Shoe designer to the stars finally gets to wear her student creation on graduation day


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Celebrated British footwear designer Sophia Webster collected an honorary degree from De Montfort University in a pair of shoes she first created while at university herself.

Sophia – whose iconic shoes have been worn by everyone from Kendall Jenner to Oprah Winfrey – accepted an Honorary Doctorate of Design at the final ceremony in this summer’s graduations.

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Addressing the graduands from the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities, she stood in a spectacular pair of shoes, adorned with intricate butterfly wings sprouting from the heel.

Speaking before the ceremony, Sophia said: “There’s one pair of shoes in my collection called the Chiara. They were the shoes I designed in my final year of my masters and they have been my most successful shoes to date.

“I didn’t wear them at my ceremony because they only existed as a shoe that I’d hand made and had spent about three weeks making – and I only had one – so no, didn’t get to wear them there but I am today, which is really nice.”

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Sophia is no stranger to DMU, having trained a number of footwear students on work placements and she said she enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm the students brought with them.

“I’ve had a lot of students from here that we had had do work placement and they always come with a real knowledge and a great attitude,” she said.

You can read the full citation here.

Earlier in the day there was another honorary recipient, Kemal Pervanic, a writer, human rights activist and ‘peace-builder’ whose life changed after he was interned and held in the notorious Omarska concentration camp, set up by Bosnian Serb forces in the early days of the Bosnian War.

After fleeing the camp, where hundreds died, Kemal began rebuilding his life in England and founded Most Mira, a charity whose name means ‘Bridge of Peace’ and which brings together divided communities, with a focus on young people living in Bosnia.

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Receiving his Honorary Doctor of Letters, an emotional Kemal addressed the graduands.

“Firstly, congratulation to all of you for your academic achievements,” he said. “I hope it will help you to have a great life and succeed in your chosen path in life. Having the choice to determine your own path is itself a privilege.

“You only get one shot at life. Don’t waste it.”

You can read the full citation here.

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Miles Taylor-Charlemagne, who had graduated in Drama and Creative Writing, said he had enjoyed the celebrations of the day.

He said: “I’ve been nervous but I’ve also been excited because I’m the first in my family to graduate from university.

“I’ve loved DMU. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from university it’s that it’s what I really want in life. It’s been extraordinary.

“From here I’m going to continue with my acting and I managed to publish a book, so I’m going to be working on a sequel to that.”

Posted on Monday 22nd July 2019

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