Milan Shoe Course Takes Manhattan

Shoe designers got a peek behind the scenes of shoe production on Tuesday.

Part of a weeklong course conducted by Milan’s Ars Sutoria — also known as International Technical Institute of Art of Footwear and Leather Goods — in Manhattan, the session schooled 22 of the footwear industry’s young talents. Attendees included John and Christopher Camuto, sons of Camuto Group founder and CEO Vince Camuto, as well as Jake Schwartz, son of Schwartz & Benjamin Inc. CEO Danny Schwartz.

Jeanna Dimola, brand manager of private labels at Jimlar Footwear, told Footwear News the course exposed her to a side of the business she doesn’t usually see.

“Learning how actual shoes are made helps me understand why production takes so long and is so difficult sometimes,” she said.

Designers at E.S. Originals said they appreciated knowing more about how different raw materials can affect a shoe’s design.

“Often, designers don’t get close to these processes because we don’t work in the factories,” said Jessica Caruso, senior designer for Rampage at the firm.

As the course attendees gathered around a table piled with at least 20 leathers, Ars Sutoria instructor Paolo Marenghi encouraged them to touch, stretch and inspect each one to learn the difference in the grains of each type of animal skin. Among the samples were leathers from cows, goats, pigs and exotic creatures like alligator, seals and water snakes.

Marenghi also aimed to give serious business pointers. He stressed the importance of getting orders in to Italian leather factories on time, especially before August, when they close for a summer holiday.

The course, which ends Friday, will also examine footwear constructions such as heels, soles and materials as well as include a hands-on demonstration of pattern making and pattern measurements.

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