• CollegeLCF
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)
  • UCAS codeW243

BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation

This footwear design course prepares you for a successful career as a product designer and developer in the exciting field of fashion footwear.

About this course

The BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation course, situated in the School of Design and Technology, is concerned with the design, development and realisation of fashion footwear products for the fashion footwear industry. You will learn the skills of research, how to produce initial design ideas, and how to develop designs through to a finished 3D prototype. You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the fashion footwear industry, its markets, and the particular role of the fashion footwear product designer and developer within the industry. 

Footwear by Meline Katchi, 2014

Meline Katchi, 2014. View Showtime Profile

Student work for Tommy Hilfiger industry project

View industry project

Tommy Hilfiger challenged students to design a range for the pre-fall 2013 season, inspired by their ‘Prep Passport' trend directions

White shoes
Student Ganna Domnich, 2015

Ganor Dominic by Ganna Domnich, 2015

Work by BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear student Hyun Seon Jeon

Hyun Seon Jeon, 2013 - view Showtime profile

Black and gold geometric heels with a clear orange overlay.
Fashion: Yena Ahn

Yena Ahn, 2014 - view Showtime profile

Work by BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear student Jorn Olsthoorn

Jorn Olsthoorn, 2013 - view Showtime profile

Girl with nude coloured shoes on.
Lauren Betourney, 2015

Lauren Betourney, 2015

How to make a shoe

Why study footwear at LCF? Students, alumni, tutors, technicians and industry give their thoughts.

Geology of Shoes: Footwear by Barbora Vesela, 2013. Film by Petr Krejčí.


Course detail

This course is subject to revalidation. Revalidation is a process that makes sure students get a high quality academic experience. During revalidation there may be some changes to course content. Please contact us if you have any questions about this course.

On BA (hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation you will study a range of units that will equip you with the relevant professional, communication and business skills, and undertake live projects set by industry where there will be presentations to and from the companies involved.

You will have the option of doing a placement year between the second and final year of the course. Successful completion of this year will give you an additional qualification, and you will have the opportunity to make contacts and build relationships within the industry before the end of your studies. This course focuses on producing graduates who are encouraged to make an innovative and visionary contribution to footwear product development within the fashion industry.

The Cordwainers and Leathersellers livery companies support the Cordwainers courses through prizes, scholarships and industrial visits. Cordwainers Footwear is one of a group of fashion product courses, all of which are designed and delivered with employment in the relevant industry in mind.

Course structure

Year one  -  stage one  -  level 4  -  120 credits 

Term one: Introduction to Footwear (20 credits); Product Technologies (20 credits)

Term two: Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Product Creativity and Communication (20 credits)

Term three: Product Design and Development (40 credits)


Year two  -  stage two  -  level 5  - 120 credits

Term one: Cultural and Historical Studies (20 credits); Creative Professional Practice (20 credits)

Term two: Research Methods for Product Development (20 credits); Creative Industry Practice (20 credits)

Term three: Industry Project (40 credits)


Professional placement year (optional)

Diploma in Professional Studies


Final year  -  stage three  -  level 6  -  120 credits

Term one: Concept Development (40 credits)

Terms one two and three: Contextualising Your Practice (20 credits)

Terms two and three: Product Design and Realisation (60 credits)

Students on this course might be invited to participate in study trips. This may involve, for example, visits to key areas of capital cities, factories, stores and museums. Attendance on these trips is not compulsory but recommended. Details regarding timings and costs will be issued closer to the relevant trips.

Course units

Year one

In the first term you will study two units.

Introduction to Footwear This unit aims to introduce you to your course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge-base needed to understand your discipline and help you to develop your skills for independent & collaborative learning, reflection and your own self development. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable you to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.

Product Technologies will introduce you to the essential skills of pattern cutting, construction methods, production techniques and prototyping skills required for the development and realisation of fashion footwear. This will be through both workshop demonstrations and your own practice.

In the second term you will study two units.

Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment. Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.

Product Creativity and Communication explores the creative design process and introduces a series of practical skills including research, finding inspiration, initial ideas for fashion footwear, design development, design finalisation, drawing skills and presentation skills. You will learn the essential skills of communicating your work to others.  

In the third term you will bring all your learning and developed skills so far to answering a complete research, design, development and realisation brief for fashion footwear product. Through the Product Design and Development unit you will begin to develop your understanding of the industry, fashion trends, materials for fashion footwear, market level, consumer behaviour, competitors, and ethical and sustainable fashion issues. Some of your research will be undertaken in small groups, as successful team working skills are essential for working in industry. You will individually develop your research and design ideas, culminating in a final range plan and presentation sheets. From within your range you will pattern cut and develop a 2D design into a 3D final product prototype.

Year two

In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies unit of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.

The Creative Professional Practice unit introduces you to the global context of the fashion industry and the study of design and development for a specified market. You will explore areas that will affect the development of a product, such as sustainable and ethical sourcing, and the environments in which the product will be consumed. This will develop your critical thinking around design and technology and allows you to undertake industry-relevant briefs.

In the second term the Research Methods for Product Development unit develops your existing skills by examining the philosophy and practice of modes of research. You will learn about relevant marketing tools, customer markets and business analysis, and this will enable you to choose the most appropriate research method for a particular project. This prepares you for later projects where research skills are needed by helping you explore what research you need to do, how you will be doing it and how you will manage and evaluate the process.

The Creative Industry Practice unit tests your critical thinking; broaden your professional skills set and your ability to develop an innovative individual response to the brief. You will develop your creative, strategic and practical skills through traditional methods as well as technologically based developments in order to communicate strong visual and written responses. You will use your critical judgement to develop appropriate outcomes and evaluate and justify your solutions.

In the third term the Industry Project unit gives you the opportunity to consolidate the primary and secondary research skills you have learnt by responding to live industry-set challenges. Your creative, practical and strategic skills will be developed through the industry-led brief, and you will identify your personal strengths and interests.

The work throughout the second year is focussed on live projects with national and international companies and brands. Recent industry projects and collaborations have included the exciting project across courses at the College with English National Ballet and the V&A, and various specific projects with companies including Camper, Irregular Choice, Berghaus, Boudicca and Hugo Boss. Often the companies take student designs through to further development for their ranges. This year there has been a project with the British Council working with the traditional crafts of Uzbekistan resulting in an exhibition and reception at the Uzbekistan Embassy in Holland Park. The best student won a trip to Tashkent for Uzbekistan Fashion Week. Projects with Topshop and Tommy Hilfiger led to Topshop vouchers for the winner and runner up at Topshop, with four students offered placements, and a six month placement for the winner and a generous cash prize for the runner up at Hilfiger.

Professional placement year

This year is optional. If you take up this opportunity you will undertake a 30-week industrial placement, where you get to experience the atmosphere, pace and discipline of working within the fashion industry by total involvement in the day to day activities of a company. You will be required to write a report on your placement, which will develop your study skills and allow you to demonstrate your research, analytical and evaluative skills. Successful completion of the year will give you the additional qualification of a Diploma in Professional Studies. Recent placements have included Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, Rupert Sanderson, Nicholas Kirkwood and Boudicca in London, American Eagle and DKNY in New York, Mexx in the Netherlands and Adidas in Germany.

Final year

In the first term you will undertake the Concept Development unit which provides the foundation from which you will be able to formulate your own innovative and enterprising project and strategy for the major piece of fashion footwear product design and development work that you will do in the final two terms. This work will be industrially relevant and informed by appropriate research. This unit allows you to explore and justify the means by which this work can be realised, and will demonstrate to the industry your direction and potential career path.

Contextualising Your Practice in the first and second term affords you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the critical and analytical perspectives developed within cultural and historical theory and your ability to apply these in a specific study. You will research the topic you identified in the Research Methods unit, which will lead to the production of an extended essay. It is the opportunity for you to undertake a substantial piece of structured research that examines in depth practical and theoretical issues related to your field of practice; it will build on the critical debates and concerns raised throughout your course.

The Product Design and Realisation unit is the culmination of your study through an extended negotiated project. You will be able to demonstrate your ability to utilise concept development outcomes through using research and experimentation to achieve the design development and realisation of your own range of fashion footwear for a specified sector of the market. This major piece of work gives you the opportunity to show your understanding of the key role of the designer/product developer within the fashion footwear industry.

In the final year two students won Jimmy Choo scholarships, a student won the Cordwainers Cup for Excellence, and one student won a place on the renowned Camper Summer Workshop in Mallorca.

Showing your work

All students are advised to set up a profile on portfolio.arts.ac.uk, UAL’s new portfolio platform, which can be done at any point during your time at LCF and will last for up to 12 months after graduation. This platform is often used to source student work for promotional use on the website, social media and for print and can be a great way of getting your work seen. You may also be asked to have a portfolio profile for the selection process when it comes to degree shows.


Sarah Day is Course Leader and graduated from the original Cordwainers Technical College in the 80's. A childhood obsession with drawing shoes became a career and Sarah has enjoyed a prolific commercial presence developing designs for a wide range of companies, such as Clarks and Pentland PLC’s brands, such as Lacoste. She set up her own design consultancy in 1997, specialising in Far Eastern sourcing, and managing an impressive client list which included her former employers Clarks and other well known high street companies such as M&S and Next. She began teaching at Cordwainers at LCF initially part time in 2006. Since then, she has taught across all year groups and has specific responsibility for the 2nd year Footwear students. She champions the use of Workflow across the Product and Craft Programmes. Sarah is a supporter of the Cordwainers livery company taking part in events, including the Blenheim triathlon, to raise funds for the Masters charity. She is a newly elected Freeman of the Cordwainers Livery company.

Part shoe maker, part inventor, Benjamin John Hall is committed to producing advanced projects in footwear. Conceptually orientated and often exploring design and manufacturing processes his work challenges today’s notions of footwear. Pieces are made by hand in London – by himself and his team over a lengthly research and development period. His experimental work attracts attention and discussion from fashion stylists, photographers, magazine editors, and film-makers, and has been exhibited worldwide. The dramatic use of both film and live performance have become characteristics of his work, using them as a platform to present new collections. Hall studied at London College of Fashion’s Cordwainers College and as a footwear designer has worked with factories all over the world including Italy, Portugal, China, India and the UK. He has lectured at Central Saint Martins, the London College of Fashion and has acted as a technical consultant at the Royal College of Art. He has designed both successful commercial collections and also won multiple awards for his avant-garde works.

Ian Goff grew up in a world of shoes as his Father worked for the Royal Shoemakers H&M Rayne, he would spend many a school holiday and weekend joining him at work. He trained as a footwear designer and maker at the Cordwainers College. Ian then worked for Nafi Mustafa as a design assistant moving on to G.H.Warner Footwear as a product developer and range planner. This involved working with factories in India, China, Thailand, and Spain to produce footwear for a wide range of retailers such as River island, Marks & Spencer & Debenhams to name a few. This gave Ian a good grounding in the industry to have the confidence and desire to develop his own brand of men’s footwear selling to small independent retailers in the UK. It was during this time that Ian was asked to do some teaching at LCF and is now a full time member of the teaching team.

All of the in-house technicians and the footwear specialist visiting lecturers have experience in the industry or have run their own businesses; many have done both. They are passionate about the subject area, enjoy passing their knowledge on to the next generation and integrating emerging technologies into traditional techniques to create new solutions to design problems.

Darla Gilroy is the Programme Director for the Design and Craft group of courses, including this one, within the School of Design and Technology. She has worked in design education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for over twenty years at Cordwainers College, at Winchester School of Art, where she developed a number of research projects, and at the Royal College of Art, where, in addition to being Specialist Tutor in Footwear and Accessories, she undertook a funded research project on the ‘Ethnicity of Cool’. 

Rob Phillips is the Creative Director for the School of Design and Technology. Trained in fashion womenswear, surface textiles: print, menswear and illustration Rob went on to become the Fashion Editor for International Textiles magazine and consultant for fashion brands. Rob's broad skill set of fashion design, process, graphics, presentation, typography, advertising and communication led to his appointment as Creative Director of Fashion Forecast magazine, where his progressive work promoting young fashion talent garnered him much acclaim from industry. Rob continues to nurture talent at LCF across all courses within the School, teaching holistically about fashion, developing the students’ full potential so they can make their unique contribution to the fashion industry. He furthers the work of the College through many routes, including industry projects, collaborations and competitions. He also curates and directs the School’s events including fashion shows, films, photoshoots, publications and exhibitions. Rob continues to contribute to industry as a fashion commentator (BBC, The Guardian, SHOWstudio and more) and as creative consultant for fashion brands.

José Teunissen is Dean of the School of Design and Technology at London College of Fashion, UAL, and Professor of Fashion Theory. José previously worked as Professor, a journalist for several Dutch newspapers and Dutch broadcast television, and was curator Fashion and Costume at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht (1998-2006).

At ArtEZ in 2002, José was one of the first Professors in the Netherlands to conduct research and develop theory in the field of fashion. In 2008, she set up the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) research project National Identity in a Globalised World, working closely with Radboud University Nijmegen and other universities of applied sciences. José took various hot items from the fashion industry, including the effects of globalisation, sustainability and technology, and used them as the basis for research projects, publications and exhibitions in association with ArtEZ Press, which earned her an excellent international reputation.

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and seek to recruit students from diverse socio-economic, cultural and educational backgrounds. We are committed to supporting all our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

Home/EU applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

Applications are now open for 2018/19 entry.

You must apply through Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), where you’ll need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W243

Go to ‘Apply’ from the UCAS home page, where you will be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form.

Contact us on: 

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7514 7344

Or you can use the UAL Course Enquiry Form

Please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

International applicants

This section includes information on how to apply, course entry requirements, selection criteria, information about interviews and portfolio advice.

Applications are now open for 2018/19 entry.

International applicants may apply through one of three routes only:

Further information on applying via UCAS is provided on the Applying through UCAS page.

If applying through UCAS, you will need the following information:

  • University code: U65
  • UCAS code: W243

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page.

We continue to accept applications throughout the year, but please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.

For full details on the application process, visit the Undergraduate application page or contact the UAL admissions team who can answer any specific questions that you may have regarding LCF's courses tailored for international students. This can include guidance for your portfolio, advice on the application process and fee advice. We offer a ‘drop-in’ facility for applicants who may be in London and wish to obtain further course and admissions information.

Entry requirements

Entry to this course is highly competitive: applicants are expected to achieve, or already have, the course entry requirements detailed below

Course entry requirements

  • The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:
  • Two A Level Passes at Grade C or Above Preferred subjects include English, Maths, Art, Design, Textiles and Science
  • Pass Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • Merit, Pass, Pass at BTEC Extended Diploma preferred subjects Art & Design
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access Diploma or ’64 tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma
  • Or 64 new UCAS tariff points (equivalent to 160 old UCAS tariff points) from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification
  • Or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications
  • And three GCSE passes at grade A*-C

Exceptionally, applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The level required by the University for this course is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each skill.

Please visit the UAL Language Requirements page. Read carefully and look at the relevant documents. 

Student selection criteria

What we look for

The course team seeks to recruit students who can demonstrate:

  • A current awareness of fashion for footwear in terms of material developments, new designers and fashion trends
  • A potential to achieve a high standard of technical manufacture
  • An ability to record and develop design ideas through the vehicle of drawing
  • The ability to work as a member of a team
  • The ability to work independently to develop your own knowledge and skills acquired on the course

This might, for example, be demonstrated by: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement, a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

Portfolio and interview advice

For this course you will be required to upload a mini portfolio. Further instructions will be sent by the course administrator after application submission. International students should contact the Admissions Office at lcf.international@arts.ac.uk to find out about the portfolio application process.

For this course your portfolio should show evidence of: ability to present ideas visually; a level of research, experimentation and development; technical and practical ability; effective presentation techniques; and contemporary fashion and cultural awareness.

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the following at interview: a current awareness of fashion and fashion footwear in terms of material developments, new designers and fashion trends; a potential to achieve a high standard of technical manufacture; an ability to record and develop design ideas through the medium of drawing; the ability to work as a member of a team; and the ability to work independently to develop your own knowledge and skills acquired on the course.

What happens next

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the course team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry requirements and What we look for sections.

Depending on the quality of your application, you may be asked to submit a number of images of your work. If the course team wish to consider your application further, you will be invited to an interview where the course team will look at your portfolio and ask you questions to establish your suitability for the course. If you are successful at the interview stage you will be offered a place. Applicants are not guaranteed to be asked to upload work, nor are they guaranteed an interview.

Please note that if you are unable to attend, the College may not be able to re-schedule.

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS through ucastrack. You will only receive further communication directly from the College if your application has been successful. This will be in the form of a full offer pack including details of accommodation, fees, and other important information.

Deferred Entry

Deferred entry is normally only allowed in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before you submit your application if you are considering applying for deferred entry.

Interview week

Applicants on some courses may be invited to attend an Interview. Further details will be sent to you with your interview letter, confirming location and date. International applicants should contact the Admission Office by emailing lcf.international@arts.ac.uk about portfolio requirements (if applicable), interview times and dates.

Potential changes to course structure

Please note: the information outlined is an indicative structure of the course. Whilst we will aim to deliver the course as described on this page, there may be situations where it is desirable or necessary for the University to make changes in course provision, for example because of regulatory requirements or operational efficiencies, before or after enrolment. If this occurs, we will communicate all major changes to all applicants and students who have either applied or enrolled on the course. Please note that due to staff research agreements or availability, not all of the optional modules listed may be available every year. In addition, the provision of course options which depend upon the availability of specialist teaching, or on a placement at another institution, cannot be guaranteed. Please check this element of the course with the course team before making a decision to apply.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please use the enquiry form above.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee


This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2017/18 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee


This applies for the 2018/19 academic year.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Developing your skills

All of our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry.

Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.

Career paths

Many graduates prefer to seek employment as soon as they have completed their undergraduate studies. Recent Footwear graduates have obtained positions as assistant designers for Nicholas Kirkwood, Adele Clarke and Georgina Goodman, as designers for Topshop and Bloch International, and as a junior account manager in marketing with Clarks Shoes. Graduates this year have obtained employment with Stella McCartney, Sophia Webster, Dune and Clarks.