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Calling all UK students! Get your designs brought to life

Footwear brand Melissa is giving you the chance with its NEXT competition

Footwear label Melissa has strived to do things differently since it launched way back in 1979. Through seriously inventive uses of modern tech, its designs transform plastic into high fashion, making the label sustainable and cruelty-free without sacrificing creativity. Collaboration has always been at the core of its ethos; from punk provocateur Vivienne Westwood to radical visionary Rei Kawakubo, a slew of the fashion industry’s most influential names have had their skills enlisted by Melissa over the last four decades.

Now, the brand is looking for a new collaborator, and it could be you. If you’re a UK student looking to break into the notoriously unforgiving creative industries, the recently-launched Melissa / NEXT competition could be your ticket to success. Conceived to spotlight up-and-coming visionaries, the contest invites designers to submit their concepts, showcase their skills and win the rare opportunity to work with an established international brand. Not just limited to footwear, accessory submissions are also encouraged. 

The competition opens up for entries on April 12 and runs until June 3, so there’s plenty of time to come up with a concept and showcase your skills. Not only will the winning designer be given a £5,000 prize, they’ll also be paid royalties from the resulting product – which will be sold internationally – and flown to Brazil to see their vision being manufactured. 

The initiative also ties into the brand’s wider desire to make creative industries more accessible and nurture DIY creativity. These will be the themes of a panel talk held at Protein Studios in Shoreditch to officially launch the competition this week, chaired by Dazed’s own arts & culture editor Ashleigh Kane. Conceived as a way to pass tips on to young visionaries looking to create without compromise, the event will see Kane speak to experienced panelists Osman Ahmed, a renowned fashion writer, Tori West, founder of Bricks Magazine, and Claire Yurika Davis of London-based latex label HANGER about what it means to navigate the tricky worlds of art, design and fashion.

The Melissa NEXT competition launches at 7pm on April 12 with a panel discussion moderated by Ashleigh Kane at Protein Studios. Tickets are available at here. More information on how to enter will follow on the brand’s official website.

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