The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers celebrates the National Footwear Student of the Year Awards 2018.

The Cordwainers Footwear Student of the Year Awards ceremony was held at the Clothworkers’ Hall, London on Thursday 7th June, when over 200 guests including footwear students, industry influencers and Cordwainer members came together to celebrate the best upcoming shoe designers in the UK.

The prestigious evening included an inspirational keynote speech from top international footwear designer Camilla Elphick, and award-winning designers of the stunning new winner’s trophy, Yunus & Eliza, were in attendance. T

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.

Previous winners are making their mark in the industry and have used their prize money to fund further education in footwear design or start their own footwear design business. 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 footwear education at university level and also, more generally, the design and manufacture of quality footwear.”

Applications were invited from the footwear students at the three universities that specialise in footwear design, De Montfort University, University of Northampton and London College of Fashion. The students submit 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 of Guy West (of Jeffery-West), Atalanta Weller and chair Katie Greenyer, Creative Director, Pentland Brands. Guest judge and keynote speaker Camilla Elphick 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 2018 winners are: 1st Prize Barbara Fidler London College of Fashion 2nd Prize Yunfei Ma London College of Fashion 3rd Prize Edina McClelland De Montfort University Commendation 1: Orla O’Hagan De Montfort University Commendation 2: Xiaoyue Wei London College of Fashion Commendation 3 – Joseph Ling De Montfort University.

Judge Atalanta Weller noted that between them, the three judges have some 80 years of experience in the footwear industry, but in the five years of the Cordwainers competition, they “have never yet failed to be excited and impressed by the enthusiasm, talent and professionalism, and most importantly originality, of the 15 designers who have made it to this final judging stage”.

Winner Barbara Fidler 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!”

Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Patrick Peal expressed his thanks to everyone who supported the awards: “As the biggest private supporter of scholarships and bursaries to footwear students in the UK, we work very closely with the footwear industry to make it an interesting, challenging and fair competition, and to raise the profile of footwear in the UK. Britain is the undoubted world leader in footwear education at university level and the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers plays a big supporting role giving away well over £100,000 a year to the footwear and leather education sector in bursaries and scholarships. “

For information: The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers is a livery company in the City of London. Cordwainers are workers in fine leather and the Company derives its name from “cordwain” (cordovan), the white leather produced from goatskin in Cordova, Spain. The Cordwainers’ Company has strong links with footwear and leather education in the three British universities than run footwear design courses, as well as with the footwear industry and trade. The Company’s motto is ‘Corio et Arte’, Latin for ‘Leather and Art’.