Above the Fold: Rose Jones, Senior Footwear Designer
In Above the Fold, we spotlight individual members of Coroflot's vibrant creative community. The idea is to take you behind the scenes and inside the minds of talented Coroflot members who we think are doing exceptional work. Coroflot was created by designers, for designers, and Above the Fold is the place where we can talk to creatives about work that we not only love, but think you'll love too!
To say Rose Jones knows about shoes might be putting it lightly. The Los Angeles Footwear Designer has spent over two decades working for high-profile companies like UGG, Cole Haan, Nine West, and Clarks. These days Rose works as a Senior Footwear Designer for Toms, which has become one of one of the world's most iconic shoe brands while still maintaining an image of hipness. Given Rose's vast experience in the footwear industry and her highly original style, we had to ask her some questions about her professional work and creative inspiration.
Was there a specific moment in life where you realized you wanted to pursue a creative path?
There has never been a time when I didn't think I would be anything but a designer. I would create catalogs and fashion magazines as young as 9 or 10 and get my sisters to select what they would wear from them.
Who are your design heroes?
Lucienne Day, Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell, Yves St Laurent, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marc Jacobs, Paul Rand.
Can you share some details about your most recent project?
I have been leading the footwear design team at Toms for the past three years. We are a young company, known for one iconic pattern, and my job has been to evolve the collection into something new yet still true to the brand's ethos of easy, uncomplicated, Californian casual style.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
I'm very excited about creating the best shoes for travel. The spirit of Toms is for adventure and travel and we are looking at ways of making compelling designs with the lightest yet most durable components. I'm always excited about marrying functionality with style!
Walk us through some of your process for creating.
I always start with the customer. I'm constantly thinking about what she is into and what she will be wanting to wear in a few more seasons. I start there and then it is an instinctive feeling when it comes to selecting the best silhouettes to go after. From there defining the last shape, upper pattern and materials all sort of comes at the same time.
Are there any projects (professional or personal) that you are especially proud of?
I am very proud of my contributions at Red or Dead in the '90s because we were a small company making a big impact. I had a lot of creative freedom and my ideas sold well and were often copied by bigger brands. I am also proud of a simple sandal I designed at Nine West, which 10 years later is still a top seller making millions of dollars. I often see it walking around and that makes me very proud! It's not the most innovative thing I've ever designed but it appealed to such a huge market. I am blown away by its success!
What tools (physical or digital) do you find yourself using repeatedly?
My all time fave is the Pilot DR Drawing pen; 0.8 for outlines and 0.5 for stitch rows! Of course these days I use Illustrator more than anything but nothing beats hand drawn for showing movement and emotion
Do you have a ritual for getting in work/design mode (music you listen to, certain exercise, food you eat) aka a productivity tip?
Unlike most designers, I cannot work to music! I love music so much that there is no way I can concentrate on the job and ignore the lyrics and melody going on around me! If I have a lot of sketches to get through I start early and work in silence. The best advice I ever got was from a tutor who made us have regular breaks. If you don't take a break away from your work and come back to look at it with a fresher eye then you are not going to do your best work. You have to get up at some point and walk away from it. You have to switch off.
Outside of your professional life, do you have any other creative outlets or hobbies?
I've always loved Mid Century textiles, prints and ceramics, and have collected quite a few bits. I also draw cartoons or characters I have either made up or seen. I had a blog going for a while about silly SoCal girls while I was freelancing for Ugg, of course! When I'm describing a funny situation, I have always found it better to express it through a cartoon. I have been doing this since I was about 5!
Do you have any tips for getting the most out of your Coroflot portfolio?
Feed it! It's good for the soul to get your work together and review and edit. Better to share your work on social media than a photo of your dinner.