Students walk off with top prizes for their shoe designs at Graduate Fashion Week

Catwalk Champs! Two De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Footwear Design students walked off with top prizes for their shoe designs at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week (GFW).

Dimitri Gabellier and Keri Thornton were among the 23 names revealed at the Gala Catwalk Awards last night, which celebrated the fashion world’s Talent of Tomorrow.

Dimitri won the YKK Accessories Award for his incredible design for a sports shoe, inspired by the Hojojutsu, the traditional Japanese martial art of restraining a person using cord or rope. He also came second in the Cordwainers’ Footwear Student of the Year award.

Keri Thornton

Keri scooped the top prize in the Clarks Footwear Award, which celebrates the perfect combination of innovative design and functionality.

Judges were Clarks’ footwear designer Keabetswe Masalila, director of footwear at WGSN Claire Foster and Hannah Rochelle, creative director and founder, En Brouge.

“I can’t believe it,” said Keri. “I’m so excited to be the winner.”

Keri said the experience of GFW had been incredible. She added: “I’m just looking for graduate opportunities and really getting to grips with the whole industry from ideas, concepts and meeting new people.”

Dimitri’s futuristic design included his own BOA lacing system from scratch and incorporated springs in the sole, to imitate a hydraulic system. He also collaborated with Sheima Seiki, a leader in computerised flat knitting technology, to design the shoe's upper component.

He said: “My experience at Graduate Fashion Week has been incredible, it was amazing to see everyone else’s designs, and I have been here from 9am to 7pm. everyday, but the hard work has paid off!

“I am really happy about being here. I am not normally that confident about talking to lots of people about my work. I have learned more about promoting my designs in two days than I have in the last five years!”

YKK award1

More than 150 judges joined the four day event to decide the winners, including new lifetime patron Dame Zandra Rhodes, and GFW ambassador Christopher Raeburn.



Posted on Thursday 6 June 2019

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