Monochrome designs inspired by optical illusion have earned multiple awards for Stephanie Douglas, a Footwear Design student at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
Her striking collection won the Footwear and Accessory Design Award at the annual Fashanne event after wowing the judges, including fashion expert and TV presenter Patrick Grant, creative director of the Pentland Group Katie Greenyer and sourcing director at ASOS Simon Platts.
Stephanie also walked away with the People’s Choice Award, beating 37 other hopefuls with an impressive 975 votes.
The 23-year-old from Taiwan, who won a £750 cash prize with her awards, said: “I was so nervous on the day and really didn’t expect to win, but I’m very happy.
“Winning the public vote was great because I know lots of people in Taiwan got behind me - it’s a cultural thing to want your people to succeed - but it also feels fantastic knowing that industry professionals value my work.”
Award-winning Stephanie with TV presenters Patrick Grant and Anne Davies (credit Rachael Connerton Photography)
Fashanne is the only fashion awards event for final year students from universities across the East Midlands. Finalists displayed their collections in a two-day exhibition before the awards night inside the vaulted St Mary’s Church, the largest medieval building in Nottingham.
Prior to Fashanne, Stephanie’s boot and shoe collection also made an impression at the DMU Degree Show, where she scooped the Design Innovation Award from The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and an Outstanding Student Award from the university.
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Stephanie, who completed an Art and Design (Foundation Studies) before her degree, said: “After coming so close by being shortlisted for a number of awards during my four years at DMU, I finally feel I’ve earned the recognition I deserve. I’m so proud of myself for not giving up.
“My final year of my degree has been a really positive experience. I’ve always been a strong commercial designer, but pushing myself out of my comfort zone by exploring abstract ideas taught me so much and has really paid off.
“It has been the peak of my education so far.”
With different job offers on the table since her success at Fashanne, Stephanie is having to put them on hold as she prepares to embark on a Design Innovation MA.
Stephanie's striking display at the DMU Degree Show
“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to study at postgraduate level when you can get a 50 per cent discount through the Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 scholarships,” she said.
“Because I speak four languages – Taiwanese, Mandarin, English and German – and have a good understanding of both eastern and western cultures, I not only see myself as a designer.
“I think I could also have a future in fashion as a manager or a buyer. The MA will allow me to combine design and entrepreneurship, so it’s a great opportunity to explore new routes into the industry.”
Stephanie has followed in her mother’s footsteps, who studied Footwear Design at DMU thirty years ago and has enjoyed a fruitful career ever since, now designing for a German children’s brand based in Taiwan.
“I’ve been around the shoe industry since I was a baby. My goal is to become even more successful than my mum so I can make her proud,” said Stephanie.
During her time at DMU Stephanie has fully embraced university life, joining the volleyball team and becoming captain, as well as travelling to Berlin, Barcelona, Paris and Sao Paolo through #DMUglobal.
She said: “DMU has really changed in the time I’ve been here and I’m proud to be a part of that change. We have such a pretty campus, with great facilities and fantastic tutors.
“Back home I was always the odd one out because I’m half British, but I feel at home in Leicester. It’s so multi-cultural and has lots of good Chinese food too.”
Posted on Thursday 28th June 2018