Footwear association The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers has announced the winners of its 2021 Cordwainers Student Footwear Awards, which were held digitally for the second year running due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The awards were established in 2014 to support the future of the shoe industry by celebrating and encouraging young footwear talent. They are open to students studying at one of the three universities with footwear design courses - De Montfort University, the University of Northampton or London College of Fashion at University of the Arts, London.
This year’s First Prize was award to Jihee Ahn, a student at De Montfort University for her lights inspired heeled boots.
Commenting on her win, Jihee Ahn, said “It is an honour to be a winner of this award and I will never forget the moment my name was called. Due to the pandemic, it has been an unusual environment to design in, however winning this award has made me very proud of my designs.”
The awards second place went to Kamile Peleckyte, while the third place prize was won by Reuben Crabbe, both from the London College of Fashion.
The inaugural Sustainability Award was presented to Louise Pietrzyk from London College of Fashion and there was a commendation for Maartje den Boer from De Montfort University.
The winners take a share of the 12,000 pounds prize fund, including 5,000 pounds for the winner.
De Montfort University student Jihee Ahn wins First Prize at 2021 Cordwainers Footwear Awards
The winners were selected by a judging panel that included Cordwainer Liveryman Katie Greenyer, creative director at Pentland Brands, designers Charlotte Olympia Dellal and Beatrix Ong, and Joachim Sedelmeier head of design for shoes at Paul Smith.
Commenting on this year’s judging, Katie Greenyer, said: “We had the enviable task of escaping our day jobs and entering into the minds of these passionate, extremely talented footwear designers. It’s a real credit to University of the Arts, De Montfort, Northampton, and the staff, who I know all work incredibly hard to drive, nurture and direct the students in incredibly challenging times, to become the best crop of footwear designers globally.
“The ambition of the Cordwainers Footwear Awards is to ensure that we give footwear designers the platform to showcase their work to industry experts. The students have had to be even more resourceful than ever with university workshops closed and virtual learning. I’m always totally blown away with the enthusiasm, talent, professionalism and most importantly originality of the work. I’m so excited that we are able to continue to nurture, nourish and support footwear design through these unique times.”
Previous winners of the Cordwainers Student Footwear Awards include Helen Kirkum, Meta Cunder and Ganor Dominic who have used their prize money to fund further education in footwear design or start their own footwear design businesses.