Hotshot students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) showed their flair for footwear at Graduate Fashion Week in London.
Agnieszka Hirt and Georgia Battell were shortlisted for the footwear prize at the prestigious Gala Awards Show at GFW.
And Georgia, who has just completed her degree in Footwear Design at DMU, was thrilled to be awarded first runner-up at the event, which is sponsored by shoemaking giant Clarks.
“I was completely blown away just to be shortlisted,” she said. “I’m a big fan of Clarks footwear so I was over the moon. Just to attend the Gala awards as a nominee with the likes of Victoria Beckham and Vivienne Westwood talking to us was one of those dream moments.”
Georgia, 22, from Waterford in Ireland, caught the judges’ eyes with a tweak to her final-year major project at DMU – a flat shoe called Abbie with a design influenced by the refraction of light.
“Fashion is moving forward and takes inspiration from a diverse range of areas. I wanted to focus in on a scientific concept from an artistic viewpoint.
“My collection illustrates the elegance of light and the footwear-needs of modern, on-the-go, fashion-driven women. The modern consumer buys into a brand's story, but it's the functionality and versatility of the shoes that make her invest.”
The Clarks Footwear Award – one of a string of categories at the show - was judged by Rosie McKissock, head of brand evolution at Clarks; Helen Richards Rees, senior designer at the firm, and Hannah Rochell, the acting fashion editor at the Evening Standard and writer of the En Brogue blog.
They had challenged entrants to create shoes that feel as good as they look and urged “truly innovative design and creative expression”.
Each of the shortlisted students were interviewed by the judges before the final placings were announced.
“It’s such a boost when you hear people on that level say you’re doing a great job,” said Georgia, who also paid tribute to the course that has nurtured her talent.
Come to our next DMU Open Day
Dazzling shoe designs win coveted award for DMU student
Georgia chosen to design a shoe for Baroness Lawrence
“The Footwear Design course at De Montfort University is really good because it encourages you to be creative and different and then bring your ideas back to an industry standard. It’s okay to be absolutely bonkers, but then you have to think about the market.
“I’d really like to thank my tutors, Steve Weston, Phil Stewart, Christine Davis, Michael King and Matthew Willis. They have been amazing.”
Georgia has already won recognition this year after she was chosen to design a bespoke shoe for DMU Chancellor Baroness Lawrence.
Georgia and Agnieszka were two of just six students shortlisted for the Clarks Footwear Award.
“When I found out I was shortlisted, I couldn't believe it,” said Agnieszka.
“It meant I was in the top six shortlisted out of the whole of the UK. It was a great experience for me. I’d also like to say thanks to our tutors who prepared us perfectly for the presentation.”
Agnieszka’s submission was a man’s shoe “which is less boring and more colourful” based on a theme of a bird’s eye view.
“I wanted to make the men's footwear more brightness, but still keep the casual look,” she said. “The theme allowed me to be creative and play with the colours, shapes and the materials.”
The winner was Megan Davies, a student at the University of South Wales.
Graduate Fashion Week was founded in 1991 as a showcase for next-generation talent for the creative industries.
Attracting 30,000 guests each June, the annual event features 22 catwalk shows, exhibitions from more than 40 universities.
Graduate Fashion Week has helped launch the careers of some of the most successful designers of recent years, including Stella McCartney, Julien Macdonald and Burberry bigwig Christopher Bailey MBE.
Posted on Wednesday 21st June 2017