The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and the V&A celebrates the National Footwear Student of the Year Competition 2015

Bloom and Wild

The Cordwainers’ Footwear Student of the Year competition was hosted in style at the V&A Museum on Thursday 18th June, with guest speaker Rupert Sanderson and Datuk Prof Jimmy Choo OBE presenting the awards to the winning students.

The spectacular evening was held at the V&A to coincide with the new exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, which the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers has supported.

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers launched the Footwear Student of the Year Awards last year in order to support the future of the shoe industry and to celebrate and encourage young footwear talent. John Miller, Clerk at the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, said: “We are delighted to host this national award for the very best footwear design students. We believe this will help Britain to maintain its position as the world leader in the design and manufacture of footwear.”

Applications were invited from all current footwear students from the three universities that specialize in footwear design, De Montfort University, University of Northampton, and University of the Arts (UAL) London College of Fashion, to design a pair of shoes. After an initial selection by the universities, the work of 15 finalists was presented to the judging panel of Guy West, Atalanta Weller and chaired by Katie Greenyer, Creative Director, Pentland plc.

Katie Greenyer, Creative Director of Pentland plc. announced the winners:
1st Prize – Ganna Domnich – UAL, London College of Fashion
2nd Prize – Jack McNamara – UAL, London College of Fashion
3rd Prize – Lauren Aileen Betourney – UAL, London College of Fashion
Commendations – Sam Walker – De Montfort University and Beth Roberts – De Montfort University

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Katie Greenyer explained that the judges had the enviable task of looking into the minds of the passionate, extremely talented footwear designers who entered. “It’s a real credit to LCF, De Montfort, Northampton, and the staff, who I know all work incredibly hard to drive, nurture and direct the students to become the best crop of footwear designers globally. It’s also healthy that all 3 institutions have an understanding of COMPETITION. Once employed, it encourages you to be the best, and come up with the next big, new thing. It gives me great encouragement to see such talented designers coming through these institutions and that we have the opportunity to employ and benefit from their talents in the near future. Thank you to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers for this competition.”

Sue Saunders, Footwear Course leader at London College of Fashion was thrilled with the three awards for their students “I am ecstatic. This year’s graduating cohort is the cream of the crop and for them to be recognised publicly in such a grand setting is wonderful. Tonight the judges, who are all highly recognised people in the footwear industry, have given affirmation to British footwear education.”

Guest speaker Rupert Sanderson in his speech explained how an earlier Cordwainers award changed his life and allowed him to follow his passion in shoe design. “Tonight is about celebrating what many of us in this room love doing best. Designing shoes. Most of us are only able to do this for an actual living because of the colleges and universities in this country that teach this highly complex craft…..We can be pretty confident that the next generation of world class accessories designers are here in the room tonight….So on behalf of my fellow shoe designers I’d like to thank the company of Cordwainers, for their support and generosity. These awards really can make a difference!”

Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Lance Shaw expressed his thanks to everyone who supported the awards “We are grateful for the support from the footwear Industry and thrilled that so many of you could be here this evening, because it gives you a good idea of the enormous talent that we have in our universities and the openings that there are for supporting students through bursaries, work placements and permanent jobs.”