Oded Arama is a 33 years old designer from Tel Aviv, Israel. In the following interview you can read about his way of becoming a shoe designer and founding his own brand ARAMA.
How did you get to study in London?
As I was about to obtain my B. Des degree in Fashion design from the Shenkar College in Israel, I was working with a shoemaker in Tel Aviv to help me create the shoes for my womenswear collection. I was absolutely amazed by the creative process for the shoes and its beautiful outcome, and just had the feeling it was only the beginning of something much greater.
Months later I travelled to London for a very exciting internship in fashion studio “Preen”, where I had the privilege of being part of the creative process for the spring/summer 2009 collection.
Later that summer, I applied for a footwear diploma at Cordwainers’ College in London College of Fashion and had an amazing experience learning the craft of shoemaking where legends such as Georgina Goodman, Rupert Sanderson, Nicholas Kirkwood and Jimmy Choo made their first steps in the footwear arena.
Was that a dream of yours, because the school is really good?
I guess I have always been drawn to shoes. Starting at the age of 5 when I first watched a short TV film about the industrial shoemaking process. I always found the way a shoe is made to be magical.
The way a piece of fine leather, an insole, a shank and beautiful sole can transform into a gorgeous three-dimensional object. Beautiful to view on it’s own and even more on the wearer. A shoe can transform a look from casual to elegant in seconds, as well as our posture and walk.
I have actually planned on going on my first footwear academic adventure before going to study fashion design in 2003. At the time, it felt like I needed an overview of fashion design before I make up my mind. I have learnt a great deal doing my BA in fashion, and till this day I use the great tools I have been so fortunate to receive during that time.
Studying at Cordwainers’ College was ‘a dream come true’ for me. Their facilities allow the students a unique opportunity to study and practice the principals of shoemaking to the highest levels.
When did you decide to start a shoe brand?
I started to realize my dream while studying in Cordwainers’ College surrounded by many talented individuals who came to London from different places in the world with many dreams and hopes. Many of us used to have our ‘coffee talks’ about our plans for the future.
Later, on a vacation to Israel, as I was traveling through the amazing landscape of Israel, I felt connected. Finally, I realized my dream – opening a luxury footwear brand for men, based in the city of Tel Aviv.
What do young people need to know if they think about becoming a shoe designer?
Well, first of all they should really like shoes, not only as a consumer but also from the design aspect of it. Also upon stepping into the design world, they should realize designing shoes, starting at the research all the way through sample making, prototyping, and later production and distribution is taking a very long time. Therefore, you should really enjoy the design process equally as you enjoy the final shoes.
What was the biggest challenge?
Launching a footwear brand is very challenging. Life brings upon challenges every single day.
Anything from branding aspects, production, working with suppliers and factories is a big challenge.
The most important thing is to have faith and take any challenge knowing you can and will handle it.