Liz Ciokajlo

Liz Ciokajilo
Image courtesy of Liz Ciokajilo

Liz Ciokajlo graduated from MA Footwear in 2014 and is now working with companies as a consultant on concept development for footwear.

Could you introduce yourself and your current role? 

Footwear Designer and researcher  

How did you get to where you are today? 

Tenacity and by following my interest

What were your biggest challenges along the way? 

Financial, confidence and learning skills needed as technology and materials evolve.

Why did you choose to study MA Footwear at LCF?  

The heritage and reputation Cordwainers holds, talented staff and technical support, and Golden Lane workshops

What did you learn as part of the Masters that was different to the BA?

My BA was in industrial design and there I learned skills and about the design industry. On doing a master in a related but different design discipline I learned how to make shoes privately from Paul Thomas as prep for the MA. On the MA I learned how to set the parameters for my own work in both practice and theory, ultimately on the MA I learned to take risks.

Did you find London inspiring? 

I have lived in London for many years now. London is a brilliant city rich in creative thinking and history. The people are what keep London close to my heart.

Tell us about an average day at your job?

It varies depending on what I am working on. Every day I spend a bit of time researching. I use this research to generate ideas of new ways of looking at footwear constructions. I may draw; play with study mock-ups to think through and visualize ideas and translate this onto computer for prototyping. Some days may be spent on planning projects, generating proposals and of course the less enjoyable but necessary business side - accounts etc.… I also have a number of days a year teaching design as a visiting lecturer. 

What are your ambitions for the future? 

To understand and visualize in 3-D how new manufacturing and materials will define the continuum of design form.

What’s an ideal weekend for you? 

Spending time enjoying friends and family. 

What is your top tip for people who want to get into roles like yours? 

Connect with people who understand more than you do about craft and manufacturing. 

Three words all shoe designers should live by… 

Craftsmanship, serendipity, curiosity

What’s the most important thing you wish you had known when you started out? 

Be a master of your own interest, there are incredible staff at LCF to guide you to your potential.

In your opinion what are the Do’s and Don’ts of being a designer?

Do respect everyone, do work as a team, and do build your craft. Don't give up.