Fresh experiments in Japan – Footwear design student Mira’s exchange story


HAMK’s Design student Mira Saxberg spent three months in Japan as an exchange student in the spring 2018. She studied at the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry. Japan was a clear choice for her because she considers Japanese and Scandinavian design are similar despite the distance.

Exchange gave confidence

Fourth-year student Mira studies footwear design as her major and before studies at HAMK she graduated as a shoemaker. Mira wanted to go for an exchange because she felt it would strengthen her identity as a designer. And that is exactly what happened after the exchange period in Japan. She says she has now more solid foundation when it comes to her aims and herself as a designer. The exchange made her to trust more on her skills and her plans for the future.

Research, an exhibition and interesting visiting lecturers

In the picture Mira is wearing shoes, a ring, and an earring which she made for the exhibition in Japan.

At the Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry Mira studied mostly with jewelry designer students and only two of the students had footwear design as their major. Mira’s studies consisted of two deeper researches and at the end of the studies there was an exhibition which based on the research work. Mira says she had an opportunity to have fresh experiments in her studies during the whole exchange. Her studies included for example a workshop which was held by a Dutch artist and a course about desktop publishing taught by the editor-in-chief of Elle Japan.

Carried away by the Japanese culture

When asked Mira, what was the best thing in the exchange, she replies “everything”. She says that moments, when she felt insecure, taught her a lot. She was carried away by the totally new and different, yet cozy culture. She strove to be social outside of the studies as well and she wanted to see Tokio as much as possible. According to Mira, it was challenging to balance between the existing and the new working methods. However, she didn’t really experience cultural shocks apart from some occasional confusion with studying.

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