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Melissa Next is the competition that searches for a new creative outlook within the fashion industry. 

Young creatives from all over the UK were invited to send their original designs to the project's official platform. Out of the many we received, five finalists were chosen. 

Come find out a little bit about each of the possible winners of the £5,000 prize and a collab launched worldwide in partnership with Melissa.


#1: Andrea Venero

How was it taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition? 
To me it was an experience that challenged my skills. I studied graphic design in Peru. I worked in the fashion manufacturing in India and actually I am studying the MA in fashion Art Direction in the UK. As seen accessories design was not something I have done in the past thus Melissa Next competition made me took chance
For the proposal, I studied the brand in order to understand their history, their target As well, I looked the previous collaborations. I found that Melissa’s most important feature is its innovative process and innovative materials also Melissa’s pursue to join forces with creatives from all around the world in different backgrounds.
The next step in the process was to create links between Melissa’s values and my work, my research has been focused in how the fashion design helps individual self-betterment and specifically how human mobility contributes to enhance or collective values. Taking into account Melissa’s strengths and my findings, I decided to compete using the concept of traveling as my design main driver.

How did it feel to be selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition? 
I am excited about being selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition. This, on a particular way, ensures me that I am on a right path to achieve my personal and professional goals. As well, I feel more confident with my work and the way I focus my practice with coding upon innovation. However, I believe that this opportunity has showed me new fields, processes and materials that can be further explored whit my work.

Why do your designs deserve to be selected and become Melissa's next iconic collaboration?
I think I deserve to be Melissa next iconic collaboration because my design considers several aspects. First, it was designed for the travelers’ needs, something that has not been directly addressed by Melissa in the past, given that the brand has not developed a line exclusively destined to travel. On the other hand, my design includes one important feature: the pattern used for the passport holder had been generated through coding all country names in the world which adds further meaning to the design. Finally, my design fits into that Melissa’s style and material thus I believe it can be perfectly developed as a complete collection.

What would your response be if you are voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition and become Melissa's next collaborator?
Being Melissa's next collaborator would be an honor. I have a previous experience that I treasure with the brand, back in 2016 Melissa was the brand that helped me in my first runway show providing the footwear. Choosing the brand was an obvious decision because Melissa fit perfectly with the kind of work I did. 
If I win I would also be really grateful because this would definitely encourage me to keep on researching and taking on different products. Definitely having a signed collaboration with a brand I admire is a dream.

"To travel around the world, believing that by trusting in the unknown and traveling alone, we grow."
@andreaveneroc
"A simplistic and honest design, that can provide a lightweight and comfortable feeling which follows the form."
@danny_valentine
#2: Daniel Valentine

How was it taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition?
Taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition is a huge opportunity, I knew that I had to spend a lot of time perfecting the best idea to stand a chance of being chosen. I spent many hours researching, thinking about my experiences and how I wanted to infuse them together. Over the past few weeks, I produced multiple designs (I can send some examples of my other designs if interested) which I developed and fine-tuned using multiple applications; concepting using sketching, 3D modelling using VR and Rhino, and testing different finishes and colours using Keyshot. I enjoyed working on the process behind my design which was inspired by my 4-month internship in Copenhagen where I worked on projects with Bang & Olufsen and LG. I learned about the philosophy behind Scandinavian design, how minimalism and functionality work hand in hand. 
 
How did it feel to be selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition? 
It felt surreal, I woke up at 5am because I had to check if I got through! I still can't believe that I got chosen. 
 
Why do your designs deserve to be selected and become Melissa's next iconic collaboration?
Getting selected to be Melissa's next collaborator, would be a massive launchpad for my career as a designer. I am currently an Industrial Design Student at Brunel University London, and having a shoe that I have designed in manufacture is huge, not many 21 year olds would be able to say that! And currently getting a career in the creative industry can be quite tough, I think this would give me great confidence for when I finish university and have to start looking for work in the big (sometimes scary) world. 
It has always been a dream of mine to be able to go into a store and buy something that I have designed, and I've been to the Galeria Melissa London before, to see my shoe in there would be a surreal experience. 
Also the funding from the competition would be a big help towards my final university project where I want to look into the commercialisation of 3D printing shoes, I currently have a few designs which I have been working on for the past year, but having this money will make it more feasible to bring my ideas to life.  From a very young age at primary school, I had a passion for design (I even created a paper mache trainer in year 4) and big dreams of becoming a designer that could help make people's lives better globally, Melissa is helping to make my dreams become a reality.
 
What would your response be if you are voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition and become Melissa's next collaborator?
Ecstatic, I probably would cry with excitement. Winning would mean that all tough times and the hard work which I have put in through University and School would have been worth it.
#3: Fiorella Gianini

How was it taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition?
It was a different and great experience. It is difficult to start a new design and come up with a whole new concept. It is a process where you go through different emotional stages from falling in love with your creation to hating it. The process began with studying  the brand and understanding who you’re designing for. I enjoyed greatly the challenge of creating a design from scratch within a few weeks from when I knew about the competition. I found it a liberating feeling to finally submit my work.
 
How did it feel to be selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition?
It felt incredible, I was not expecting it at all. All my family and friends were very supportive and although I felt positive about my design, I knew I had a lot of good and strong competitors. 
It was my mum from Argentina who first found out on social media. I woke up on the Friday morning with a lot of messages from my friends and family. I must admit I cried a lot. I’m far from home and feeling all this love made my heart burst in joyful tears. 
 
Why do your designs deserve to be selected and become Melissa's next iconic collaboration?
I believe my design would work perfectly with the progressive brand philosophy by adding my own stamp. The inspiration for my design is rooted in the 60's era being a time of reaction and empowerment for women by women. Melissa has always been very active in promoting and collaborating with artists who are already well known and just as importantly, emerging artists. 
My design is different while wearable. The shoe has centre stage. The heel of the shoe was inspired by a photo of one of the zoom-ins of my paintings. So I believe this makes the shoe a walking installation that everyone can enjoy. 
 
What would your response be if you are voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition and become Melissa's next collaborator?
ECSTATIC! This would create a huge opportunity for me to grow as a designer and artist.  To team up with a distinctive brand like Melissa would be a real privilege. 
"I intend this work to be relatable but striking and to reflect the confidence of the wearer."
@fiorellagianini
"The ideia is to capture the sense of things being raw and being made by the human hand."
@jesselliss
#4: Jessica Ellis

How was it taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition?
It’s been so much fun! After just finishing uni just a week ago, it was great to do something that I could let my hair down and have fun with! Once I found out the news that I was a finalist and sharing it all over Facebook and Instagram with my family and friends, it really made me aware of all of the unconditional love and support I have from them.
 
How did it feel to be selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition?
It felt really exciting! Being apart of such a huge competition with talented young designers, I feel so unbelievably lucky to be picked as one of the five finalists! I used to sell these shoes in my first weekend job whilst studying my Art Foundation, so to now being able to have my own design in the shops, that would be amazing! 

Why should your designs deserve to be selected and become Melissa's next iconic collaboration?
Its been amazing to get this far in the competition but its crazy to think that I could be Melissa's Next collaborator that historically has featured so many iconic designers. As a designer I’m naturally drawn to things that look like they are handmade and hand crafted so with the creativeness and artistic approach of the Melissa brand I feel like my design is something that is more than just a shoe. I’d wear them, you’d definitely make a statement!
 
What would your response be if you are voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition and become Melissa's next  iconic collaborator?
Ahh it would be my dream - I would be over the moon! As I've only just completed my four year Fashion Design course at the University of Westminster a week ago, having this opportunity and platform for people to know who I am as a designer and having a product that people will want to wear and know about is so exciting for any new designer!
#5: Marija Vrlja

How was it taking part in the Melissa NEXT competition?
I believe this kind of projects challenge us to speak out loud to the world and present our ideas, no matter what the outcome is, we grow with it. Being able to introduce my concept and being supported by everyone in this virtual world has been an amazing experience.
 
How did it feel to be selected as the finalist for the Melissa NEXT competition?
Imagining that 35 years ago Melissa did the first collaboration with Jean-Paul Gaultier and continued collaborating with world-known designers, architects and artists…and imagining that in the 2019 my name could be on this list is really something that is hard to put into words. For all us young creatives it is always an honour to be recognized by the people in this industry who “know what they are talking about”. I believe this experience showed us we are moving in the right direction and just to continue observing the world and being inspired by it.

Why do your designs deserve to be selected and become Melissa's next iconic collaboration?
The Melissa Manifesto speaks about being limitless, loving freely, being connected. 
It speaks about desire to feel stories, desire to sing, dance, cry,…
 
My intention was to create something that communicates, something that connects people. The concept represents a simple idea - placing a strong statement on a shoe, a statement that is there for all of us, wherever we might be.  The statement LET’S WALK TOGETHER is there to encourage us, to be our voice, our freedom and to represent we are all one.
 
The statement Let’s walk together would be written around the sole. Following the aesthetics of Melissa shoes, I have designed and made a mule, with a thick noticeable sole and a heel just high enough to dance all night.

Imagining the collection being launched worldwide and people wearing the shoes that represent togetherness and support, well that would simply be amazing.
 
What would your response be if you are voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition and become Melissa's next collaborator?
Being voted to become the winner of the Melissa NEXT competition would be an absolute manifestation and it would exactly illustrate what my whole concept is about. I always imagine everything being puzzled together, small pieces coming and staying exactly where they need to be.

It would mean people saw the potential in my concept and supported me and that would make me become a part of the story I want to share so much. I wouldn’t be just the one that wanted to create something that would encourage and connect people, I would be the one that was supported and encouraged by everyone.
 
Thank you to the moon and back to everyone out there voting for all of us.
"This concept is a movement, it represents connecting people. Let's walk together."
@marijavrlja
Click here to vote for your favorite.
And keep an eye on the competition through our official channels. 

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