Footwear students have the trip of a lifetime and boost their career prospects in Shanghai

Students returning from the trip of a lifetime have been describing how their degree at DMU has brought them amazing experiences and career-boosting opportunities.

The UK Government’s GREAT Festival of Creativity gave some talented DMU students the opportunity to showcase their skills and interact with business people on a global stage.


Number 10 Downing Street selected DMU to represent the creativity and innovation of British education to a global audience, as part of the GREAT festivals. 

And at GREAT in Shanghai last week, two talented Footwear Design students had the opportunity to create bespoke shoes with a little help from HRH the Duke of Cambridge. Third year Charlotte Hackett and part-time student David Benbow were demonstrating the process of creating a tailor-made shoe  in front of the international audience and some of the world’s press at the three-day festival.

Joined on day two by the HRH Duke of Cambridge as they created red children’s shoes in a brogue design, Charlotte helped the Duke to punch a hole in the leather as part of the process.

Charlotte said: “It was a good opportunity to meet people in the business, to have to present yourself in a professional way and be able to represent the university.

“Having the chance to meet the Duke of Cambridge and demonstrate my passion for footwear was both petrifying and buzzing!

“I also had the opportunity to see Shanghai in a personal way with new friends. We had a great team and made friends for life.”

David, who works for renowned shoemaker Cheaneys, as well as studying part time at DMU, said: “My overall experience in Shanghai at the festival has been a real eye opener. I have gained knowledge through interactions with businesses and how they represent themselves at events like this.

“This will be a big gain for the students as we will need to know how to represent our future employers.

“It was nice to meet other design representatives and to learn what they were personally trying to gain from the event, which led to couple of collaboration opportunities for the university.”

David continued: “From a personal perspective, it has been amazing to see what Shanghai has to offer and I feel that this opportunity has built up my confidence through independent and group activities.

“Thank you to all the staff and students who made this a great experience, many memories have been gained.”

Each day, Charlotte and David created a different shoe in front of festival goers – with one day based on shoes designed for the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Dominic Shellard.

The men’s formal shoes were designed for Professor Shellard as part of a competition to create custom-made footwear.

Professor Shellard took his favourites, pairs of navy patent and black brogues by Footwear Design students Victoria Thornes and Bethany Charlotte Roberts, out to Shanghai to display, as well as shoes created from Andrew Gibson’s Queens Park Rangers FC design.

Celebrated shoemaker Rupert Sanderson, who visited DMU’s footwear stand at GREAT, was impressed by the way that DMU taught the process of making footwear by hand; from the design through to cutting the leather, to the stitching and completion.

Philip Stewart, a DMU lecturer who accompanied the students to Shanghai, said: “The festival was a fantastic opportunity to network with other leaders of British creativity.

“I am very proud of both Charlotte and David for demonstrating their footwear design skills to such high standards in front of an international audience.”

The university's award-winning footwear students have showcased their work alongside renowned designers including Jimmy Choo, and have designed shoes for the UK's most recognisable fashion icon, the Duchess of Cambridge.

DMU was selected as sole education partner for the festival which celebrated creativity and business, and showcased the very best of British innovation. Other festival partners included top companies such as HSBC, BBC Worldwide, Jaguar Landrover, PwC, and British Airways.

DMU showcased work from five subject areas: footwear design, contour fashion, game art and drama, as well as the artificial pancreas.

Posted on Monday 9th March 2015

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