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Posted 17.07.20

Converse and size? select students for custom collaboration

By Sarah Packer

Izzy Orpin customises her size? exclusive Converse Multipatch

To celebrate the launch of the size? exclusive Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Multipatch, the two renowned brands selected students from across the UK to give their experimental take on one of Converse’s most iconic silhouettes. 

Dan Langhorn, Multi-Channel Lead at respected shoe retailers size? and Footpatrol (JD Sports Fashion Plc) commented: “At size? we set about linking up with the most creative universities in the UK and Plymouth College of Art was one that appeared high on our list. Thanks to the support received from Converse and their willingness to let new creative talent drive a product campaign, this spring & summer we have worked with them on the size? exclusive Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Multipatch. This involved PCA selecting some of their best talent to receive a personalised customisation pack from Converse to create whatever they wanted from the materials available to them. The end result being a unique pair of Converse All Stars showcasing the hook & loop upper of the exclusive release.

“Linking up with PCA on the Converse campaign is the latest of many projects we have worked on. These have also included giving early access to a Reebok release to be worn on final year catwalk shows at Graduate Fashion Week 2019 and a module brief for the 2nd year Fashion Media & Marketing students. What we had submitted were exactly what we hoped to see and surpassed our expectations, showcasing not only the student’s talent but the results that can be gained when industry and education work together. Long may this continue with size? and PCA.” 

We caught up with BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing students Izzy Orpin and Megan Hughes-Jenkins, who were chosen to receive a Multipatch kit, to chat about the process behind their designs and life in lockdown... 

Tell us a bit about the Converse x size? Multipatch brief.

Izzy: My lecturer contacted me about a brief that size? were running in line with Converse’s new Multipatch release that involved making your own patches that either told a story or were visually striking, that you could customise the shoe with because of the hook & loop fabric. I was super excited about the opportunity and couldn’t wait to get stuck in, especially as size? and Converse are such well-esteemed brands.

Why is it important to get involved in competitions and external briefs like this?

Izzy: It’s great exposure and allows your work to be shared further afield. By doing external briefs you’re also challenging yourself by applying your skillset to a live brief, all of these things help to evolve you as an artist.

Megan Hughes-Jenkins used the kit to create her ASMR Converse Multipatch.

What were the thoughts and inspirations behind your design?

Megan: My final major project for my third year was completely based around ASMR so it felt almost wrong to not try and at least incorporate that within the Multipatch shoe. I created two pairs, one relatively simple and the second based around ASMR. The ASMR ones were also inspired by the sound of the hook and loop fabric when scratched, I then wondered how I could push this further using objects I had around me.

Izzy: The thoughts behind my designs ended up being “the things I would doodle”. They include a space scene and butterfly wings as I wanted to have fun with the designs and create things that I would wear or that could reflect my personality. 

What have you learnt through being involved in the brief? 

Izzy: The brief allowed me to tackle something I’ve never done before and through doing so I learnt not to over complicate things, work with what I know and adapt those skills with what I have available to me. I built upon the skills I already had, such as embroidery, rather than scrambling to learn a new skill in a limited time.

Megan: To not give up when the first hurdle appears! I faced a few difficulties when creating the ASMR pair and nearly gave up but I’m so happy I didn’t, I don’t think the shoes would have been as eye-catching and creative as they were had I given up. I also had to really think outside the box as to what I could use in terms of AMSR materials as due to lockdown, it meant that I wasn’t able to go out and buy materials so it really made me adapt what I used and how I used it.

"The campaign received great coverage in the press, including articles in Hypebeast and Sneaker News, and the students have enjoyed being part of an activation working alongside established influencers."— Milly Brown, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing Senior Lecturer and Joint Subject Leader

You're just finishing your third year, what has it been like to adapt your way of working during the lockdown?

Izzy: To be honest it’s been difficult to maintain routine and structure, but like with any challenge, you learn to adapt your working style and I’ve found that the weekly group check-in tutorials and setting myself small weekly goals to really help….also the endless stream of tea hasn’t done any harm! 

Megan: It’s certainly been interesting, especially when doing a creative degree. However, I have found that being a creative person means I already have the mindset of thinking outside the box so it’s not been as difficult as I first thought. It’s also given me confidence in facing challenges and believing in myself more because I’m not sure many people can say they’ve completed the end of their degree in a pandemic! My lecturers have been incredibly supportive and have been there whenever I’ve needed them! The uni itself has also been amazing in keeping things running and being interactive with our work on social media

What would your advice be for anyone who is about to start university?

Izzy: Take every opportunity to try new things! Everyone says it, but uni really is the best place to experiment and make mistakes, so go out of your way to try screen printing or book out that camera that you’ve wanted to try. Your lecturers can also put you in contact with the right people to help get you started so utilise that relationship. 

Megan: Don’t sweat the small stuff, make use of ALL the available facilities and just enjoy it because before you know it you’ll be done! I wish I could go back and do it all again!

What has been a highlight of your time here at Plymouth College of Art?

Izzy: I feel lucky to have found a group of friends who are so supportive and cheer each other on every step of the way! I miss hearing “what’s for lunch” at 10.15am. 

Megan: That’s a very difficult question but I’d probably say all of the experiences I’ve had, like the trips to Paris and London Fashion Week.

Milly Brown, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing Senior Lecturer and Joint Subject Leader said: “It's wonderful when students get the chance to work with names from industry they admire. The chance to work with size? and Converse on this project was an incredible opportunity for our students, and they have loved having such a creative brief to work with! The campaign also received great coverage in the press, including articles in Hypebeast and Sneaker News, and the students have enjoyed being part of an activation working alongside established influencers such as @curriegoat - as graduating students, this is wonderful for their professional profiles.

“We have worked with size? on several live projects, they are so supportive of new talent and have continued to be so even during the coronavirus pandemic. On the Fashion Media & Marketing course, we work on live projects with amazing companies, so on graduation, our students know who they want to work for and what it takes to get the job.” 

Discover more about studying Fashion Media & Marketing at Plymouth College of Art here.

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