DMU footwear students named in country's top 15 designers

Five Footwear Design students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been named in the country’s top 15 young designers, following a prestigious awards ceremony.


From left to right, DMU's Hyunjin Yoon, Claire O'Connor, Doey Kim, Ella Luker and Adele Williamson

The Cordwainers’ National Footwear Student of the Year Awards were hosted in style in front of 250 people - including industry professionals and British shoe designer Sophia Webster - celebrating the next generation of outstanding design talent.

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, dating back to the late middle ages, launched the awards in 2014 in order to support the future of the shoe industry and to celebrate and encourage young footwear talent.

DMU’s Claire O’Connor took third prize for her design inspired by the Information Age exhibit at London’s Science Museum.

She studied old telephones set in wooden boxes and wires connecting switchboards, saying: “My design has a solid wooden heel with wires joining it to the upper body, conveying a sense of connectivity.”


Claire's award-winning design scooped third prize

Claire, who is planning to spend some much-needed quality time with her two-year-old son and partner after graduating this summer, said: “I’m still in shock really. I literally can’t believe it.

“I didn’t go there with illusions of winning anything as the other 14 students are so talented. I was just delighted to be selected in the top 15 designers in the country.

“I feel so privileged to have experts decide that my work is good enough for industry. It’s a great end to my DMU journey and an even better start to the beginning of my next journey after university.”

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A proud Claire posing with her award on the night

Doey Kim, an international DMU student from South Korea, walked away with a commendation for her pewter design, which explored capturing and immortalising special life moments.

She said: “I was dazed that I was the first person being called. But soon I was so happy and almost crying.

“Even though I was not selected for one of the top three prizes, I was excited to be selected as one of the top five in the country.”

Doey hopes to slowly build up her own brand once she returns home to Seoul.

DMU’s Ella Luker, Adele Williamson and Hyunjin Yoon were also named in the country’s top 15 young designers.


The emotional moment Doey received her commendation

The awards ceremony included an exhibition of the work of the 15 student finalists, five each from DMU, the University of Northampton and the University of the Arts London.

Their work was judged by a panel of experts including Guy West, co-founder of men’s footwear brand Jeffery-West, footwear designer Atalanta Weller, and Katie Greenyer, Creative Director at Pentland Brands.

Steve Weston, Head of Footwear Design at DMU, said: “With our wealth of talent, it’s a pity we could only choose five students to enter, but they all did a great job and the results reflect their hard work and original thinking.”

Posted on Tuesday 14th June 2016

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