New footwear workshop opened on University of Northampton’s Avenue campus

From left: university vice chancellor Professor Nick Petford, subject leader for fashion and textiles Dr Julie King, clerk to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers John Miller and recent graduate Helen Kirkum
From left: university vice chancellor Professor Nick Petford, subject leader for fashion and textiles Dr Julie King, clerk to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers John Miller and recent graduate Helen Kirkum

Student footwear designers at the University of Northampton have been given the opportunity to benefit from a new workshop and degree programme.

The new facility, at the university’s Avenue Campus, will provide students with extra space to produce their footwear creations alongside existing studios.

The opening of the new workshop, which was attended by John Miller, clerk to the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers. coincides with the launch of the standalone BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories course.

Mr Miller said: “It’s a very exciting time for the University of Northampton and our company has been associated with the University ever since its footwear course commenced and we have been offering scholarships and bursaries since then.

“We’ve always felt there’s great opportunity for Northampton as the centre of the shoe industry and the University has the ability to build on the pedigree of the footwear industry that’s based here – Northampton is where it all happens and that’s a great advantage for its students.”

High profile names in the footwear industry who learnt their trade at the university include John Saunders, CEO of the British Footwear Association, Mark Jeffery and Guy West from designer label Jeffery West and Helen Kirkum, footwear and accessories designer and recent graduate of the University.

More than 25 manufacturers are still operating within Northamptonshire, with big names, such as Dr Martens, Church & Co, and Crockett & Jones.

Dr Julie King, subject leader for fashion and textiles at the university, said: “We are all delighted to have such an incredible resource now available to our footwear and accessories students. It will help them become more technically proficient than ever before and builds on the amazing footwear heritage of Northampton.”