Thursday, October 18th was the night that the Footwear Industry celebrated a new generation of emerging talent.

Both the leaders of the industry and a host of new talented designers of developing brands celebrated at the London Canal Museum near Kings Cross. The annual event, now firmly implanted in the industry’s calendar, was not only to celebrate the awards but also an opportunity to raise funds for Footwear Friends, the industry charity.

The Footwear Friends Annual Awards are now in their 12th year and in that time have been recognised by the trade as an important way of spotting and rewarding British talent in the Footwear Industry.

Guests who gathered at the event were addressed by the key note speaker, Claire Burrows of Air & Grace who won The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation in 2016.

The winners in the various categories are:

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Award for Innovation

 Ruth Emily Davey of RED Shoes was awarded a £ 5,000 bursary aimed at developing a Young Designer’s business. The Award is generously sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers and includes a 12-months mentoring programme by industry experts. The Senior Warden of The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Col. Nigel Easton QVRM TD, presented this year’s Award.


The Micro-Pak Ltd. Award

This year’s award went to Alice X Global. The award of £ 2,500 is designed to assist the development of exceptional British talent and also includes a 12-months mentoring programme. The Award was donated by Micro-Pak Ltd. and was presented to Stephen Peacock by Ben Wright.


 The BFA Award 

The Award for 2018 went to Matthew Taylor of Auxiliary. The winner of this award will receive guidance, mentoring and a year’s membership to the British Footwear Association. This award was presented by John Saunders, CEO of the BFA.

The judging panel consisted of Jamie Brogden of The Dune Group, Dominic Casey, Tim Cooper of Oliver Sweeney, Ben Wright of Micro-Pak Ltd and Julian Yorke of Clarks International. The judges were impressed by the great response by candidates for the competition who all put a great deal of work into their business plans and presentations. They were also very impressed with the high standard of their designs. Sadly there is only room for three winners of the awards, but there is no doubt in the quality of our home-grown talent. Guests were able to view some designs of a number of applicants.

Footwear Friends are grateful to the event sponsors without whom the evening would not be possible: Clarks International, Dune, Pavers Ltd, Shoezone, Start-rite Shoes Ltd., and the William Lamb Group and we are delighted that so many people attended the event and by doing so supported the trade’s unique charity.

Our thanks also goes to Skechers UK & Ireland, Jeffery-West, Boden and Schuh Ltd. for their generous donations of prizes to the raffle which took place on the night.

For further information on what we do and updates on some of our previous awards winners can be found on our website