On a sunny evening in June the MilliOnAir team were invited to attend The Cordwainers Footwear Student of the Year Awards ceremony. The event was held in the historic ‘Clothworkers’ Hall in the City of London where over 200 guests including footwear students, industry influencers and Cordwainers members came together to celebrate the best upcoming shoe designers in the UK.
It was a really prestigious evening attended by the very best people in the UK shoe industry. As well as supporting the students work, the event gave us an amazing opportunity to learn more about the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and what they do to support the footwear industry. Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Patrick Peal explained that the company are “the biggest private supporter of scholarships and bursaries to footwear students in the UK. We work very closely with the footwear industry to make the footwear awards an interesting, challenging and fair competition, and to raise the profile of footwear in the UK”.
John Miller, Clerk at the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers said: “We are delighted to host the national award for the very best footwear design students. We believe this will help Britain to maintain its position as the world leader in footwear education at university level and also, more generally, the design and manufacture of quality footwear.”
Just before the awards were presented, we had the chance to meet and chat with the students and see their portfolios and we loved hearing how excited they were for the awards. They were both nervous and thrilled that during the event they were going to be able to network with industry greats and meet the people who could have an effect on their careers in the future.
Once the awards ceremony started there was an inspirational keynote speech from top international footwear designer Camilla Elphick who said, “It is so important to nurture and support the raw talent of UK-based footwear design students, as they are the future not only of the British footwear industry, but also innovators of footwear design on a global scale.”
The finalists of the awards all came from the three universities that specialize in footwear design in the UK, De Montfort University, University of Northampton and London College of Fashion. The students had submitted portfolios of their designs for a pair of shoes and after an initial selection by the universities, the work of 15 finalists was presented to the judging panel and then the winners chosen. The overall winner of the Cordwainers Footwear Awards in 2018 was Barbara Fidler who studied at London College of Fashion. Barbara was ecstatic about her win “It’s a dream come true to have won this award. There are so many amazing students and to be a winner is so unexpected! The Cordwainers Awards is the pinnacle and you know you’ve reached it when you win this award!”
The winner’s trophy was new this year and had been created by award-winning jewellery designers Yunus & Eliza, who we met at the event. The design duo had created a solid sterling silver trophy, finished with a high polish and chased textural detail. Hand sculpted, the “design embodies a spirit of innovation and creativity, it is an exaltation to the art form, skill and infinite possibilities of footwear design for the future.
The sculpture references both Hermes – messenger of the gods – and Futurist architectural concepts, like discovering an artefact from a faux sci-fi past. We have created a modern heirloom to sit alongside the Cordwainers’ beautiful collection of silverware,” said Yunus & Eliza.
The evening ended with fine wines and good food, whilst we had the chance to continue celebrating the work that the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers does to support the next generation of footwear talent.
To find out more about Cordwainers, visit www.cordwainers.org
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