DMU student invited to exclusive Milan luxury trainer launch

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student Julia Lebosse enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to one of the world’s fashion capitals, courtesy of luxury sportswear brand Moncler.

The 20-year-old from Basingstoke was one of 50 fashion and design influencers invited to the launch of Moncler’s new Trailgrip collection of trainers at its headquarters in Milan, Italy.


“I thought it was spam at first. An all-expenses-paid trip to Milan? It sounded too good to be true,” said Julia. “Once I did my research though and I found it to be a legitimate offer, I was very excited.”

Moncler’s new Trailgrip GTX trainer currently retails at £540 and has been designed by Nathan VanHook, who has led collaborations with celebrities including Kanye west while working as Nike’s senior footwear creative director.

For the launch, the fashion giant transformed rooms within its headquarters to mimic the terrain you may experience while on a hike, allowing the invitees to get a chance to really test the new trainer out. One room was filled with rocks and pebbles, similar to that on a mountain, while the other was filled with a grass surface.

 “The Moncler team worked hard to make the launch as immersive as possible. First, they showed us the design journey, with every component of the shoe laid out in front of us and some of next season’s items being designed.

“The Tailgrip is a super heavy shoe but they’re really comfortable. It’s not a trainer that you have to wear in, it just feels comfy to walk in straight away – they are really good on the terrains we tried.”

Julia, who studies Fashion Buying with Marketing at DMU, has turned her passion for trainers into an online platform to celebrate female designers and raise awareness of the inequalities in the industry.

She founded Sneakers By Women in the 2020 lockdown and has since amassed nearly 13,000 followers on her Instagram page. Among them is Nathan VanHook, who hired designer Elisa Ella Payer after seeing her work showcased on Julia’s blog.

The new GTX Trailgrip trailer

Julia said: “To know that my work has helped a designer secure a job at Moncler is quite an incredible feeling. Sometimes you can forget that your work can make a big difference to someone somewhere.

“I actually got to speak to Nathan while I was out there and he was such a fan of the blog that it was possibly the reason I was invited out to Milan.

“He told me to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s having an impact and helping a lot of women in the sneaker industry get their designs out there.”

For the next academic year, Julia will be looking to grow the Sneakers By Women platform by developing a business model through DMU’s Enterprise Placement Year.

The initiative replaces a traditional placement year and grants five students the opportunity to start or expand their own business ideas through one-to-one mentorship and unrivalled access to the DMU Entrepreneurship team.

Each student will receive a £3,000 cash boost to help kickstart their commercial ideas as well as have the opportunity to attend workshops, guest lectures and networking events throughout the city.

“The Enterprise Placement Year has really come at the right time because I feel Sneakers By Women is gaining momentum and I want to take the year to make the most out of what I’ve created. Social media moves so fast, so I want to take it on and evolve it from something purely online to something more tangible.

“Having workshops and more in-person events – perhaps panels or partnerships with brands – will help the business grow. I’m looking forward to having that year to invest solely into my business.”

Posted on Thursday 22 September 2022

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