Innovative DMU Footwear Design students put in the spotlight at international fashion trade show

The UK’s longest running fashion trade show Moda has announced an exciting collaboration with De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) which will see final year Footwear Design students competing for a national award.

The initiative has been set up by MODA and DMU Footwear Design BA programme leader Nanette Westberg-Brown to showcase the incredible young creative talent at the university and show tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe what the future of footwear is going to look like.


Shoe design and creation by Cameron Murdoch

All 16 final year Footwear students from DMU have been invited to display their innovative designs at the show, which opens at NEC Birmingham on Sunday 5 February.

A winner will then be announced from a shortlist of nine DMU students during an awards ceremony on the opening day of the show.

Visitors will also be given the opportunity to vote for their favourite design from the 16 students. The design with the most votes will receive a Buyer’s Choice Award.

MODA - JONG KIM shoe pic main

Shoe designed and made by Jong Won Kim

Alejandra Campos, Event Director at Moda, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with DMU supporting the local talent and the future designers to the footwear industry.

“The standards are very high and the innovation and creativity from the students is inspiring. I can’t wait to see their work on display at Moda and give these incredibly talented designers the opportunity to showcase their work to a global audience.”

Shortlisted student Cameron Murdoch said: “It is all a bit surreal to be honest. I could not believe it when I was named as a finalist.

MODA - CAMERON headshot resized

Final year student Cameron has been shortlisted

“This is a great opportunity to meet people from the footwear industry. They will also be able to see our work in person, pick it up and hold it - which is so much better than seeing it on a screen.

“It is a little bit daunting knowing the industry will be looking at our work but it is also a really good thing.”

Jong Won Kim, who also made the DMU shortlist, added: “It is the first time I have had any of my designs chosen for an awards shortlist. It has given me a lot more confidence knowing the industry has chosen me to be a finalist.”

MODA - JONG KIM headshot

Jong Won Kim says being shortlisted has boosted confidence

The nine finalists are: Baldeep Nangla, known as Bobby, Woosung Kim, Gyoungryoung Kwak, known as Lynn, Cameron Murdoch, Jong Won Kim, Madison Harwood-Scott, Jemma Swales, Jihwi Ahn and Alfie Payne.

Their project brief was based on the Quagga, an ill-proportioned cross between a horse and a zebra that was native to South Africa and unfortunately hunted to extinction in the 1880’s.

The Quagga was one of nature’s hybrids that adapted its size, camouflage and natural survival capability with its surroundings.

Incredibly, the Quagga is considered to be a worthy candidate to reverse engineer its genetic make-up and therefore ‘another’ biological ‘Quagga project’ is in progress to create the breed again and hopefully re-introduce it back into the wild.

MODA - JEMMA Swales shoe

Shoe created by Jemma Swales

The Quagga evolved through specific conditions, so students were tasked to create footwear that also evolves through certain conditions and disrupts the classic creative process.

DMU Footwear Program Leader Nanette said:“The Quagga project is a unique concept that allows students to really push their design boundaries and explore niche footwear theories and innovations. The results are equally as unique as the brief!

“The work that the students have produced is a testament to their commitment of footwear studies; having started the programme during the pandemic and resulting lockdown.


Shoe designed and made by Jihwi Ahn

“They have overcome the challenges of facing reduced access to our facilities and practical prototyping, to excel in their creativity and design ideas. I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved so far, and I’m excited to see where their future careers within the industry take them.”

Nanette has already organised for the competition to be run again in collaboration with Moda for next year’s final year Footwear Design students.

During the week-long show, Moda will also present the industry’s most sought-after brands including Fly London, XTI, Refresh, Carmela, Chatham, Mustang, Alpe, Thomas Blunt, Lunar, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Anne Michelle, Top Staka, Lazy Dogz, and many more.

For further information about the show visit and  

Posted on Wednesday 11 January 2023

  Search news archive