Alejandra Simonetta graduated from MA Footwear at LCF in 2014, and won The Cordwainers Dato's Jimmy Choo Award 2014. She now works as a Product Developer in London.
Could you introduce yourself and your current role?
My name is Alejandra Simonetta. I am an Argentinean Footwear Designer. First I did my BA in Fashion and Textile Design in Argentina and I have just finished my Masters in Footwear at LCF. Currently, I work as a Footwear Product Developer for a brand based in London and I am part of some collaborative projects within the conceptual footwear field that will be shown in the next upcoming months.
How did you get to where you are today?
I have always worked really hard for what I believe. I really try to keep focused and keep my feet on the ground. These are the most important values that I have for my everyday life and work experiences. I follow my instinct and I try to keep on moving to let opportunities disappear and appear and get me closer to my achievements.
Why did you choose to study MA Footwear at LCF?
There are two things that made my mind while choosing it: the graduate projects and the site at Golden Lane. Looking at the projects that were shown every year gave me an idea of the amazing level of education. Also, I was lucky and I was able to visit the facilities and workshops at Golden Lane and I absolutely felt that this was where I wanted to be and spend my hours in. The workshops always become our second homes.
What did you learn as part of the Masters that was different to the BA?
I think that in a Masters level compared to the BA is more about going deep in those areas that we would like to improve as professionals. When you do a BA you get the knowledge about your field. However, in a Masters course you apply all that knowledge in deeper research projects and it is about pushing yourself to a higher level of creative solving skills to produce innovative thinking and as result innovative projects.
Did you find London inspiring?
Absolutely! This city is a big source of inspiration by itself. The variety of people and just walking around can be extremely powerful to find ourselves as designers. Museums, fair markets and art galleries contribute to this purpose too.
Tell us about an average day at your job?
First, I start my day with a good coffee and I turn on the computer. As Product Developer I am responsible for the development of CADs and technical packs that are sent to the factory. So my first hours of the day are all about this and also making sure that everything is on its way in the shoe factory in Italy. A few days a week I have meetings with my customer for updates regarding the manufacturing process.
After that I spend my afternoons and evenings designing and making my conceptual projects. So far I need to make shoes for three different collaborations before September so I am quite busy and excited with that. Their styles are really different from each other so I spend a lot of time searching for inspiration and experimenting with materials and shapes.
There is something that I do every day to disconnect from work and charge my batteries which is walking around. It really helps to be more focus and to generate more ideas.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I do not ask for too much. I would like to have a good living from what I love which is my profession. I want to keep on improving and learning within my field. Being able to work as a footwear designer for other brands but also having my own studio to develop more experimental and conceptual work would make me extremely happy.
What’s an ideal weekend for you?
My ideal weekend for me is when I spend time for myself and doing just what I want when I want, surrounded by my friends or family. But there are just some weekends that I just want to stay isolated at home and be relaxed, watching movies or just reading. Spending time on my own always help me to find myself and I get better results after in my projects as it affects directly my creative process.
What is your top tip for people who want to get into roles like yours?
I think is about learning to be flexible and being responsible and effective while working with different jobs at the same time. A good management of time is important too. We all have our own design style, but we might need to go out of that comfort zone when we work for others and that exercise of achieving other people's expectations is a lot of pressure, but amazingly satisfying when you see you can manage them all and that you have developed and incorporated in yourself new skills.
Three words all shoe designers should live by…
Passion, hard work and authenticity.
What’s the most important thing you wish you had known when you started out?
Too many things I guess. But the most important aspect is related about developing my personality as a designer. I think it is about trusting in yourself and sometimes learning how to build a barrier between your own critics and others. If you do not respect yourself and your creativity, it is difficult for others to do the same with you. That would have been a good advice I think. It is not about being egocentric, it is about having the tools to learn with modesty and self respect.