Amy Eschner's Design Career Inspired By Desire To Help Others With Foot Disabilities
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada and raised in nearby Boulder City, Amy Eschner came to FIDM in part because of a birth defect that resulted in the loss of most of her fingers and toes. Growing up, Amy had a difficult time finding shoes that fit, so she decided to become a designer who could help others with foot disabilities and express her own creativity at the same time. Since receiving degrees in Fashion Design and Footwear Design & Development from FIDM, she’s done just that. Amy is currently a Footwear Designer at Yellow Box Shoes, based in Orange County, California. We recently chatted with her to learn more about her exciting career.
How did you come to study Footwear Design & Development? I’ve always been artistic and knew I wanted to do something different and fun as a living, and a shoe designer seemed like the perfect fit. My goal is to design fun, attractive shoes while keeping in mind that people have foot disabilities and might need a little extra thought when designing functionality. I hope to help people to just embrace the things that make them different, and for people with unique toes or feet, a great pair of shoes can really boost your confidence. I looked into any school that had a footwear program. As a Vegas girl, I knew I couldn’t handle New York weather and decided on sunny LA.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned at FIDM? FIDM taught me how to manage and maximize my time in the most efficient way possible. I worked a full-time job while in school, which left me with much less time for homework and projects than other students. I learned how to focus and push through to make deadlines on time.
Tell us about your role as a Footwear Designer at Yellow Box. At Yellow Box we have a design team of three. When designing for Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter, we’ll start by looking at trends for the upcoming season, as well as the past season, for inspiration. We’ll go shopping to see what’s on display and what people are actually buying. Once we have an idea of the top trends, colors, fabrications, and constructions, we start submitting our diagrams/specs to our factories in China. Once most of the line has been sent, we fly to China to visit the factories and to see our prototypes. While there we shop the fabric and leather markets and that’s when the collection comes to life.
What do you love most about working in footwear? I love watching something from my imagination come to life.
What advice would you share with someone who wants to do what you do? You need to be open-minded to change and open to criticism. Your design team or co-workers are your soundboard and sometimes they might have a suggestion that betters your design in a way you couldn’t see. There is no room to get your feelings hurt over someone not liking your idea. It will happen over and over and the ultimate goal is to have your design sell once it reaches the market. Take in the ideas, the suggestions and the criticisms, it’s all so that you become a better designer.