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Stuart Weitzman Footwear Design Competition

About the Competition

Stuart Weitzman and the New-York Historical Society invite New York metro-area high school students to participate in a footwear design competition in conjunction with Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes. Students are invited to submit a unique shoe design in one of two categories: Socially-Conscious Fashion or Material Innovation. Reviewed by prominent curators, educators, and Stuart Weitzman himself, the ten finalists’ designs will be exhibited in Walk this Way at the New-York Historical Society and the finalists will be invited to the VIP Opening Reception. Stuart Weitzman will announce each winner at the Opening Reception. Stuart Weitzman will produce the winning designs to be included in the exhibition.

Who Can Enter?

The design competition is open to all high school students in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut)—who are in the 9th through 12th grades during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Entry Deadline

Monday, December 18, 2017, 9:00am


All inquiries can be directed to Daniel De Santis, Manager of Visual Arts Programs

212-873-3400 ext. 367 or

Jump to:

Design Challenge | Selection Process | Selection Criteria | Awards & Prizes | Contest Details & Rules | Submission

Design Challenge

Shoes, like all fashion, are pieces of material culture—physical evidence of societal values, cultural identities, and personal taste at a given moment in time.

Consider your shoes today. How many shoes do you own? How were they made? From what materials are they made? Where were they made? Where were they sold? How expensive are they? Why did you choose to buy them? When and where would you wear them? How do you feel when you wear them? These questions shed light on you, the individual wearer, as well as on the motivations of the designer.

Choose one of two categories to submit a design:

Category 1: Socially-Conscious Fashion

There are many current events and historical issues that may shape a shoe design. Women’s rights, immigration, and gender identity are only few examples, and fashion designers may take these into consideration when creating new shoes.

Design a shoe that:

  • addresses a current or historical issue that has shaped or will shape American society,
  • considers functionality and aesthetic, and
  • is inspired by the collections of the New-York Historical Society and/or Stuart Weitzman.


Category 2: Material Innovation

Stuart Weitzman’s success has been linked, in part, to his innovative use of non-traditional materials in high-fashion design.

Design a shoe that:

  • significantly incorporates at least one unconventional material,
  • considers functionality and aesthetic, and
  • is inspired by the collections of the New-York Historical Society and/or Stuart Weitzman.

Selection Process & Judging

The Stuart Weitzman Footwear Design Competition is organized in two stages.

In Stage One, all submissions received by the deadline that meet the above requirements will be assessed and judged by a panel of Education and Curatorial staff members of the New-York Historical Society. Ten finalists will be selected and notified.

In Stage Two, the ten finalists will be invited to present their design to Stuart Weitzman in January 2018.  Mr. Weitzman and the panel of New-York Historical Society staff will select the winners.

Decisions of the judges will be final and shall not be subject to appeal.

Selection Criteria

Entries will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance – Does the design address the task?
  • Creativity – How original and creative is the design? Is it fashion-forward?
  • Connection – Is it inspired by the collections of the New-York Historical Society or Stuart Weitzman?

Awards and Prizes

Finalists (10): There will be five finalists in each category. Finalists will be invited to present their designs to Stuart Weitzman in Stage Two of the competition. All finalists’ designs will be featured in the exhibition Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes [link to exhibition webpage], on view at the New-York Historical Society from April 13 – August 26, 2018. Designs will also be highlighted on Finalists will be recognized at the VIP exhibition opening and will be presented with a certificate signed by Stuart Weitzman and Louise Mirrer, President and CEO of the New-York Historical Society.

Winners (2): There will be one winner in each category, selected from among the five finalists. Each winner will have his or her footwear produced by Stuart Weitzman and featured in the Walk this Way: Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection of Historic Shoes exhibition and on the New-York Historical Society website. The winners will be announced and celebrated at the VIP exhibition opening reception in April 2018 and will be presented with a pair of their designed shoes.

Contest Details and Rules­­­­­­

  • Students must be enrolled in grades 9-12 in the 2017-2018 school year.
  • Students must live in the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut).
  • Students may only enter as an individual.
  • Students may only enter one design—students may not enter in more than one category.
  • Entries cannot have any trademarked insignia, including marks, logos, or writing, that refer to specific brands.
  • No resubmissions will be allowed.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.
  • Entries that do not fulfill requirements will not be considered
  • Each entrant’s parent/guardian must acknowledge entry into the contest by completing a written consent form
  • Employees of the New-York Historical Society and Stuart Weitzman and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate. “Immediate family” includes only spouses, parents, and children.
  • Only finalists will be notified of their selection. Finalists will be notified via e-mail. Winners will be notified at the Exhibition Opening Reception in April 2018. If a finalist or winner is disqualified or ineligible for any reason, the panel will select the next highest scoring entry as the alternate. Alternate finalists and winners are subject to all eligibility requirements in the rules.
  • There is no fee for entry.


By entering the Stuart Weitzman Shoe Design Competition, each entrant grants to the New-York Historical Society a non-exclusive license to copy, distribute, display, adapt, publish, use and make derivative works from the submission in the New-York Historical Society’s marketing, promotional, educational, commercial, and not-for-profit materials, in any format and media, whether now known or hereafter devised, for any and all purposes, including but not limited to publication and distribution of the submission on the New-York Historical Society’s website or in exhibitions.

Publicity Release:

By submitting a entry, each entrant grant the New-York Historical Society the right to use his or her name, voice, artwork, likeness and information provided on entry form, without compensation, including in all publicity and marketing materials (including the New-York Historical Society’s web site) relating to the Stuart Weitzman Shoe Design Competition, except where prohibited by law.

Warranty by Entrant:

By submitting a shoe design, each entrant warrants that the shoe design is original, was created solely by the entrant, does not violate any copyright laws, and does not plagiarize, libel, defame, disparage, slander or otherwise infringe on or violate the rights of any third parties.  Each entrant further certifies that it has obtained all necessary and appropriate approvals or consents from all persons and entities participating in or otherwise involved with the creation and production of the shoe design. Each entrant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the New-York Historical Society, its officers, directors, employees and affiliated organizations, and their respective officers, directors and employees, from and against any and all claims, demands, damages, costs, liabilities and causes of action of whatsoever nature that are based upon or arise out of any breach by the entrant of these contest rules or the warranties and representations made in this paragraph.

Only digital entries will be accepted.

Shoe designs can be two or three-dimensional. Designs can be created in any medium, by hand or computer. 3-D sculpture may be photographed and submitted.  

You will need:

  • Up to five images/illustrations of the designed shoe, depicting multiple angles: lateral, top, front, back, and sole. Only .jpg, .png, and .pdf files will be accepted
    • Image files should be named accordingly: Name_HSname_View (i.e., TaylorJones_BronxScienceHS_Lateral.jpg).
  • A written response, not exceeding 500 words, that serves as a gallery label for the design. Please incorporate the following information:
    • How does the design respond to your selected submission category?
    • How did the New-York Historical Society and/or Stuart Weitzman collections inspire this design?
    • What choices did you make in this design and why?
    • What makes it interesting and unique?
    • Tell us about your market. Who would wear this shoe? When or where?
  • A scan of a photo school ID as a .jpg, .png, or .pdf
  • A signed legal guardian consent form as a .jpg, .png, or .pdf file (Download)

Submission Deadline has now passed. We are no longer accepting entries

For design inspiration check out our online resources:

Creative: Tronvig Group