Student’s design to hit the high street

14 November 2019

Trainers created by a product design undergraduate will be on sale in 2020

A pair of trainers designed by a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student will hit the high street in 2020.

The stylish footwear created by product design undergraduate James Grearson will be available to buy from retailers thanks to a live project with design agency 2Squared.

Creative designs by fellow students India Morris and Aroon Yousef were also chosen as competition winners.

As part of their second-year studies, the trio and their classmates were asked to design new trainers to appeal to three audiences – trends driven, low budget and for the Champion brand. 

Between January and May, the students worked on design concepts that were aesthetically appealing, which integrated footwear technology and were able to be mass produced within an agreed budget.

From all the designs on show, 2Squared’s Matt Houghton, a UCLan graduate, and Adam Browne, Champion’s UK Footwear Brand Manager, selected James, India and Aroon’s creations.

James, from Whitehaven, scoped out high end trainers as research for his winning trends driven design. The 21-year-old said: “I went to Manchester to visit the expensive shops as I was looking to design a product to retail around £200. I saw what was on the market at that price, took lots of photos and then developed my ideas from there.”  

"I was really shocked to win but it’s brilliant to know that when I graduate in summer I can go out into the industry already having had my product on the shelves."

His trainer will be available on ASOS and tReds in early spring/summer next year.

He said: “I was really shocked to win but it’s brilliant to know that when I graduate in summer I can go out into the industry already having had my product on the shelves.”

Twenty-four-year-old Aroon, from Manchester, created the trainer in the £40 to £80 price bracket. He said: “I’m a huge fan of the ‘sneaker culture’, I’ve always loved the technology used in them, for example Nike’s Air Bubble, so to be able to make my own was great. Winning the competition is brilliant.”

India Morris, from Wigan, focussed her attention on designing a fashionable runner style trainer for sports brand Champion. The 20-year-old added: “It was a really interesting project because it involved so many aspects of research and design. I’m delighted with the end result and it’s given me so much confidence to know I’ve designed a winning trainer.”

Now in their final year of their studies at the Preston Campus, the three designers recently visited the Manchester-based design studio to collect a sample of their finished products.

2Squared’s Matt Houghton, Lead Footwear and Accessories Designer, added: “This is quite a personal project for me, as I remember doing this project when I studied on my undergraduate, and it was a turning point in my degree as I knew I wanted to follow my passion for footwear in a master’s degree and as career.

“It would have been amazing to have seen designs from then made, so I wanted to give back to the course and offer my knowledge and resources to help the students get a physical sample made and get the sample in front of the correct people who could put it in stores. It was a successful project and well received in the business.”

Picture caption: The three students receiving their samples from UCLan graduate Matt Houghton, 2Squared’s Lead footwear and accessories designer, and Adam Browne, Champion UK Footwear Brand Manager.