Footwear is one of the most challenging fields of product design. Our feet contain over one-quarter of the bones in the human body; 33 joints and more than 100 muscles. A footwear designer is set with the daunting task of creating a workable, breathable, fashionable item in which to encase this complicated area of the human anatomy. For multi-talented footwear designer and product developer Diana Camilleri, however, it’s all in a day’s work.
“My passion for footwear started when I was a young girl; I used to love wearing my mother’s heels and playing dress up with my sister,” says Camilleri. The up-and-coming footwear designer combined her love of drawing and craft with her passion for footwear and enrolled in an evening course in Footwear Design while living in Milan. Later graduating from the London College of Fashion with a BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear in Product Design and Development. “I was stunned when I discovered the amount of components that are required to make a simple pair of shoes. Especially when they are handmade,” says Camilleri.
Developing a cohesive range of fabulous footwear is Camilleri’s favorite part of the shoe design process. Beyond choosing fabrics, looks, and color inspiration is the need to resolve fitting issues and refine techniques through a process of trial and error. It’s an exercise that is not for the faint of heart.
“Nothing every goes smoothly,” says Camilleri. “As a typical example, you can design a shoe on paper and it won’t be until you create a mock-up when you come to realize that the design may not work. Working from 2D to 3D becomes problematic, and changes are almost always necessary.” But it’s this challenge that spurs Camilleri onwards.
Inspired by nature, Camilleri’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection caught our eye. Aptly entitled, Nature Prevails, it features a combination of traditional dyeing techniques that utilize flowers, red cabbage, logwood and other natural ingredients to create a unique range of print and color variations. These are fresh, feminine designs with an emphasis on sustainability. Although this collection is not for sale commercially, be sure that someday, in the not-too-distant future, you may be wearing the result of Camilleri’s hard work. A step in the right direction. — ANASTASIA RUBIN