Brands Behind the Scenes: Footwear Design at ASOS
Last month, we headed out to Mornington Crescent to visit Megan Johnson, one of our FRA Industry Mentors and Established Footwear Designer at ASOS. She told us the inside story on working for ASOS, designing shoes and how she supports FRA students!
You can watch the full video on YouTube now, and catch up with the rest of Season 1 of Brands Behind the Scenes. Season 2 is coming soon!
How did you get into fashion?
I moved to London at 18. I knew I wanted to get into fashion, so I did an art foundation at London College of Fashion. I didn’t want to design clothes, so I went down a more product development/product design route: accessories, jewellery, footwear, bags. I got onto the Cordwainer’s Footwear course and that was it!
What was your first footwear project?
We did a project at uni for Topshop in my second year. They gave me an internship in the summer, and then they employed me!
Tell us about where you’ve worked…
I was at Topshop for 3.5 years, then I went to Zara. I’ve been at Office, Kurt Geiger, and then came to ASOS! I’ve been here for about a year.
What's it like being a footwear designer at ASOS?
It’s really exciting! ASOS is great because you’ve got loads of different customers and lots of options to design into. You can do a bit of everything: some really cool stuff, commercial stuff, girly stuff, glam stuff…
What does your day-to-day look like?
It depends, it’s quite different on a day-to-day basis! You can be doing trend work, or designing, or you can be doing more technical stuff. Sometimes we’ll need to do fittings for the footwear and work on the technical side of things. We also have big meetings where we sign the product off, building ranges together with all our samples. It’s quite varied, it doesn’t get boring!
What is the hardest part of your job?
As a designer, probably when not everything you’ve created gets into the range! Sometimes you love something, but it might not be as commercial as another piece. Then they’ll go with the commercial option.
It makes sense, but it's something that can take a long time to get used to! As you get more experienced, you get used to it. You get joy out of designing the commercial stuff as well, not just the cool stuff!
And the best part?
It’s fun; it’s really fun! It’s so varied, especially at ASOS, you get to do some cool stuff. I love shoes as well which helps!
What’s the best project you have worked on?
ASOS has lots of venture brands like Weekend Collective, Collusion etc. For footwear, we get to do collaborations with the venture brands. That’s always exciting because they’ve got very specific handwriting. You might get to design something that maybe wouldn’t work in the main range. That’s a highlight of working at ASOS.
In terms of my career highlight, I worked at Topshop when we did London Fashion Week. I worked on Topshop Unique, which was amazing!
Tell us about your role as an FRA industry mentor…
I had two mentees! I would speak to them every few weeks and catch up about how they were getting on. I’d answer their questions, give them industry advice and share my experiences. I sometimes looked at their work with them, helping them with big projects like their FMPs.
Why should you work for ASOS?
It’s such an exciting place to work! It’s progressive as a company; they’re relevant and constantly trying to push creative ideas. They’re also very design-focused, which is amazing as a designer! The team’s massive so you can learn from so many different functions.
Watch the full video with Megan on our YouTube now, and keep an eye out for Season 2 of Brands Behind the Scenes!