Footwear design competition!

Are you a Shoeperstar?

Calling all shoe lovers! We thought you’d like to know about Hush Puppies exciting new campaign for 2009.

We’re searching for the next big thing in shoes, a truly undiscovered talent, a creative person worthy to design for the global brand that is Hush Puppies!

That’s right, in April 2009 we’re launching a nationwide Shoe Design Competition where one talented winner will have their shoe manufactured and sold exclusively across the UK by high street giant Schuh. Anyone over 16 can enter and design is open to men’s and women’s categories.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with so be a Shoeperstar!

Shhhhhh! Top Secret!

April 2009: The launch of Hush Puppies ‘Design a Shoe’ Competition in association with Schuh and Heart 106.2. The competition will be open to everyone with entrants submitting their designs both online at and by post.

July 2009: Entries short-listed to 20 semi finalists and the public will be invited to vote online for their favourite designs.

September 2009: Semi finalists will be whittled down to five finalists who will have exclusive access to a mentoring process with Hush Puppies’ expert designers to refine their shoe creations, ready to present their final designs to the judging panel in October.

October / November 2009: WINNER ANNOUNCED!
Our expert judging panel will determine the competition winner and their winning design will be unveiled! Then we will celebrate their triumph in style at Hush Puppies exclusive winner’s party.

The Judges
• Emma B – drive time Heart 106.2 Radio DJ
• Rachel Fanconi - Celebrity Stylist and Guest Designer of 2008
• Nicky Shalcross – Ladies brand buyer for Schuh
• David Rist - Managing Director of Hush Puppies
• Ellspeth Robson – Hush Puppies Ladies Designer
• And a celebrity to be announced…

November 2009: The winner will then be involved in the manufacture process. Working closely with Hush Puppies and Schuh they will visit the factories and be a part of designing POS and windows for the shoe’s arrival in store in January 2010.

Let your dream shoe become a reality…
If you fancy having a go at being a shoe designer, but you don’t really know where to start, then look out for our hints and tips on our website Anyone can enter and all entries will be considered so get sketching!


nationwide? is this UK only? couldn’t see anything online with details?

It would be good to have the site online with more info before you post this though…

more info on the design brief, judging criteria, etc. would also be welcome.

Is the “prize” only getting your design produced? who owns the rights? what happens to the designs that are not chosen? All info would be greatly appreciated to differentiate the competition from an open call for spec designs (not a good thing), vs. a real design competition…

Also, judging criteria seems interesting… Is it judged by the judges (good, if a brief is set), or only online (not good - popularity contest).

Just some things to think about…



i’d just prefer to think about the fact that it looks like a lot of fun.

all this info was taken directly from the press release.

This competition IS set up through Hush Puppies UK, but it is open to people anywhere. From what i got from them it is more geared towards young and aspiring designers. Not that anyone couldn’t enter, but some of the details you asked about, design rights, actual prize etc, i think is more geared towards students, since yes the only prize would be your shoe getting made, it is not for money. and yes the design rights would belong to Hush Puppies if a design is submitted, may not be very tempting for a professional/working designer, but i think students and independent designers would love to have a chance to participate and use it as a learning experience and possible resume building opportunity. Not simply an opportunity for professional designers to make money.

Not sure what you mean about the site, the image posted above and press release contain most of the details. the site is just a means to give your contact info and be contacted with more information (probably similar to whats included above). Im assuming a brief of sorts will be given, but i wouldn’t expect it to be much more than, “design a new hush puppies shoe”. More info will be available once the contest actually launches in april.

The judging will be done by the judges listed in the post. The finalists will be posted online just to see what the public reaction to the designs are, the public will not choose the winner.

Not sure what makes a “real” competition, i guess its open to interpretation. Any other questions can be voiced and i will try and answer, or find the answer to them.

I guess perhaps it might be more targeted towards students, Still it might help to have more info… No brief? No info on what the judging criteria are? No further info on what you win?


For the students, the reward is this:

  1. if you win, you design gets produced and gets to be distributed in one of, if not THE top footwear retailer i the UK, and your name will be tied through it via the internet and possibly advertising.
  2. the finalists will get to work with professional designers, stylists, and buyers in the industry to get their designs into final production, a great learning experience that you will carry with you into the future. (keep in mind that the uk market is very different than the US so this is an opportunity to get some experience that would be hard to come by in the states, especially as a student).

when i was in college and we had sponsored projects the biggest thing that we looked forward to was the possibility of our designs getting put into production. were we getting paid… no, were we getting publicity… no, were we getting legal rights to the design… no. i think thats true for many talented students out there. So this is a great opportunity.

I will post any more information as far as a more detailed brief when available. The link allows you to also sign up to get information directly from hush puppies UK, i recommend that as well, since i am not involved first hand in this project.

Ok, I should clarify my comments. I of course mean nothing bad to anyone at Hush Puppies, or anyone who wants to enter.

I merely intended my comments as constructive criticism of how the competition is presented in the hopes that anyone who in the future sets up a similar competition might consider some of the points, to make a better competition for students, designers, the company and everyone involved.

I think competitions are a good thing for students and young designers. This is obviously not a case of asking for “free design” but an excellent opportunity. Think how much better though it could be for both the company and the designers if the brief was even more specific… Better quality entries that fit the brand and are possible to produce benefits the company. Better process and clarity in the brief produces better portfolio pieces for the designer. Everyone wins.

Hope this is all clear.


I get the feeling that we (who don’t live in the UK) are missing out on some of the information about this competition as they say they will be giving hints in the national press. Still as far as I understand, you don’t have to be a UK resident to enter, but who knows (the page is very scarce on information).

The reason there is little information is because the comp has not been launched yet - I only heard about it via our trade press. We have alot of these comps in the UK, its more about pr than anything else - there isn’t usually a proper brief as such and its usually aimed at students or those outside of the trade. More often than not the winning shoe is not produced.
Still - looks like fun and if you win, looks great in your portfolio

Just talked to the UK team about some of the details and Yes there will be a micro site which will have the brief, hints & tips, entry form – goes live 2nd April.

So hold tight, just wanted to make some of the core77 group at least aware of it. they fully intend to have the shoes produced, that is part of the reason they will be bringing the finalists together with the in house designers to make it happen. I dont think they can guarantee that it will be 100% replication of the original concept, but thats part of the business, and part of the experience as i see it.

dziner82, thanks for the advanced peak. Let me know when the micro site is up and we will get it on the c77 main page. Things like this are always a great opportunity for people.

Thanks again.


Fore sure :slight_smile:

cant wait!

the competition site is live.

Lots of information on there, the actual brief is pretty open, but if you read through the ‘tips’ from the judges you will find more useful details. I think its pretty good, gives a certain amount of direction, but also leaves enough room to be creative or try a number of things and decide what you like best.

Also, the rules or terms/conditions is quite detailed and lengthy (to make sure there is no surprises), so make sure to read through it so that everything is understood about the designs. I have only skimmed through it, but there is a contact email on the site as well if there are any questions.

I also think a particularly interesting piece of this competition is that it is based from the hush puppies UK team, and the brand has a much different audience/distribution there than it does here in the states, or elsewhere in the world, so it should make for interesting interpretations from people who are more and less familiar with the brand, past present, and future.

p.s. i am a designer for the hush puppies global line, and will try and help anyone interested if possible, but i would definitely follow whats on the site first and foremost.


Heads-up is that it seems to be UK only, despite what was mentioned earlier.

Open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and ROI, excluding employees of Wolverine Europe Limited, trading as Hush Puppies Europe (“Hush Puppies”); Mandate Communications Limited; Schuh Limited; Heart Radio; anyone professionally associated with this promotion; and all persons with whom such excepted persons are domiciled.


“Open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and ROI, excluding employees of Wolverine Europe Limited,”

So its NOT open to the rest of the world?!

also, it says in the design brief “Design any form of adult shoe, from a women’s summer sandal, to a men’s winter brogue, or even design a whole range for any season.”

but then in the rules it says “One entry will be allowed per person. An entry consists of one completed registration form accompanied by one completed design entry.”

So we can only design one shoe per entry, one entry per person. FYI

i noticed this as well.

i have checked with the rep from the UK team today. Submissions from outside of the UK area will be accepted. They did not think it would get any publicity outside those areas, based on their campaign, but they are very happy to have outside submissions. They mentioned to me that “it does not say that outside residents are not allowed to submit”, so that is the loophole i guess. I would email them directly if you have any questions or want direct verification. They said they already recieved an inquiry from a Canadian resident who plans on entering and they gave her the go-ahead.

one entry does not mean one design. if you can put a collection of shoes on an a4 sheet then thats one entry. I would go the collection route, every shoe we work on is part of a 2-5 shoe collection, so for mens there would be say 1 slip on, 1 plain toe lace up and one bike toe lace up. or for womens, 1 clog, 1 mary jane, 1 ankle boot, and 1 pump. This helps for the shoe to merchandise better in a store rather than being an ‘item’, as well as helping to cover off the manufacturing costs, 3 shoes on the same outsole will pay for the tooling faster than one shoe on that outsole. This will strengthen each individual shoe. But if you are talking about a collection as in each shoe is completely different and not related other and on separate outsoles then that would not help any of the individual designs.

below is an example of a mens collection of hush puppies shoes. The carrera was the initial design that spawned this whole group, it there hadn’t been interest in that shoe, this group would not exist, and the carrera pattern ends up not being the best seller, so that is an example how a single pattern design can drive a group. this is very common.

great info!