Faculty Member and Alumna Nalini Arora Celebrates 17 Years as a Footwear Designer
FIDM Instructor and Alumna Nalini Arora is a global footwear and accessory design consultant for luxury and commercial brands. For the last 14 years, she has primarily focused her career in women’s fashion dress and casual footwear. Teaching at FIDM is something she hopes to continue and expand. She is also working toward building a fashion illustration business. We caught up with her to find out more.
Tell us some of the highlights of your professional experience in the industry: I’ve been working as a footwear designer for 17 years. Upon graduating FIDM’s Footwear Design program in 2001, I started working at Skechers USA as a kid’s shoe designer. I stayed in the fashion athletic/skate world for several years, and then decided I want to design women’s dress/casual footwear. I went freelance in late 2005 and have remained working as a freelance designer for the last 14 years.
I love working with different types of clients and growing my experience in various footwear categories. I also enjoy working with brands all over the world. It’s great to have the opportunity to design shoes that cost $1500, and then work on another project designing shoes for commercial brands at a $100 price point. I have also designed accessories, and recently started doing a few fashion illustration projects.
What classes at FIDM do you teach? I teach Technical Sketching for Footwear Design, Design & Technical Specification Footwear I, Design & Technical Specification Footwear II, and Collection Development.
Describe your teaching philosophy: We are working in a design studio. I am your Design Director. These are our projects, deadlines, and expectations. I want my students to feel like they are at a job and I want to give them real life experiences. The projects I give are similar projects that I’ve done at work, or projects that are relevant to today’s young generation (i.e., I like referencing influencers, music, celebrities or brands that students can relate to).
The twist to my projects versus a real job, is that I want students to exercise their creative muscles. So, I give ideas on how to creatively approach a project. I want my students to not feel scared to push boundaries and feel confident in their ideas. They will have plenty of years to design commercially at a job. I would like students to think out of the box, and push themselves creatively at school, and learn how to make these creative ideas commercial.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIDM? I love seeing students be creative. They really do inspire me. I enjoy seeing their skills grow every quarter, and watching their confidence build project after project. Most importantly, I enjoy seeing them graduate, and get jobs. I hope to be a colleague to any of them!
Follow Nalini Arora on IG @lashoegirl.