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Thomas Leech

MA work

Shoey Shoes

Designing with the circular economy in mind ‘Shoe-y-shoes’ is an exploration of how leather off cuts from the fashion industry can be used to develop a range of children’s shoes. They are engineered for disassembly in order that they can be effectively reused and recycled.

These children shoes are produced entirely from waste materials, combining new material composites with simplified production techniques. From the outset I looked for ways to change our concept of waste. One man’s waste is another man’s treasure. 

This project is an exploration of the unintended consequences of waste within two industries, with the ultimate goal of seeking to solve one problem with another.

A modular shoe creates an opportunity for a new dynamic service model in which ownership of a shoe is replaced by a leasing scheme where the manufacturer retains ownership of the valuable materials. This enables the user to get the function of a shoe without taking on the responsibility of its disposal. This represents an alternative for how the shoe industry might look in the future.


  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Products, 2016

  • With over a decade of experience in the design industry, I returned to college with the aim of realigning my practice with a better understanding of how to transition society from a linear economic model of make-use-dispose to a more circular system. This circular model places emphasis on natural resources along with a better understanding of the way we purchase goods and services. 

    I am interested in establishing innovative designs in alternative business models, which are focused on effectiveness rather than efficiency. I believe that as 21st Century designers we should have ambition to tackle some of the big problems within our society.    

  • Degrees

  • BA (Hons) Industrial Design Technology, Brunel University, 2007
  • Experience

  • Design Engineer, Adrok Ltd, Edinburgh, 2012 – 2014; Component Developer, Mulberry, London, 2010 – 2012; Designer, Onzo Ltd, London, 2009 – 2010; Design Associate, Lightweight Medical 2007 – 2009
  • Awards

  • Schmidt MacArthur Fellowship, 2015