Meta Cunder from the London College of Fashion in 2019

The 2023 Cordwainers Footwear Awards will take place on Wednesday 7 June at Merchant Taylors’ Hall, Threadneedle Street in London – and this year there are two new award categories.

Fifteen student finalists from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and De Montfort University will compete to win the coveted Cordwainers Footwear Award Trophy.

Established in 2014, the Cordwainers Footwear Awards are recognised by industry leaders as a celebration of emerging student talent. Not only does it offer them significant cash prizes and the chance to earn industry recognition for their work, but finalists are also given the opportunity to gain mentoring experience from some of the best names in the British footwear industry.

Nicholas Fowler, a Northampton student, from 2019

There are two new categories for this year. The first is the Sneaker/Athleisure Award, which recognises the innovative design work in this area of footwear. Secondly, the Sue Saunders Award for Excellence is a new prize, which will be awarded by nomination to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the footwear trade.

Sue Saunders was an inspiring teacher and mentor, a shining light of the footwear world, and this special award honours her memory.

“We need to ensure that the footwear industry has really bright talent for the future, and what better way to do it than with these fantastic awards,” said Lucy Rees-Raybould, CEO of the British Footwear Association.

Added John Peal, Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers (which is a City of London livery company that was granted the right to regulate the footwear trade in the City in 1272): “The awards are always a riot of colour, innovation and excellence and I can’t wait to see what our students produce this year.

The 2023 judging panel

“We are proud to embrace initiatives that will engage the top designers of tomorrow.”

In other news, Joanne Jorgensen, Materials Design Director (Footwear) at Nike, has joined this year’s judging panel.

She commented: “I feel very privileged to have been invited to judge the incredible work of so many talented students who have participated in the Cordwainer Footwear Awards 2023.”

Ms Jorgensen joins Katie Greenyer of Pentland Brands, Joachim Sedelmeier, Head of Design, Shoes, at Paul Smith, and Charlotte Olympia Dellal, international designer, on the 2023 judging panel.