Recent Footwear Design & Development Grad Launches Career at Skechers
Born and raised in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Andrew Barrelet moved to Los Angeles in the fall of 2017 to pursue the dream he’d had since high school: working in the footwear industry. Since graduating in 2019 with a degree in Footwear Design & Development from FIDM, he’s gone on to work at Skechers as a Product Coordinator.
What was your path to FIDM? When I began looking toward college, I knew I didn't want to waste time or money going to a standard four-year degree program with requirements that I didn't feel would help towards my goal. I attended our local community college and continued my search for a school that met my aspirations. Many universities and colleges recommended I double major in Product Development and Fashion Design, but that wasn't what right for me.
While searching through the web for alternative schooling that I could see aiding me in getting my ‘foot in the door' to the footwear industry, I stumbled upon FIDM and their new Footwear Design & Development Program. After many sketches and mulling over my design application I was finally happy and submitted my application. I received a call a few weeks later that I had been accepted.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned at FIDM? I learned a lot of very valuable lessons both in and out of the classroom. What I found most valuable is that a big part of college, especially at a school like FIDM, is that you must make the most of your experience. You get out of it as much as you are willing to put into it. I found this to be one of the great things about FIDM because they offer so many additional activities. I was a Social Ambassador from my first week at FIDM, which allowed me to make many amazing connections both within the FIDM community and in the fashion industry.
Tell us about your role as a Product Coordinator at Skechers. As Product Coordinator at a large, growing company like Skechers, I deal with many responsibilities. However, my day-to-day mostly consists of tracking sales reports and being involved in each step of our commercialization process. We track those reports so that we know what types of new products we can develop to help fit our customers need based on what we see is currently selling and evolve the product keep on trend.
I communicate with the factories on each and every sample from the beginning of our development process all the way to confirming the final sample. I also communicate with our factories and developers daily to ensure that every level of detail in the commercialization process is accounted for, from fitting to the materials to even cost of materials and the box design. As a Product Coordinator your role in production is very important, making sure all details are accounted for no matter how big or small.
What do you love most about working in footwear? I love working in the footwear industry for many reasons but there is one that tops it all for me: being able to walk down the street or into a store and say "I did that" or "I helped create something that is both fashionable and functional." Footwear is part of everyday use and not everyone may notice or realize how much work goes into its production; it’s subtle yet has a large daily impact.
What advice would you share with someone who wants to do what you do? My best piece of advice is to take it one shoe at a time. The footwear industry is made up of a lot of moving parts, from design to the construction of the shoe and even sales. The full circle of shoes takes a lot more than meets the eye.