The last class consisted of small groups of students commenting on the assignments to date followed by general discussion, and brought up a number of interesting points. Several comments were made that in many cases human fit and craftsmanship are often neglected because other elements of quality are seen as more important by marketing. But it is often, if not usually the case that they can and should be improved. Several examples were in the area of fashion products and cheap knock-offs of same. The emotional and cultural aspects of such products were seen to often swamp the functional, and such things as comfort, durability, maintainability, and craftsmanship often suffer.
The case of high-heeled shoes came up, as it usually does in this course. I know women who have spent many years in jobs in which high heeled shoes were standard wear, and, like many people, gained pleasure in following the path of fashion. But they are now paying the cost of having spent so much time having their toes stuffed into an inadequate and artificially shaped container, and walking with their ankles bent at an unnatural angle. The cost includes such things as hammer toes, bunions, sore ankles and other miscellaneous foot problems.
Being a man who has never been accused of being a fashion plate, and one who would probably wobble in high heels, I don’t quite understand the love women have for Jimmy Choo and his colleagues, but I accept that many would, if properly funded, challenge the shoe collection that made Imelda Marcos famous (or infamous). In fact, I would go further and suggest that looking at history from the binding of feet through the success of en pointe in classical ballet, to the size of Barbie doll feet and the staying power of spike heels high enough to leave the foot almost vertical, some women might be happier with no feet at all, or at least smaller versions relative to the leg, such as those possessed by horses.
But I won’t go into this obviously unsophisticated male viewpoint, because I have learned that I always lose in the following discussion. To me, it seems that it should be possible to produce woman’s shoes that not only fit and otherwise do their job well (athletic shoes, boots), but that are extraordinarily beautiful, lead in fashion, and are consistent with the plumage involved in “dressing up”.
At the end of my Good Products Bad Products book is a simple matrix suggesting that products can be scored according to their success in all of the quality elements in the book. My sentiments are clear.