Shoe guru Jimmy Choo visits DMU's footwear students

Two Footwear Design graduates from Leicester’s De Montfort University (DMU), were given the chance of a lifetime to show their designs to the world’s greatest shoe guru and a final year student has also won a day working with him.

Isabel Proctor and Ian Burgess, who both graduated from DMU this summer, presented their work to celebrity shoe designer Professor Jimmy Choo OBE, who visited the University to give first-hand advice to past and present students keen to get into the footwear industry.

Jimmy Choo
DMU’s unique BA (Hons) Footwear Design course is the only specialist footwear degree in the UK and has won support from Jimmy Choo, who also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University.

Jimmy explained why he was willing to give the masterclass for DMU’s students: “Education is very important. It is very important that everyone understands how much education makes a difference.”

Isabel, 22, originally from Newark, Nottinghamshire, showed four items of footwear from her final major project, Victorian Romance.

Since graduating DMU with first class BA (Hons) degree in Footwear Design, Isabel has been working for footwear company Unito, in Leicester.

She added: "It has been really exciting to meet Jimmy Choo. I feel extremely honoured to have been able to show some of my own work to such a highly regarded and well known footwear designer.

"Eventually I aspire to have my own small shoe design company, specialising in high quality women’s and men’s shoes, and fashionable footwear for those who have problem feet and require bespoke fitting shoes."

Ian, who is now working as an intern at Georgina Goodman in London, showed three designs from his final year collection.

Having also graduated with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Footwear Design, Ian hopes to one day own his own shoe brand.

He said: “Meeting Jimmy Choo today has given me a real insight into the world of the footwear industry and how to make it as a successful designer.

A final year BA (Hons) Footwear Design student, I Cheng Lin (Nikki) has also won a full-day workshop at The Jimmy Choo Couture House on Connaught Street in London, where she will spend the day with Jimmy himself.

Nikki, originally from Taiwan, said: “It hasn’t really sunk in yet that I am going to spend a day with one of the world’s most iconic shoe designers. This is an opportunity any aspiring footwear designer would dream of, so I’m really thrilled that I have been given the chance to gain first-hand experience from someone who has been so successful within the industry.

Jimmy Choo added: “We want to give Nikki the idea how of the whole process of couture works from start to finish. We will show her what is important with the care of the client, and right through every stage of design and creating.”

The winner was chosen for promise shown in footwear design and exemplary studentship.

Dr Gerard Moran, Dean of Faculty of Art and Design added: “We know that our students are among the best in the world at what they do. So it’s truly inspiring for them to have the chance to meet someone who is known across the globe for his achievements in footwear and couture.”

Fashion designer Karen Millen who also attended today’s event, commented: “Jimmy Choo has been very inspirational for the students who heard him, and for all of us who heard his masterclass. He has given a real insight into his work and he is such a huge personality. He is a genius!”

His made-to-order designs include an extensive range of bespoke handmade women’s shoes, which are favoured by international stars worldwide, including the late Princess Diana.