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To have and to hold

Tuesday, 4 Jul, 2017

Walking into my first meeting yesterday was a surreal experience. I’m not sure best how to describe it. Part of me wants to go back and do it again, to slow it down and revisit the conversations – not from any regret, but just to be a fly on a wall and be able to take it all in from another perspective… to be in someone else’s shoes where I’m able to observe without feeling under pressure, because the ones I was in made it all feel pretty overwhelming.

That said, I can definitely be one to feel the emotions of momentous occasions either in hindsight or in preparation but rarely during, and yesterday was no exception. Getting ready I was teary – in a good way – feeling the weight of the potential significance that the next few hours could hold. (And I might be a tad teary again now as I’m reflecting on it all…). When you have an idea that you’ve stewed on for months and years, then find yourself on the other side of the world, in a country you’ve never been to, where they speak another language and often think a different way, and they are about to present you with the physical prototype of your idea that you can physically hold… well, it’s kinda crazy!! 

So off we went driving from our accomodation in Fermo, winding down through olive groves and sunflower fields to sea level and into an area obviously known for shoe manufacturing. Along the way there were signs for Prada and TODs, to name just a couple.

To be honest I had no idea what to expect of the meeting. All I knew was I had a list of questions and that my very first prototype would be waiting for me “sitting on the table”. And there it was, a single shoe only completed 50mins before our arrival (I love their honesty) in the middle of a private showroom just for us.

I’d love to go into all the details of what kind of shoe it is, what it looks like, and why it is so special or different to anything else out there… but it’s a bit too soon to be able to reveal that just yet. What I can tell you is: it’s a high heel, and they only made one for me to see/feel/try on and go over in detail. The idea of the prototype is to let you check the measurements, quality of materials, the structure, the shape, the finishes, and of course the comfort and fit (even though you can only test the comfort in terms of your own personal preference).

After inspecting the shoe, we walked through aisles of leather of all kinds, from the obvious to the more exotic like snakeskin… crocodile… ostrich and even salmon. I was like a kid in a candy store standing in front of rows of rolls in all colours, textures and patterns you could dream of. I selected some samples for later reference, and made a few changes to the prototype before we wrapped the first meeting.

Now we wait while they make the modifications and create the matching shoe, so I can bring home a complete pair. The next few days will be filled with exploring other shoe outlets and factories as part of my research, and of course some downtime to reflect and keep planning ahead!

Just a few quick snaps…

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