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Gola's Next Generation

We chat to design competiton winner Jennifer Brook about her collection for the sportswear giant

Celebrating the 2012 Olympics and emerging footwear design talent, sportswear giants Gola here unveils their 'Next Generation' collaboration collection. Kicking off next year's 107th birthday anniversary, Gola invited De Montfort University student and competition winner Jennifer Brook to design a Spring Summer 2012 capsule series of shoes and bags. The 20-year-old student's contributions have been put into production to be will be sold internationally.

Supporting up-and-coming design talent, Gola’s Next Generation project showcases a rare opportunity for university students to see their ideas actually materialise into on-the-shelf pieces. Jennifer Brook’s designs were chosen as the winning collection due to her strong initial concepts and visuals that appeared early on to the Gola judges. The elements continued to develop with track and heritage inspirations.

Dazed Digital: How did you approach the brief that Gola set?
Jennifer Brook:
The first thing I thought is how can you be sport related but not too obviously Olympics laden? This is the first men’s shoe that we did and completely different from everything we had done before. I liked working with the silhouette. With women’s footwear there’s almost too many options. With this we had to look into the details and I found that more interesting. This project really opened my eyes to developing mens shoes, trainers and sportswear.

DD: Can you talk us through the different design inspirations?
Jennifer Brook:
I included the track, the running badge and the 0107, that’s how old Gola will be next year. I wanted to include subtle links to Gola’s heritage whilst also taking track and swimming and different inspirations from different sports. I’ve always been really sporty, I represented the North East for cross country and initially, I used a swatch from an old gymnastics medal for the drafts.

DD: What were your goals with this collection?
Jennifer Brook:
I wanted to do something where anyone could pick it up and relate to it and understand the concept straight away, the universal aspect of the Olympics. So I wanted to keep it simple but with details. I liked the customising aspect and the research, I really enjoyed this project and it’s something that I could definitely carry on.

DD: How does it feel to see your designs in production and that they will be available all over the world?
Jennifer Brook:
I found out on the last day of uni and saw the product in June, after being briefed in October and submitting my final designs in March. I’m still in shock, I can’t believe it.