Cordwainer’s National Footwear Student of the Year Award 2019

BFA focus on a prestigious award which recognises future footwear talent

The Cordwainer’s National Footwear Student of the Year Award gets set to take place at the Clothworker’s Hall in London on June 6th.

As one of the most important and revered accolades awarded to graduates, the BFA offers an insight into what the award is about and how it helps promote future footwear talent.

What’s the idea behind the Cordwainer’s National Footwear Student of the Year Award? 

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers launched the National Footwear Student of the Year Awards in 2014, to support the future of the shoe industry and to celebrate and encourage young footwear talent. The Cordwainers are the biggest private supporter of scholarships and bursaries to students in the UK, they work very closely with the footwear industry to create an interesting and challenging competition – which raises the profile of footwear in Britain.

Cordwainer, William Church, the joint MD of Cheaney Shoes said: The competition is now in its sixth year and as its influence grows so does the impact and recognition for the Cordwainers’ Company who are delighted to organise and host this prestigious event.”

What do you look for in a winner and what do they receive?

 The judges are looking for a submission that is creative, innovative and includes a marketable shoe design. Last year, the Cordwainers commissioned design duo Yunus & Eliza to create a stunning silver trophy which is presented to the first prize winner.The First Prize winner will receive £5,000, The Second Prize winner will receive £3,000,  The Third Prize winner will receive £1,000.

Why should footwear businesses be interested?

 The awards brings together footwear students, industry influencers, press and Cordwainer’s members; and is a fantastic opportunity for footwear brands to take a look at the portfolios of the next generation of shoe designers.

Mr Church added: “These students are the footwear industry of the future, whatever aspect of it they choose to specialise in. All strong businesses want high calibre people and this competition gives those with talent an opportunity to ‘speak’ to industry.”

What have past winners gone on to do?

 Previous winners are making their mark in the industry and have used their prize money to either fund further education in footwear design or start their own footwear design business.  2014 award winner Helen Kirkum is an innovative shoe designer and consultant working with many of the worlds biggest brands such as Adidas and Timberland.

Helen, who will be a guest judge and keynote speaker at this year’s event, said: “Winning the Inaugural Footwear Student of The Year competition back in 2014 definitely put me on the right path to peruse my love for footwear.”

Last year’s winner Barbara Fiedler Weirszewska of the London College of Fashion, highlighted the high accolade of securing the award. She said: “It was a dream come true to have won this award. There were and are so many amazing students and to be a winner was so unexpected! The Cordwainer’s Award is the pinnacle and you know you’ve reached it when you win!”