Design as a factor for success
Only the best is good enough for children’s feet
Isolde Koch learned her trade at a fashion college in Paris and studied advertising graphics in Hamburg and New York. She discovered her passion for children’s shoes more or less accidentally. In particular the high degree of creativity and the opportunity of coming up with new ideas never ceased to excite her, says the designer. To be up to date at all times, she regularly travels to the international fashion metropoles, where she gets her inspiration from street styles and the latest trends at fairs. However, she always ahead of her time: Isolde Koch is currently already working on the “Elefanten” Autumn/Winter Collection 2011/2012.
Designer Isolde Koch
When it comes to cut, pattern and colours, her imagination hardly knows any boundaries - and yet, designing children’s shoes is more than just fashion: because ligaments, muscles and tendons of the little customers are still growing, shoes have to optimally support the child’s foot. A flexible outsole reduces the weight of the shoe and makes the first steps easier. There are no small, fine decorative elements on the shoe’s surface. The preferred option for children’s shoes is embroidery, TPU Logos and logo rivets.
During the interview, Isolde Koch tells us what else is important and how she after 15 years in her profession, still meets new and exciting challenges.
A conversation with designer Isolde Koch
What is the greatest challenge in your job?
The greatest challenge is to recognise trends early and to implement them. The collections must meet the zeitgeist, the spirit of life, the taste of customers and their requirements in equal measures.
Do you see yourself as a craftsperson or an artist?
I see myself as a creative person with craftsmanship skills and know-how.
Where do get the ideas for your collections?
I use various sources. When I am on shopping tours through the metropoles of the world, I look at the people. Visiting fairs provides me with an insight into the popular trend and of course trend watching on the internet is a help. But I let myself also get inspired by browsing through fashion magazines.
Are kids’ trends different from those of adults?
From a certain age children’s fashion is very much oriented towards the trends and the fashion of adults.
Is it possible to be creative when designing a child’s shoe?
There are a lot of possibilities as to colours, choice of material, prints and embroidery. Even sole design requires creativity.
Do you have a favourite in the new children’s collection?
I think the new collection has something for everybody. My personal favourite is the series “Elefanten free” with a special three-part sole, which provides absolute freedom of movement.
Is your personal taste reflected in your designs?
Of course, there is always some of my personal taste in my designs. But above all, I try to orientate myself on the requirements of the children and the wishes of the customers.
You design children’s shoes but your actual target group are their parents. What must a child’s shoe have to meet the parents’ requirements?
First and foremost, parents attach great value to fit and quality. Of course, innovative technologies will always be recognised, because it shows that we continue to develop our products with our customers in mind. However, one must not lose sight of the fact that look, material and of course the price play a very important role as to what shoe to buy.
How important is quality for you as a designer?
Extremely important! When it comes to children’s feet only the best is good enough. A shoe must not be expensive to provide a high level of quality. Based on high quantities and well organised procurement, we are able to offer excellent quality at a reasonable price.
Are your models tested before they hit the shelves?
Our team carries out so-called fitting-tests in kindergartens and schools on a regular basis: new models are tested by letting the children run, jump and play in them. Only then it can be tested whether a shoe is able to withstand everyday use. We look at the fit and ensure that nothing pricks or pinches. We talk to the children and analyse our findings. If required, we carry out the necessary correction. Afterwards the models go into production.