Course Director Sue Saunders introduces BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation, a course that focuses on design, development and technical skills, and has many links with industry.
Tell us about your professional experience and background?
After working as an in-house designer for several companies, rising from junior designer to design director, I started my international freelance design studio creating ranges for the European market. Travelling to Europe, South America, India and the Far East my client list was diverse; from the Korean Government to Calvin Klein produced in Brazil. At this point, I began teaching a few classes at Cordwainers College and later was invited to be the footwear specialism tutor at the Royal College of Art, a new addition to the School of Fashion MA courses. When Cordwainers was taken over by LCF I became the course leader for the BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation course in addition to working at the RCA and relinquished my freelance business in favour of education.
What makes your course unique?
The cohesive mix of design, shoemaking, business and marketing and cultural studies, plus the unique opportunity to do a placement year in industry giving students a year’s experience in the workplace.
What, if anything, have you found surprising about teaching on this course?
Every year, just when you think you’ve seen it all, some students will surprise you with completely new ideas. That is the joy of teaching. What inspires and excites you in terms of your area of practice? New technologies creating what couldn’t be achieved in the past. Mixing traditional techniques with 21st century technologies to add a new dimension to the area.
What could graduates of the course go on to do?
Students become designers, product developers, buyers, and some have even developed careers in PR and event management.
And briefly, how would you sum up the LCF experience to prospective students?
Exciting, demanding, challenging, positive, life enhancing, offering an enormous range of opportunity to students who are prepared to give their all, set in the fashion capital of the UK.
What words would you use to summarise the overall output from the design and technology courses?
Brave, experimental, diverse, passionate, professional, encompassing fashion; from contour through to outerwear, footwear and accessories.
How do staff work together to enhance the student experience?
Sharing ideas and good practice, both formally in teaching observations and meetings and informally in social situations. Additional lectures and classes from the CDG to inspire and develop fashion understanding, drawing and presentation skills. CLs/PDs organising lectures for groups of courses where the speaker is of value to all of those courses.