Something Old, Something New, Something Shoe

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Today is a tale that is 743 years in the making and an email that dropped into my inbox recently, it is about how our fashion history is delivering our fashion future and helping young designers be the next generation of stars.

Back in 1272 when Henry III was still just about on his throne, (he made it to November that year), The Worshipful Guild of Cordwainers was founded. The Guilds were the controllers of trade and apprenticeships in London, and the Cordwainers were related to the bustling leather industry. (You can find out about the City Of London Guilds here). These bodies were an integral part of the training of shoe makers. 

3. J Choo H Kirkum 1

The Worshipful Guild Of Cordwainers has moved on in that time, and now holds a lot of importance through its charitable works and supporting the industry. This is how an ancient order comes to hold an important part in the future of the fashion industry. They provide bursaries for aspiring young designers and support for people wanting to enter the industry. Their membership includes industry stars L.K.Bennett & the one and only Jimmy Choo.

They are once again teaming up with De Montford University, Northampton University and The London College Of Fashion to hold the National Footwear Of The Year competition, looking to find the best talents at the three universities and awarding prizes of up to £5000 for the winners.

As I’ve often said in the articles I write, there are two things here, fashions history is long and glorious, we must know where we have come from to know where we are going. The history and heritage available to our next generations will always be an important resource. But secondly we must nurture and develop talent, and prizes and competitions like this will always help people to be all they can be. The very reason this site exists and something I’m very proud of, is to be able to support talented people living their dreams.

The awards will be made at The V & A who will also be showing Shoes : Pleasure Vs Pain supported by the guild 13th June to 31st Jan, on the 18th of June and I will be sure to bring you the details of the winners and their designs.

4. Shoesofallages

Photo Credits . . .

All images are © The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers unless otherwise stated.
1. 1579 ArmsThis version of the Company arms is taken from the 1579 Grant of Arms bestowed by Elizabeth I. The badge is a gold chevron between three goats heads. The goats refer to the source of the Cordwainers’ leather – the finest goatskin from Cordova in Spain.
2. J Choo& H Kirkum Liveryman Jimmy Choo with University of Northampton student Helen Kirkum, winner of the inaugural Cordwainers National Footwear Student Award, 2014
(Photograph courtesy Mark Witter Photography)
3. Shoesofallages L-R Ladies elastic-sided ankle boot c. 1870; prize-winning lace leather ankle boot, c.1870; gold evening shoe L K Bennett; evening shoe Jimmy Choo Couture.

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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