In the last few weeks the design industry has celebrated a plethora of graduate work and Design Week has been impressed by the ingenious projects the students have come up with.
This week, I was sent a self-initiated project – the Zoo shoe – from Loughborough design student Ben Flannaghan, and while I don’t mean to come over all Dragon’s Den-like, frankly I would back it.
It may be because of my love of shoes and the fact it would save me space in my wardrobe and money in my pocket, but the shoe in question has a far more innovative appeal.
The Zoo shoe has an interchangeable upper layer, so you buy the sole and tongue and then zip on a new ‘skin’ (as Ben calls them) to suit your style that day. The great part about it is that you design and personalise your own skins.
‘I developed the shoe as a customization project that aims to orientate the design process around the customer,’ says the industrial design student. ‘I realised while the top of a canvas shoe has a quirky pattern, the sole doesn’t change. If you split them up via a zip, it allows people to design their own upper layer.’
Ben is also hoping the Zoo shoe will catch on as an advertising tool like the T-shirt, which is often used as the clothing of choice to promote bands, artists, clubs and companies.
The project was part-funded by the Loughborough Enterprise Office, which has nominated it for the Student Enterprise Awards at Loughborough University. The winner is to be decided by public vote on 15 September.
Ben has created wearable prototypes which feature on his website www.thezooshoe.co.uk. Watch the video below to see how the Zoo shoe works. Boot-tiful!
Zoo shoe by Ben Flannaghan