to upset this consumer, she is likely to boycott them. Important to this consumer for brand to practice what they preach.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Aspirational Consumer B Age: 25 Occupation: PR Consultant Style:

Bold, chic, thoughtfully put together.

Values: Doesn’t really have any views on ethical fashion, unless it’s ‘cool’ to like it at the time. Isn’t too interested in finding new designers herself, waits to be told what is cool. Doesn’t care if the product was made by children or how far it has travelled, believes that by buying luxury products, you avoid those issues. Very trend-led. Spending Habits: Money is not an issue. If she likes it, she will have it. If the product happens to be ethical - it’s a bonus. Shops quite often, always one eye on what’s new on Net-a-porter Doesn’t like to shop around. Not very patient. Loyalty: Only brand loyal whilst the brand is cool. Quite a fickle shopper, often changing loyalties. Style changes with the trends.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Aspirational Consumer C Age: 31 Occupation: Lawyer Style: Sophisticated, up to date, modern. Values: Not so driven by ethical, but whether the product is excellent quality and an investment piece. Interested in the ethical issues surrounding garments and is slowly becoming more aware, and shopping habits may change as she learns more about it. Fairly trend led - part of her job to be aware Spending Habits: Shops fairly often, maybe once a week, job requires a lot of travelling so gets opportunities to visit lots of different cities. Money is a consideration and may spend larger amounts on classic investment pieces for example accessories. Loyalty: Brand loyal to brands she buys investment pieces from, and will probably stay loyal for numerous years. Quite likes finding new brands from travelling, but may not stay loyal.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



Market Competitors Chart


8 4 10




6 9


12 5



2 3


4 5 6





8 9 10



In this market positioning chart, the Virginia Lee brand has been placed near to Charlotte Olympia and Rupert Sanderson as two of the closest competitors within the context of design. They are both brands that have a recognisable, signature style which is key for a successful brand. Other brands that I admire and am interested in investigating in further detail are: Nicholas Kirkwood, Georgina Goodman and Beatrix Ong. They are all brands that have been particularly successful and for different reasons. It is important to look at the closest competitors of your brand, but also the industry leaders to evaluate why it is that they have become so successful. Now is a time when several new footwear designers are emerging, and to stand out and have a true unique selling point, it is vital to analyse other brands and follow in their footsteps.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

STOCKISTS Looking at the market competitior reports below, we can see that as all the brands are British. A lot of them started out with stocking in the UK. Some of the shops I would hope to stock in are more of the conceptual stores which tend to feature new brands: BROWNS FOCUS - South Molton Street London DOVER STREET MARKET - Dover Street London THE CONVENIEVE STORE - Notting Hill London HERVIA BAZAAR - Manchester Some stores in Europe : COLETTE - Paris L’ECLAIREUR - Paris Internationally: BOUTIQUE 1 - Dubai

These are just initial store ideas, and hopefully from creating contacts through doing trade shows like Bread and Butter, Micam, Premiere Classe and showing at London Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and NY Fashion Week.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4





U S P: Shoes designed for the modern woman who looks for elegance, quite classic shapes enhanced by the use of details, for example lace, and piping details. Bit of a pared down style and quite neutral colour palette which go well with office work wear. Quite wearable pieces, core pieces include soft leather loafers and jazz shoes which sell well alongside the higher shoes. £430

C O N S U M E R: - Core consumer aged around 35 and older - Professional women who are looking for something that’s not too fashion forward, but is quite elegant without being too showy - Ratio of people who know the brand to people who come in the main shop and don’t know the brand around 60:40


Celebrity follower who personifies the brand:

- Aged 32 - Model - Columnist £458

- Vice Chair of British Fashion Council - Very elegant and sophisticated style - Needs to dress professionally but appear well informed about current designers

Best seller


- Supports British design - Prefers the simpler, classic styles as opposed to the higher bolder ones



- 6ft tall so high heels possibly make her too tall

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




DISPLAY: - Plain white wooden shelving, wooden flooring, display of product intertwined with belljars, books hanging in the window, curious objects etc. - Stock almost randomly placed, on different tables and some stock on the floor hidden away a little bit.

Location: 8 Newburgh Street, London Just parallel to Carnaby Street where there are a lot of tourists, the store gets quite a lot of tourists, but as it is tucked away slightly the majority of customers see it as a destination store. Also have concessions in Jaeger shops in London and Aquascutum (as also owned by Harold Tillman), Liberty, Dover Street Market and Harrods.

Store Layout:

- Quite classic layout, plain white background - Opens with video showing new shoe styles modelled by a ballerina poledancing - Each season has short video introducing new styles - Large sections on bio, philosophy, timeline of achievements and list of charities she supports - Also section on collaborations with other artists - News section for upcoming events etc. - Well maintained and easy to use - Can order shoes online - 3 views of each shoe

Other Online Stockists: - - - -




Sales desk

Coffee table


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



U S P:


Classic British design, using luxurious materials, focusing on shape and quality rather than experimental design. Attention is paid to the ‘balance and symmetry of the shoe to flatter and lengthen the leg’. Products are created in brand’s own factory in Italy so quality is meticulously checked, therefore raising the standard.


C O N S U M E R:


- Core consumer aged around 38 - Someone who appreciates high quality products but is not interested in standing out. - Very brand loyal consumer who will most likely repeat buy, season after season. - Isn’t influenced by whether product is heavily branded, or recognisable - is interested in the quality of the product and appreciates that over recognition. - Confident that each season will have staple styles Celebrity follower who personifies the brand:

- Aged 39 £610

- Professional business woman - PM’s wife - Needs to dress smartly and sophisticatedly - Classic style of brand mirrors her classic style

Best seller


- Prefers the simple styles to the bolder ones to enhance her uncomplicated look - The Rupert Sanderson brand fits well with her lifestyle



- Loyal customer

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




- Product displayed simply on wooden shelving, and wooden blocks of different heights. - Very clean, no fuss display. - Velvet seating in neutral colours. - Dark charcoal carpets and luxurious red chairs. - Display and layout, reflect the brand’s ethos; classic, simple and high quality. - Easy to navigate store, not cluttered with product.

Location: 19 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6LZ Near Old Bond Street where lots of other luxury shops are, but hidden away a little bit so shop doesn’t get that many casual shoppers, more of a destination store - shoppers specifically going there to buy. Other stand alone stores: Knightsbridge - London, Palais Royal - Paris, On Lan Street - Hong Kong.

Store Layout:

- Simple, clean website, white background, black writing reflecting style of brand - Nice section about the brand and where the shoes are produced, making consumer feel involved with process - Press section regularly updated - Featured shoes of the week - Shoes categorised by heel height making navigation easy - Just one 3/4 view of shoes but zoom facility - Men’s range of ‘Saddle O’ shoes also offered - Can order whole collection from own website Other Online Stockists:




Sales desk


- - - - - - -

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4





U S P: Modern, stylised, sophisticated but fun, technically advanced. Very thoughtful design and fashion forward, making use of interesting materials and innovative construction techniques. Alongside show stopping pieces, are wearable sneakers and lower heeled ankle boots. Brand statement: ‘Made in Love’. Brand sells a story as well as a product. Best seller


C O N S U M E R: - Core consumer aged around 28 and older - Fashion-forward thinking woman, really apprecaites excellent design - Interested in making a statement - Not necessarily trend led but is aware of current trends - Buys into the ‘Story’ and ethos of brand

£1, 350 Celebrity follower who personifies the brand:

- Aged 38 £475 - Actress - Fashion forward and grown up style -Not scared to make a bold statement £575

- Values thoughtful and considered design - Likes the bolder pieces in collections - May not be so brand loyal, as unsure of direction of each season



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




DISPLAY: - Product displayed in the window, with 3 sphericlal orbs rotating with product in. - Quite dark inside as walls and shelving are painted black, but all products on shelving are lit by spotlights which makes each shoe feel special. - Lots of product displayed, and special attention to the special handmade, one off shoes.

Location: 44 Old Bond Street, London, W1S 4GB Located down the bottom end of Old Bond Street, opposite Dolce and Gabbana and Alexander McQueen Excellent location for tourists/passers by and easy for regulars in Old Bond Street. Also good as she designs the shoes for McQueen so if people go there they may also go to her shop.

Store Layout:

- Clean layout, white background - Lots of different sections, a little hard to navigate - Lot of focus on philosophy of brand, ethos and values - Poetry and inspiring words to engage shopper in brand ethos - Website has quite of attention on designer and her life - Interesting to see the designer behind the products, which is quite rare - Collection available to buy online - 3 views, and zoom facility - Search facility too; heel height, size, colour, material and type - Quote from Georgina about each style saying what inspired each design

Other Online Stockists: - -




Sales desk


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




U S P: Theatrical sense of style, ultra modern design, very innovative use of shape and construction, unusual use of materials. Known for being original every season. Not style for the faint hearted. Currently at the forefront of footwear design.

C O N S U M E R: £710

- Core age of consumer 18 - 50 - Someone who wants to be the centre of attention - Not afraid of focus being on them - At the forefront of fashion - someone who follows fashion closely - Wants what is deemed to be ‘coolest’ and most desired product at the time - Style is quite quirky, daring - Bold character

£675 Celebrity follower who personifies the brand:

- Aged 45 £645

- Actress - Known as a ‘Style Icon’ and being amongst the first to pick up on trends - Definitely not afraid of being centre of attention

£695 Best seller

- Interested in searching for new talents - Very bold and quirky style - Loyal customer, whilst it’s ‘cool’.



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



DISPLAY: - Large collection of his shoes alone on graphic black painted shelving - Nice selection of shoes on display - and begin apart from the other footwear brands makes it a bit more special - Shoes displayed in pairs

Space in Dover Street Market Location: Dover Street, London, W1S 4LT Conceptual, destination store for the ‘uber’ cool. Hidden from the main street, but those ‘in the know’- know. Kirkwood’s shoes located on the third floor, in their own section away from the other shoe brands. No stand alone stores.

Product Layout:

- Very very simple website - Bold in design, black back ground - different to competitors - First page, simply images of new collection - Not a brilliant tool for conusmers - Simplicity of website does not reflect showstopping design of shoes - No pictures of press, no company information, or designer info - List of stockists and contact info - Cannot order any shoes online

Other Online Stockists: - - - - - -

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4






U S P: Youthful but elegant, fun design, inspired by the past but using modern materials and shapes. Has established a distinctive style utilising a particular shape and spiderweb detail. Attention to detail in design. New brand that is still becoming more well known.

£780 C O N S U M E R:


- Core consumer aged 16 - 35 - Youthful and fun in style but also elegant - Interested in fashion and aware of trends but likes to think they are making their own decisions - Enjoys finding new designers and is prone to changing style quickly - Embodies youth and sophistication at the same time

Celebrity follower who personifies the brand:

Best seller


- Aged 20 - Actress - Wants to be taken seriously as a style icon - Needs to stay youthful whilst emodying a more grown up style


- Interested in new designers - Very aware of fashion and moving trends - Developing sense of style



- Fickle sense of loyalty

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4





DISPLAY: - Product all along one wall, each shoe suspended on a metal stand - Glass cabinets with handbags in - At back there are photos, pictures and a few curious objects which have inspired the designer - Shoes feel almost out of reach on metal stands - Feels quite bare inside - Nice spiderweb detail on shop front

Location: 56 Maddox Street, just off Old Bond Street A little tucked away from main shopping street, more of a destination store. First stand alone store.

- Unfortunately the website has been ‘being updated’ for the past couple of months - Webpage has picture of sort of pin up style girl wearing the shoes - New website will feature an e-shop

Store Layout:

Other Online Stockists: - - - -




Sales desk

Coffee table


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Price Comparison of Different Styles of Competitive Brands


Charlotte Olympia £1,350

Georgina Goodman

£1,200 £1,150

Nicholas Kirkwood £900


Rupert Sanderson



Beatrix Ong £450

£300 £150

£0 Flat


Evening Sandal


Most Expensive


Looking at the line chart above, it is easy to compare the brands and the price architecture of each of my competitive brands. The two most expensive companies are Georgina Goodman and Nicholas Kirkwood, with Beatrix Ong being the cheapest. In terms of where the Virginia Lee brand would sit, costing must be done in order to work out exactly where it would go. In talking to consumers, it was apparent that the majority said they would be prepared to spend a bit more if they knew the product was ethical; so this could be taken into consideration when costing. However, it is difficult to determine whether this consumer outcome can be relied upon as it could just be something they would ‘hope’ to do rather than actually doing when it comes to making a choice. Before costing, the Virginia Lee brand would hope to fit into the higher end of the luxury market alongside Charlotte Olympia, so still classed as luxury, but not so unattainable as say Goodman or Kirkwood with their most expensive pieces being more than £1,200. The brand would hope to have a more core range like Charlotte Olympia, where she doesn’t sell an overwhelming range of different styles, so consumers know what they can expect each season but in interesting materials, unlike Georgina Goodman who has so many different styles, the consumer never quite knows what they are going to get.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

RANGE PLANNING Before designing a range, especially for a first season, in terms of production the development costs of lasts, heels, platforms etc. should be known before starting (refer to costings, pg 36). Several brands when they first start up can only afford to invest in the development of maybe a couple of different last shapes, and heels for example, Michael Lewis London and Charlotte Olympia. These components may then have to be utilised in more than one collection for the cost of development to be made back.

Proposed range plan of luxury footwear for S/S12


Heel Height


Retail Price Estimate

Flat sandal


Simple sandal structure, possibly toe post sandal

£ 300

More complex sandal


Slight heeled sandal with detail that has trim that relates to range

£ 385

Wearable summer brogue


Detailed brogue or pump suitable in Summer

£ 460

Mid height court


Wearable day court echoes range inspiration

£ 475

Mid height sandal


Wearable sandal that can be smart

£ 475

Higher simple sandal


Still wearable and not too fussy

£ 500

Higher simple court


Wearable day court

£ 500

Statement sandal

12cm with plat.

Statement piece, for evening

£ 590

Statement shoe

12cm with plat.

Statement piece

£ 590

Statement summer bootie x2

12cm with plat.

Statement piece, press piece.

£ 620

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



Research from internet, books, museum visits etc.

Design brief

First samples arrive

Ammendment to samples made, and sent back to factory

Factory visit to check on product development and quality

Sold to customer

Material and leather sourcing, tradeshows etc.

Designs sent to factory

Initial designing and editing

Lookbook and moodshots done Confirmation samples arrive

Stock in stores

Line sheets created to sell

Stock arrives and sent out to stockists Orders sent to factory

Press samples arrive for PR company to send out

The production chain diagram above shows the typical luxury designer supply chain. Problems with production and samples cannot always be planned for but by doing SWOT analysis before hand with regards to the product that is being manufactured, it is possible to establish what might go wrong before it does. Allowing for problems can be difficult when being a new designer with lack of experience working with factories. Correct problem analysis can only come once a relationship and a knowledge of how the factory works has been established. The sorts of problems that could occur during the supply chain: - May not be able to source the exact materials wanted - Designs may be too complicated or not realistic for factory to produce - First samples may not do well in fit tests - Confirmation samples may arrive late and therefore affect shooting and producing a lookbook - Pricing for shows may be higher than first thought because of fluctuating exchange rates - Quantities of orders on certain styles may not be high enough to warrant production, therefore creating bad relationships with stores


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

COSTING With an increasing number of ‘Super’ Factories in China, Brazil, Vietnam and India manufacturing high quality and technically advanced footwear, there is competition with Italian factories in producing luxury items. Factories like TMLS in Brazil that are able to recreate leather finishes, fabrics, trims and hardware, by using a vast range of suppliers and local artisans quickly and cheaply, are doing things that Italy just cant replicate in the same time. New luxury companies are finding prices cheaper and production quicker with international factories, and are bypassing the tradition of Italian made shoes.

Country of Production

European Factories; Italy, Spain, Portugal

International factories; Brazil, India, China, Vietnam



- Italy known for quality and history of luxury leather goods production - Easy to travel to factory to check quality and standards - Do not have to pay VAT inside EU - Can trace where components and materials are sourced from with more ease - Factory working conditions less likely to be low standard

- Products may take longer to produce as factories may be smaller - Prices are more expensive - less profit margins - Leathers and materials may have to be sourced by company rather than factory - May not able to produce technically advanced items quickly

- Technically advanced with production - Quick production and large quantity - Can develop new materials, trims etc. quickly - Can source leathers easily - Quality is improving - Product can be made cheaper than in Europe as labour costs are lower

- Cannot visit the factories often to check on quality - Have to pay importation taxes - Products may get stuck in customs awaiting clearance - Expensive travel costs to check on production - Cannot check on standards of factory and labour - Hard to trace where components are sourced from - May be language barriers when discussing production - Unsure of what other lines are made there, copying? - Buyers may be put off if luxury items are not made in Italy

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


In order to compete in the luxury footwear market, it is possible to look at where the competitors produce their products. In all cases of the five chosen competitors:


- Beatrix Ong - Rupert Sanderson - Nicholas Kirkwood - Georgina Goodman - Charlotte Olympia

All products produced in Italy

As the five main competitors of my brand all produce in Italy, it would be naive to think that producing elsewhere in this market would be beneficial. To the types of consumers of these brands, it appears that money is not really an issue, but quality is. If the best products are coming out of Italy then that is probably the best place to produce. The chosen factory is Calzaturifico “Erre” based in Milan. Not a huge factory, producing for other companies, Chanel, Chrisitian Louboutin and Michael Lewis London. The reputation of the factory is very good and this will be advantageous for a new emerging brand, that a factory of this calibre has agreed to work with you.

General Overview of Development Costs: Type

Development Cost

Heel: Plain resin moulded € 580 More complex resin moulded € 1, 920

Cost of units after development

Total cost

x4 Different sized units x4 Different sized units

€ 2,320 € 7,680

New last shape

€ 140

€ 35 per sized units € 385 x 7 for size run Eu35 - 41

Platform: Complex resin moulded

€ 600

x 3 Different sized units

€ 1,800

* Different sized graded units needed to fit size run After initial development has been finalised, the factory can begin working on orders. After the initial costs - 1 Pair of prototypes/samples will cost - € 150 - inclusive of materials. It is difficult to do a product/labour/component cost breakdown, as the factory gives a whole price for 1 pair of completed samples, however roughly 1/3 of the total cost is just the materials used.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

OTHER COSTS Specially moulded heel top pieces that don’t make a noise - € 500 for 1000 units. On a pair of shoes, the hardware for example, simple brass buckles cost - € 3 For a pair of shoes, moulded brass toe caps cost around - € 5

COST IN QUANTITIES As previously stated, a pair of samples would cost around € 150. However when stock is ordered, the price may be negotiated with the factory depending on quantity. For example, 10 pairs go from € 150 per pair, to € 111 per pair, and the larger the quantity the cheaper each pair will be.

QUALITY CONTROL On first orders it is usual that the company will go to the factory and check on quality before an order is sent out to client, or even have the order sent to own company to check on quality before forwarding on to client. If the order is small, for example 40 pairs, then each pair should be checked. If an order is larger, then a spot check of 50 random pairs should be checked. After initial quality control is checked by the company, and the company is satisfied, then quality control can be done by the factory in-house, however to ensure quality is consistent then regular checks should be done when visiting the factory. Quality is very important to buyers, as if quality is not upto scratch and customers do not buy then the company may have lost an important relationship with the buyers who may not re-order again. Notably in Japan and Asia, if a thread is loose, or there is a tiny scratch on the leather on even one pair; then a whole order can be sent back for a refund which could be detrimental to a new company trying to break a profitable international market.

SHIPPING + AIR FREIGHT Using an exemplary order of say 40 pairs, the cost per pair to send by air freight would be roughly £5. Totalling a cost of: £200 Sending order by air freight may take 2-4 days depending on clearance from customs. Sending 40 pairs by ship can take upto 2 weeks but the cost per pair is roughly £3.50, Totalling a cost of: £140

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


WHOLESALING + RETAILING When first samples arrive of the new collection, before taking and showing at various trade shows and fashion weesks, prices must be calculated in the currencies that will be used, (most frequently, pound, euros and dollars). In order to calculate these the factory must send a list of prices. The prices will reflect the costs that go into making each style, even though for first prototypes, there is just one initial cost. The prices that are given will be per how many ordered. For example, for a simple court shoe the prices may be as follows: Below 50 pairs ordered - € 115 50 pairs to 100 - € 100 100+ - € 89 So when all prices arrive, it is useful to know what the prices will be when ordering a certain quantity. Also when working out pricing per style, some styles may come up a bit more expensive than you might think, for example a flat ballerina pump may come up more expensive than a high heel sandal depending on materials used. When this happens, buyers may be confused and customers in the store may not see the reason for the seemingly imbalanced price architecture. So, in order to combat this, prices can be re-shuffled a bit and money can be taken off some styles and added onto more expensive looking shoes.

Wholesale Pricing: To find the wholesale price, in a luxury company it is usual to multiply the factory price by 2.5 to 2.7. E.g. Court shoe style - € 115 x 2.5 = € 287.50 (Also as investigated in the SWOT and PESTEL analysis, exchange rates need to be taken into consideration when converting prices into different currencies).

Retail Pricing: Although when selling to clients who will stock your product in their shops, you have no say in what the mark up will be, it is useful to know what the retail price might be. Usually luxury stores like Dover Street Market and Harvey Nichols will multiply the wholesale price by 2.8 - 3 to get the retail price, however some very high end stores like Harrods, may multiply the wholesale price by upto 5. E.g. Court shoe style - Wholesale price of € 287.50 x 2.8 = € 805 (This multiplied by 5 would be € 1,437.50).


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


As a luxury brand it is important to know about key trends and general trend movements but it is not necessarily of use to be informed by them in design. There may be certain moods within the industry and materials that may be influential to a luxury brand, but the luxury brands are meant to be the ones who start the trends.

COLOUR As previously stated I have chosen to design for Spring Summer 2012. There are two colour palettes on WGSN that I am interested in looking at. The first is a soft pastel retro inpsired palette which has soft grey hues, cornflower blues and subtle pinky orange tones. This colour palette sits quite nicely with my design concept, looking at maritime and seafaring traditions, seaside colours, and diving equipment.

Source: WGSN

The next colour palette I am looking at has similar shades to the previous palette, with subtle dusky pink shades, and beachy light blues - again appropriate for my design concept. In reserching diving equipment and diving suits, I came across a suit that had seams coated in rubber to stop the water getting in the seams and the colour of the rubber was similar to the rusty shades depicted in this colour palette. Source: WGSN

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


MATERIALS In researching materials it was useful going to Lineapelle where they had lots of trend information on materials, textures, finishes and coatings etc. Material trends: - Rubberised and coated leathers - Animal printed leathers - Knitted Leathers - Heavily embossed and worked into leathers Production trends: - Wood/Veneer effect covered heels - Layered wood + foam wedges and platforms Hardware trends: - Plastic/powder coated metal chains - Chunky metal zips - Enamelled hardware in pastel tones, chipped-retro feel - Leather and vinyl covered metallic hardware details

Knitted leather bags by Prada

Looking at WGSN there are a few material trends I am interested in, for example the layered foam and wood which also featured at Lineapelle. I am interested at seeing how this technique could be utilised in creating wedges and platforms. Using different woods and coloured foam could be interesting. Also the coated foam in different colours.

Source: WGSN

Really like these shoes from Prada SS11, and the layered foam sole units



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Other material trends that are inspiring me are the woven textures, possibly utilising unusual materials for example wire, plastic threads etc.

Throughout my inspirational research there has been lots of study of fishing nets and the way they have been put together and woven and in my experimentation I would like to look at trying to weave my own net or knitting unusual materials to create interesting textures. Source: WGSN

In contrast to the intricate weaving and knitting, canvas, cottons and hessiens are something I am also interested in looking at and utilising. There are several different ways of treating rough cottons and canvases, for example waxing, rubberising, printing on and other things. These might be treatments that I explore through experimentation. Going back to the rubberised seams seen in diving suits, this might be also be something that I test out, as the effect was quite interesting. Source: WGSN

Rubberised seam on the sleeve of a diving suit. Really love the rusty kind of faded red colour in contrast with the black and beige. (Taken at Whitstable Museum)

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



As well as being aware of material, hardware, techniques, and colour trends, it is also advantageous to be aware of current catwalk trends as although things move on quickly from season to season, there are moods which may remain throughout a couple of seasons. Sometimes moods are affected by something as simple as the weather, sometimes by the political and economic climate and other times by exhibitions or events that are taking place. As a luxury design brand, especially one interested in how consumer moods are changing and what ethical and sustainability issues are relevant, the catwalks can be a good place to look for general moods. Moods I have noticed from the past couple of seasons that I am interested in: - More grown up but pared down, classic, feminine feeling seen at Céline, Chloé - Interest in traditional craft techniques, looking back to 1940’s sense of ‘Make Do and Mend’, mood of investing in long lasting items that won’t go out of fashion quickly

Phillip Lim


Stella McCartney

Chloé Source:


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Christian Dior Dolce & Gabbana

Christian Dior

MacramĂŠ dress Chunky handmade lace Source:

Layered woven raffia Source:



From WGSN, there have been some key accessory trends identified and there are some images which fit nicely with my design inspiration. Rope tassels

Metallic hardware details

Coiled rope neckpiece

Source: WGSN

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Final Project CONCEPT


Techniques and details



CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

S A N D S H O E S ...

... I really like the combination of leather straps and the heavy brass bottoms of these specially designed to make walking easier in sand.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Diving Telephones

Really like the hardware details

Would be nice as smaller details on shoes


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Diving Boots

Source: Malta Maritime Museum

Throughout all the diving boots, I think the idea for a protected toe is a good idea, as part of my brand is longevity of product

Also like the square shape of the toe which could be refined for a more feminine looking last shape

Source: Malta Maritime Museum

Would like to utilise leather straps throughout my design work, and also the combination of different sized eyelets


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Source: London Science Museum

Inspired by the different belts, could be interesting for strap details, also like the metal detail on the front of the suit

Source: London Science Museum

Like the shape of this primitive form of diving suit

Interested in the structure of this sea bed sort of sledge, could look at utilising structure as a platform

Source: Greenwich Maritime Museum

Diving Equipment Source: History of Atmospheric Diving Suit


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Rope Details Might be interesting to experiment with different knot techniques and thicknesses of rope

Really like this rope fender, could be good as a buckle idea Source: Colour Book of Knots

Source: Malta Maritim e M us eu


Source: Greenwich Maritime Museum

These rope and wood pulleys could be nice details to try and replicate on a smaller scale for straps Source: Colour Book of Knots

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


I think the combination of the square toe made of wood at the front and the leather and metal is really interesting, found in these rowing shoes attached to the boat.

Source: Oslo Maritime Museum

Source: London Science Museum

Like the combination of wood and the blue plastic and screws on these steps found on a ship’s interior

Wooden Details Source: London Science Museum


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Love these men’s boots by J W Anderson. All the gold hardware and square toe shape are really reminiscent of old diving boots.

Source: Paul Hartnett Street Photography

Like the leather toe cap on the front of these shoes, and also the hiking boot style lace hooks

Source: Jak and Jil Blog

Quite like the home made looking toe caps here

Street Style Looks Source: Paul Hartnett Street Photography

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Really like this work by Caragh Thuring. The sort of landscape scenes, painted quite roughly onto an oatmeal coloured thick canvas.

Could be interesting to experiment using different paints on canvas and textures

Love the colours of the oatmeal combined with the black and grey tones.

Source: Taken at the Saatchi Gallery


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Swedish Organic + Vegtan Leathers Leather Stitched Welts

Metal Hardware


Metallic Toe-Caps

Organic Cottons

Wood/Foam Layered Wedges

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


FURTHER MATERIALS & EXPERIMENTATION Going to Lineapelle to source materials was good, however I did not find suppliers for everything I wanted. I was most interested in finding a supplier who could make brass toe caps, however I did not find any suppliers who were suitable for this. In discussing with a tutor at university, I found that it is possible, with his help, to cast my own metal details and toe caps, however a lot of experimentation will be required in order to get a professional finish. Developing this, I will be able to experiment moulding with dental wax to try different shapes and finishes, and in the product realisation stages will continue to develop this. Also with the layered wood and foam wedge units, although I found a supplier, the minimum quantity was too large for me, so moving forward I would like to experiment with wood carving and using foam. Looking at organic leathers, I was told about the company TärnsjÜ who are based in Sweden and make organic and vegtan leathers. I contacted them and found out about pricing and got some samples (see appendix). Taking this forward, I would like to experiment with the samples (see materials board). After looking at my initial inspiration images, I decided that I wanted a last that had a slightly square toe that could accommodate for a toe cap. I went to Springline in Northampton and chose an initial last. The heel height is 9 so with a platform will be a really nice height. When I have got a bit further in the design development I may well get another last, possibly a flat to compliment this one.

Another thing I am interested in experimenting with is different ageing effects on the leather I am intending to use. When I was in Malta, I went snorkelling and on the seabed found these beautiful worn pieces of pottery. Not only do I love the different colours, but also the worn effect on them. The effect is called a crackle glaze and I would be interested in experimenting to see if I could get a similar effect on leather.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

COLOUR PALETTE I have come up with three possible colour palettes that I am interested in investigating further.

Beach Pastels

The three colour palettes come from pictures taken at Whitstable beach and harbour. Although it may seem a bit obvious to be inspired by simply three pictures taken, I really feel that the colours reflect the personality and concept of my brand. Being informed by trends for S/S12 has been useful, as knowing that pastel shades will be in season in SS12 is relevant to the design process.

Pantone DE 3324C

Pantone DE 3323C

Pantone DE 3258U

Pantone DE 2365U

Pantone 283U

Pantone 684U

Fishing Nets

B E A C H P A S T E L S The first of the three palettes, looks mainly at pastel tones with a dusky pink colour, sky blue, light teal, beige, dove grey and off white. Cottons and textures might be interesting in these colours.


Pantone 7541U

Pantone 3125U

The second palette are darker shades, in a rusty burnt orange, grey-blue, charcoal grey, jade green, pale beige. This palette might work well on trims and possibly alongside exploring using rubber.

Pantone 7540U

Pantone DE 2117U

Pantone DE 60-5U

Seaside Tones

SEASIDE TONES The final palette looks at the seaside for inspiration with a very dark midnight blue, yale blue, another pale sky blue, tan brown, and ash grey. These could be good colours to use for leathers, a nice contrast to the first palette.

Pantone 427 - C

Pantone DE 43-3U

Pantone DE22289U

Pantone DE 2284U

Pantone DE 2021UU

Source: All taken at Whistable Beach and Harbour

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


EVALUATION Doing a placement year has definitely helped me throughout this project, whether it has been with the costings that I understand a little better now, or knowing the value of client relationships. Gaining experience in a small luxury footwear company has made me see things differently to how I might have looked at them before. I feel that my knowledge about the consumer has grown, and how important knowing the consumer is, and also what else is going on in the market today and what techniques others are using. Doing the PESTEL analysis made me realise the importance of being aware of the bigger picture and what different impacts larger factors can have on a small business. Also searching for suppliers and looking at different techniques at Lineapelle has helped me develop as a designer and also taught me how to be more professional within industry, This project has been both demanding and educational, however I feel a lot wiser from having done it. Some of the problems I had with finding the consumer came down to lack of questionnaire responses, and had I had the time I would’ve like to have asked more people. It is also difficult if you have a lack of confidence to approach people in the street, as I do not take rejection very well. Something else I have learnt through this project has been that people are willing to help you as long as you are not too scared to ask, for example shop assistants are very knowledgeable about their consumer and the product they are selling, so they are good people to ask. I particularly enjoyed the inspiration research part of the project where I got to explore different seaside towns and cities, for example Malta, Oslo and Whitstable. I found some really good sources of inspiration and am glad I chose the inspirational concept that I did. Moving forward from this I am excited about starting the product realisation part of the project, continuing with design and getting to experiment with some of the techniques I have outlined here. Also I look forward to getting more hands on with the project.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

BIBLIOGRAPHY Books: - Arnold, Chris. 2009 - Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer, UK: John Wiley and Sons Ltd. - Cousteau, Jacques Yves. 1953 – The Silent World, England: Hazell Watson and Viney LTD - Gladwell, Malcolm. 2000 – The Tipping Point, Great Britain: Abacus - Harris, Gary L. 1995 - Ironsuit: The History of the Atmospheric Diving Suit, England: Best Pub co. - Hin, Floris. 1982 – The Colour Book of Knots, London: Macmillan – NAUTICAL BOOKS - Lagerlöf, Selma. 1907 - The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, Massachussetts - Pantheon Books Inc. - Meilach, Dona Z. 1971 – Macramé, Creative Design in Knotting, USA: Eighth Printing - Rabolt, Nancy J, Solomon, Michael R. 2004 – Consumer Behaviour in Fashion, New Jersey: Prentice Hall - Raddon, Alan James. 1982 – How to Make Rope Soled Footwear, Aberarth: Aberarth Publishing - Tungate, Mark. 2009 - Luxury World, The Past, Present and Future of Luxury Brands, Great Britain: Kogan Page Limited Websites: - - - - - - - - - - Trade Journals: - Drapers Record - Footwear News Quotes: Pg 3 - Wilson, Eric 2008. - Fashion’s Invisible Man, October 1 2008, Pg G1 of NY Times Pg 4 - Howell, Margaret -, About Us section Pg 10 - Wasem, Frances - Fashion Forward, January 2011, Pg 57 of Harper’s Bazaar, What’s Modern Now Pg 17 - Quote about luxury quality, British Lifestyles, Focusing on the Essentials, Aug 2010 Pg 17 - Arnold, Chris 2009. - Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer, Pg 220 Pg 20 - Arnold, Chris 2009 - Ethical Marketing and the New Consumer, Pg 220

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




Pricelist TÄRNSJÖ Vegetable Tanned Leather 1,1-1,3 mm

Item No

1-5 hides

6-15 hides

16-30 hides

31+ hides

87,30 (A)

82,90 (A)

74,20 (A)

69,80 (A)

58,70 (B)

55,80 (B)

49,90 (B)

47,00 (B)

44,60 (C)

42,40 (C)

37,90 (C)

35,70 (C)

81,80 (A)

77,70 (A)

69,50 (A)

65,40 (A)

55,00 (B)

52,30 (B)

46,80 (B)

44,00 (B)

41,60 (C)

39,50 (C)

35,40 (C)

33,30 (C)

79,40 (A)

75,40 (A)

67,50 (A)

63,50 (A)

53,50 (B)

50,80 (B)

45,50 (B)

42,80 (B)

40,50 (C)

38,50 (C)

34,40 (C)

32,40 (C)


8800 8822


8678 8680 8689 8697


8175 8205 8420 8540 8715 8810 8870 8951 8955

Selections: (A)(B)(C) The approx size of the hides is about 40-55 Ft2 The price is in SEK per Ft2 and hide.

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CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Interview with Michael Fox of Shoes of Prey

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



Survey Monkey Questionnaire results.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Survey Monkey Questionnaire results.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



Survey Monkey Questionnaire results.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Survey Monkey Questionnaire results.

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4



Survey Monkey Questionnaire results.


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4


Street Questionnaire Results

CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4




Street Questionnaire Results


CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT - Ginny Williams - PDDFI: Footwear Y4

Concept Development Final  

Final Version of Concept Development