Meet the 2024 Cordwainers Footwear Award Winners

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The newest Cordwainers Footwear Award winners were revealed at a ceremony held at Saddlers Hall in London last week.

Sixteen student finalists from the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London and De Montfort University competed to win the coveted Cordwainers Footwear Award Trophy as guests celebrated the tenth anniversary of the award.

As well as the main award, additional categories included the Sneaker/Athleisure Award, which recognizes the innovative design work in this area; and the Sustainability Award, which promotes the incredible work emerging to produce footwear designs that are environmentally sustainable.

The 2024 winners include first place winner George Nikiforakis and runner up Ethan Robinson, both from London College of Fashion. The Sustainable Development Award was received by Lu Zhou, also from London College of Fashion.

Joe Muir from De Montfort University took home the Sneaker/Athleisure Award, while Sophie Perrett, also from De Montfort University, and Therese Frank, from the London College of Fashion, each nabbed a commendation award.

“Winning first prize for such a prestigious award is honestly everything to me,” Nikiforakis said in a statement. “It has given me the confidence to really forge forward in an industry that I truly love.”

Monetary prizes this year include 3,000 pounds for first place, 2,000 pounds for the runner up and 1,500 pounds for both the Sustainable Development Award and Sneaker/Athleisure Award winners. The two commendation award winners each were awarded 500 pounds. The remaining ten finalists each received a prize of 100 pounds.

George Nikiforakis, Cordwainers Footwear Awards, shoe design
First place winner George Nikiforakis.

British footwear designer Sophia Webster, who also delivered this year’s keynote speech, was honored with this year’s Sue Saunders Award for Excellence. The award honors an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the footwear trade.

“Sue Saunders, who was my tutor at London College of Fashion, left behind big shoes to fill and I am incredibly honored to win this award,” Webster remarked. “The importance of the prizes provided by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers cannot be underestimated because they not only recognize talent, but also the commitment and hard graft that it takes to be outstanding.”

The main judging panel this year includes Joanne Jorgensen, materials design director of Nike Knit; Katie Greenyer creative director of Pentland Brands; Joachim Sedelmeier, head of shoe design at Paul Smith; and designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal.

“Being involved in the footwear awards is a rewarding creative light that gives the judges hope that the future of footwear is in the hands of extraordinary talent,” Greenyer added.

Established in 2014, the Cordwainers Footwear Awards not only offer footwear design students 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.

Sophia Webster, Judith Millidge, Cordwainers Footwear Awards
Judith Millidge and Sophia Webster.

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