Footwear Design Award

“Watch our Steps!”

The best footwear graduation works from around the globe

This year’s Dutch Design Week – from October 20-28 in Eindhoven – will include the groundbreaking exhibition ‘Watch our Steps’ featuring the most innovative and
inspiring footwear graduation works of the past 3 years, from 15 different academies from all over the world. This is the first edition of what will be an annual event,
organized by SLEM, a new innovation and education center for footwear, based in Waalwijk, The Netherlands, and in Guangzhou, China. According toNicoline van
Enter, SLEM’s creative director, the exhibition is a trend forecast as such, giving insight into future style themes, new technologies and sustainable ideas.

SLEM’s debut
SLEM will fill the gap in the market for specialized footwear training, offering courses and workshops not only for students, but also for professionals who are
looking to brush up on their knowledge, for instance about new production technologies and sustainability. Classes will be provided both online and offline and
will be given by teams of expert teachers from around the world. Design graduates aspiring to be professional footwear designers for the industry can take an
intensive 6-month Masterclass, which includes traineeships and real assignments for reputed brands. Furthermore, SLEM connects educational and research
facilities, from universities to museums, developing and preserving knowledge about footwear.

Participating Academies
15 design academies from all over the world have gladly agreed to showcase their best graduation works at ‘Watch our Steps’. The shoes on display will be from
Stedelijke Academie St. Niklaas (Belgium), Guangzhou Panyu Polytechnic (China), Wetterhoff (Finland), Deutsche Schuhfachschule (Germany), Polimoda (Italy),
Bunka Fashion College (Japan), Hiko Mizuno (Japan), ArteZ (The Netherlands), De Montfort University (UK), London College of Fashion (UK) and
Royal College of Art (UK). Never before have works from such a big selection of different academies been shown together. A ‘Footwear Design Year Book’ offering
background information on all participants and their inspiration, including works that could not be shown physically, will accompany the exhibition.

Visitors of DDW can participate in various workshops, covering a range of subjects, from sustainability in footwear to tips and tricks on how to effectively promote
your work to investors and employers. The full schedule will be published soon on

Global Footwear Design Award
SLEM will award the best graduate with the Global Footwear Design Award, a very constructive prize that offers tailor made training and consulting, worth € 1500,
so the winner can make a head start in the footwear business. The decision will be based upon a public vote among the audience of Dutch Design Week and the
judgement of a professional jury, consisting of renowned shoe designers Jan Jansen, Charles Bergmans, and René van den Berg, forecaster Bea de Roo, owner of
the Virtual Shoe Museum, Liza Snook and curator of the Dutch Shoe and Leather Museum, Inge Specht. Chairwoman of the jury is Victoria Koblenko, actress,
presenter and footwear addict.

The winner will be announced during a special Award Night on October 26, from 20:00-22:30. This will be an inspiring event, with guest lectures from
René van den Berg and Diane Becker, design consultant for Camper Footwear. The full program will be announced soon on Tickets for the
Award Night are €25; availability is limited, so please register soon on our website!

We will keep you posted on the winner of this years “Footwear Design Award”, so check back soon on

In Shoes We Trust!


Aku Backstrom -


Manami Sato – Hiko Mizuno College of jewelry – Shoemocracy


Lotta Astrid ->


Daisuke Horie




Netta Makkonen – London College of Fashion


Lieke de Koning ->


Takuya Takizawa – Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry


Tariq Mahmoud ->


Aku Backstrom -


Yunae Song – Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry


Kaori Suzuki



Deniz Terli ->


SLEM Team: Nicole van Enter, Kiki Starrenburg, Anouk Huijgens, Indi van Bijnen, Richenny “Ryfa” Felicia