HRH The Duke of Cambridge joins DMU students in making shoes

HRH The Duke of Cambridge has worked with Footwear Design students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to create a pair of children’s shoes.


 GREAT OPPORTUNITY: Footwear student Charlotte Hackett and VC Prof Shellard with the Duke

He saw the bespoke shoes being handmade at the British Government’s GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai as part of a VIP tour.

During the event, to showcase the very best of British creativity, the Duke was able to punch holes into cut leather as part of a brogue design, based on a concept by third year student Bethany Roberts.

Bethany, 22, from Ruthin, North Wales, said: “I’m so happy that my shoe designs were seen by The Duke of Cambridge – what an amazing thing to be able to put on my CV when I graduate this summer and begin my career.”


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DMU footwear students' designs in Shanghai

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As well as taking part in crafting the shoes, the Duke was shown the university’s innovative Footwear Design, Contour Fashion and Game Art exhibitions.

DMU students displayed a range of designs, as well as a special children’s last – a moulded shape used by shoemakers in the manufacture of footwear. The last will be used to complete the shoes in the coming weeks.

Final year Footwear Design student Charlotte Hackett, 20, from Leicester, who helped the Duke to make Bethany’s design said: “We are always taught on our course to work to the highest standards, and to be able to show this to the Duke is fantastic.

“Being at the festival has been a brilliant opportunity. It will be extremely valuable to say to future employers that I have been demonstrating my skills at such a prestigious event.”


The DMU Footwear Design stand at the festival is showcasing the process of designing and creating a different shoe each day, live, in front of festival attendees.

HRH The Duke of Cambridge was also able to see an example of a completed men’s classic formal welted shoe, designed for the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dominic Shellard, by DMU student Vickie Thornes.

Professor Shellard, who met The Duke of Cambridge ahead of giving a keynote speech on preparing graduates for work in a global environment at the festival, alongside the CBI and BAFTA said:

“The first thing we talked about was the theme of the footwear display, the design of a quintessentially British shoe, the brogue. He showed an interest in the fact that I was wearing a pair of black brogues made by Vickie and he compared the brogues he was wearing to mine, saying his were chunkier!

“When I told him that one of our students had designed a pair of bespoke children’s shoes inspired by Prince George, he laughed and I said we would send the pair of shoes for his second birthday in July. As Charlotte Hackett showed the Duke how to punch a hole in the leather, he also joked that George had got enough holes in his shoes already.

“I told him that one of our student’s designs for a bespoke child’s shoe had been in the colours of Aston Villa, but that we had decided not to show him that, in case it reminded him of their league position! He said that actually that would have been great as he was trying to convince George to support Aston Villa.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are fantastic ambassadors for British creativity, and I am honoured that our students have been able to take part in this event during his visit.

“Our core mission at DMU is to ensure that our students are equipped with the skills to make an impact on the world, both in their future career, and in their contribution to society, and what better way to do this than give them this unrivalled experience.

“I also explained to the Duke that I was very interested in the conversation that he had had yesterday with President Xi of China about football, as DMU is very interested in exploring an International Football Academy with our local club Leicester City."


PROUD: Bethany in the Footwear Design department at DMU 

HRH The Duke of Cambridge met DMU students as part of his tour of the venue, following on from Footwear Design student Becka Hunt’s creation of a blue stiletto for the Duchess of Cambridge in 2012, when she visited the university with Her Majesty The Queen to launch the Diamond Jubilee Tour.

Emma Stubbs, a graduate in Contour Fashion who is also representing DMU in Shanghai said: “He came over to our Contour Design stand after he had spoken to Footwear Design and saw one of my drawings, and then noticed that the piece was also featured on the catwalk video playing on our stand. He commented that it was so beautiful and intricate and that Catherine would love it.”

As the UK’s only higher education partner for the festival celebrating creativity and business, DMU is exhibiting work from five subject areas: contour fashion, footwear, game art and drama, as well as the invention of the artificial pancreas.


Posted on: Wednesday 04 March 2015

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