September 12, 2017 3 min read

Hi OTBT Wanderers!

We’re excited to announce the winner of this summer’s shoe design competition! Meet Malynda Raker, Junior Fashion Merchandising student at Kent State University in Ohio, and check out her winning entry for OTBT’s 2018 Spring/Summer line!

Inspired by the need for comfortable women’s shoes with an adjustable fit, Malynda designed the top portion of our famous OTBT wedges with a stylish perforated design, and straps that could be adjusted to fit any women’s foot, no matter how wide or narrow.

Meet the winner of OTBT's Shoe Design Competition, Malynda Raker!

Here’s some questions we asked our inspiring designer about her creative process and the inspiration behind her creation.

What sparked your interest in Fashion Merchandising originally?

I’ve always had an interest in fashion pretty much since I was old enough to form opinions. It just never occurred to me until my senior year of high school that I could actually go into fashion as a college major and career. Once I realized that was an option, there was no turning back. I fell in love with the idea of working with design and business simultaneously.

What inspires and influences you and your design work?

My design work is heavily influenced by my desire to solve problems that are near and dear to my heart. For this design in particular, I was influenced by my desire for every woman to be able to feel comfortable and beautiful.

Describe your creative process.

My creative process starts by identifying either a problem that I want to solve or a message I want to convey. After many, many sketches, I try to narrow my ideas down to my favorite 2 or 3 designs and then ask the opinions of pretty much everyone I know. After that, I usually try to come up with the best combination of the feedback that I’m given as my final design..

What design tools could you not live without?

Right now, I absolutely could not live without my iPad Pro. It helps the design process go so much more smoothly than using pencil and paper!

How would you describe your style?

I would describe my design style as professional and comfortable. As I’ve said before, I want women to feel beautiful and comfortable, as well as strong and confident. I’m hoping that with this design, women can get everything out of the shoes that I intended.

Tell us about your goals for this OTBT design project, and what you hoped to achieve.

For this OTBT design project, I really wanted to design a shoe that is attainable for every woman. I wanted to come up with a design that every woman can feel comfortable and beautiful wearing. I designed a shoe that is completely adjustable at every strap to accommodate for any foot width.

What are you learning right now in your Fashion Merchandising classes at Kent State University?

At this point in my education at Kent State, my classes are really set up to prepare me for life beyond graduation. I am learning the ins and outs of the corporate fashion world as well as how to network myself with other people.

What would you like to achieve before graduation?

Before graduation, my goal is to learn as much as I can from my professors as well as my peers. I want to take full advantage of all the opportunities here at Kent State before I graduate.

What is your ultimate career goal?

At the moment, my career goal is to go into product development with a fashion company. I’d love to work closely with the design aspect as well as the business side of fashion.

As the winner of our shoe design competition, Malynda will receive a $500 cash prize as well as the opportunity to collaborate with our design team on her award-winning design for the 2018 spring and summer line, which will be presented to boutiques and shoe stores all across the U.S. at national and regional tradeshows. Pretty cool, huh?

Congratulations, Malynda! We look forward to working with you on your exciting new design for OTBT!

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