Designing Rubbish

Designing a new product out of recycled materials feels like Christmas Day. Do you remember how exciting it was to go to sleep the night before? That is the feeling I get when my production office emails to tell me my samples are on the way.

If I have learnt anything in the last five years of fashion, it is that every company has a different design process to create their signature style. As brands are becoming more transparent the individual customer is still curious what takes place in the design room.

My design process has been shaped by the various internships and sustainable brands I have been a part of. As I forge ahead in the sustainable industry, I wanted to share my process so you can see the love and care that goes into every piece. From the initial sketch to packing orders, we handle every pair of shoes with care, as we try to reduce our impact on the planet.

Before I start designing the shoes, I choose when I want the styles to launch throughout the year. Even though we strive to be transeasonal, some styles are better suited to certain seasons, and I want my footwear to align with your lifestyle.

Once I have selected the style launch dates, I then work backwards and plan a sampling time frame. Due to offshore manufacturing, I don't have the luxury to go into a studio and create my designs by hand. It takes multiple samples to get it right.

Before sampling and sketching, I research styles, materials and create a moodboard. This is my favourite stage of the process because it kickstarts my creative flow. I find myself dancing in the kitchen, as I discover wonderful alternative fabrics to design with.

After the moodboard comes together I then move onto designing my specification sheet. This is an important communication for the production team, as it has all the measurements, aesthetic details, and materials to use. Thankfully my production team grades the sizes of all my designs for me. This was never my favourite task when I was studying fashion.

Once I have sent this document off the production office, we continue the conversation over email about the materials and colours. As sometimes they don’t have the exact colour or supplier to create the shoe. This can take a while to confirm the design, as I am very particular with the materials. I do not compromise on this, because creating shoes from recycled, reused and repurposed materials is a high priority for me.

After four weeks I finally received the first sample from our production office. This can be a bittersweet moment as I open the box from the courier. I slip my foot into the sample, and evaluate multiple areas of the design. I check to see if the design matches the specification sheet, then walk around in the shoes to check comfort and durability. I am quite critical at this stage, because I only want to add styles to my store that I love and have longevity.

I then email my production team with notes. I do worry they roll their eyes when they read these messages from me (haha). This typically results in a second round of sampling. 

So, after years of sampling, it is safe to say I’m running out of space in my house to store these shoes. However, nothing is more satisfying when the design is perfect.

Now, I can finally see the finish line. There is only one more step to complete before I share our new designs with the world, and that is our product shoot. In the beginning I did attempt to take these photos myself and if I’m honest…they were terrible. Christian and I would wander down to the beach at sunset and place the shoes on the sand, capturing as many photos as possible on our iPhones before the sunset. I would get frustrated every time because it was never what I envisioned. 

Lucky for me, I discovered the beautifully talented photographer, Kayla. Who is responsible for the amazing imagery splashed across our store and social pages. I get emotional (happy emotions) every time she emails me with the image gallery from the shoot, because she is truly an artist.

Creating Lost Sols has been a dream come true. I hope with every step you take in your shoes you feel good about yourself, as we work together to nurture our environment with shoes made from rubbish.