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Cordwainers Awards 2021 Winners from LCF

Collection of footwear designed by Kamile Peleckyte
  • Written byJ Tilley and M Fields
  • Published date 21 July 2021
Collection of footwear designed by Kamile Peleckyte

Two LCF students have scooped prizes at the annual Cordwainers Student of the Year award.

The Cordwainers are shoemakers who practice the trade from within the boundaries of the City Of London. The association focuses on nurturing upcoming talent in the fashion and shoemaking industries.

Louise Piertzyk was awarded the brand new Sustainability prize for 'Beans On Toast', also finishing as a runner up for the Graduate Showcase Enterprise awards for the same project.

Kamile Peleckyte claimed second place in the Cordwainers Student of the Year award.  We interviewed both of the students below on their achievements.

Louise Pietrzyk
Photo of Louise with a park in the background.

First of all, congratulations on taking home the new Sustainability Prize! Can you tell us what the prize represents and how you felt when you found out that you had won? 

Thank you! Being announced the winner of the newest award, the Sustainability prize, is a huge honour and I am completely overjoyed with this achievement. This represents a recognition of my work creating a sustainable and marketable shoe brand.

In the fashion industry, it seems that sustainable design is making real progress and is a recognised and desired standard by most consumers which is incredible (and rightly so). This Sustainability prize by Cordwainers encompasses this new industry standard and I’m so proud that my work has been celebrated with this title.

What does this achievement mean to you and your career as a footwear designer?

The Cordwainers Awards has been a goal of mine since my first year of University. I attended the physical awards in both my first and second year and dreamt that one day it would be me receiving an award. I always planned on making a Unisex collection for my final year and never predicted that I would find my true passion for designing Kids shoes and winning a Cordwainers award.

This award is definitely something I will carry with me for the rest of my life and will definitely remain an integral part of my career as a Footwear Designer. My aim is to one day set up the Beans on Toast brand so the recognition of this award has really motivated me to get things going.

Tell us about your submission – did you already have your idea planned? What did you produce?

My project is called ‘Beans on Toast’ and it’s a baby and kids sustainable footwear brand that aims to educate consumers about important topics happening in our World today through storytelling.

Louise in a workshop with footwear

My final collection features a storybook that was made in collaboration with Francesca Spinks, a 2020 LCC graduate and talented Illustrator. I produced a collection of 9 shoes; a stingray, turtle, starfish, shark, fish, octopus, crab, jellyfish and coral. I handmade four of the shoes, the octopus and crab which were required by the course and submitted for grading. After which in my spare time, I made the starfish and stingray shoes.

What would you say you have most enjoyed about the time on your course?

I have most enjoyed being in the workshops and making shoes. It’s so cool to say to people ‘oh yeah, I design shoes for a living.' It’s funny to see people’s reactions when they don’t believe you at first and are then blown away after you explain it to them.

Learning from experienced shoemakers and pattern cutters made the course authentic and well managed. The staff have truly made the course unique with their trade knowledge and honest opinions. Learning from them has been very inspiring.

Furthermore, being surrounded by other creatives and talented shoemakers made my time on the course enjoyable.

The nature of your art is very practical, so how did you navigate working through the past year?

After working remotely in Spain for Zara Home during the pandemic, I had to stay organised with all my design work and made sure to work efficiently towards set goals and deadlines for myself. It is easy to become unmotivated when working from home and get distracted by your surroundings, so after working remotely I learnt how to stay organised and focused.

This really helped me during my final year as I was able to separate work and home and also stay on top of all my projects

But most importantly, separating your work and home life is very important. I would sit at my desk for University work and on my bed for free time. Taking breaks and going for walks kept me motivated and reminded me that I do have a personal life outside of my house.

Do you have any advice for those looking to join BA Footwear at LCF?

Try designing everything, men's, women's, kids, accessories. You might be surprised by what you love. Be creative with what you have at home and think outside of the box.

What are your plans for life after graduation?

Firstly, I am going to take a well-deserved break. I need to relax and take some of the pressure off myself after working so hard for a year. I plan on going back to Spain to visit my friends and enjoy a mini holiday in the sun (hopefully some restrictions will be lifted by then). Next, I’m going to apply for jobs and particularly look for Kids Footwear jobs before applying to Women’s and Men’s roles. Kids Footwear design is my true passion and I am hoping to find an opportunity best suited for me. I am also applying for awards and hoping to get my brand Beans on Toast recognised so that I can get some financial help and guidance starting up the company.

Kamile Peleckyte
Photo of Kamile Peleckyte

Congratulations Kamile! How did you feel when you found out?

Obviously, it's a really joyful moment. In your first year, you’re told about these awards, so for four years, you have it in mind. And that's one of your goals at the end to be like, even from first-year being like, okay, I'm going to do well. And I'm going to get to the level that I could be top 15 and to get selected for these awards. When you get selected, it’s really joyful and you realise that you got to represent the University.

Do you think this might change anything for you in your career as a footwear designer?

I think like in general, every artist is doubting themselves, and I went through a big journey of doubting myself in my life, asking questions like “what are you doing creatively?” “Is this okay?” And then you just get a big approval and it’s a push for yourself, as a footwear designer, to believe that you can do this and you can succeed in this industry. You get a lot of promotion from this, but I think for me so far, it's been just a journey of building more confidence in succeeding in this industry and feeling like this is my true path.

Please tell us about the idea that you proposed and the idea that you planned.

The whole idea of my concept is based on light pollution, and it's become quite personal at one point because it just in a way for me because I'm from Lithuania. I grew up in a really small town and the sky would be full of stars in the nighttime. You don’t really see stars anymore - in London, there are people even growing up without seeing Milky Ways!

What I produced for submission was a five model collection and the in at the end, I created two pieces. One of them was this statement piece, big boots that were inspired by talking about the [effect that] light pollution has on birds because in general, I was really passionate about them. When I found out that there are billions of birds dying because of light pollution, it became one of my main points to approach through my design. So yeah, just I really put a lot of craftsmanship work into that.

An assortment of heeled boots interspersed with pictures of birds.

What would you say you've most enjoyed about the time on the course?

I was really sad to miss out on workshops this year, because this is probably the most joyful part for me, spending time in our Golden Lane building, which is just adorable! I also just enjoyed meeting people; everybody on the course is really a true footwear lover. It's not just about our love for British shoes either! You’re surrounded by like-minded people, so you immediately find friendships, and then it’s just time being spent together in Golden Lane making shoes with friends. I think that I appreciated them the most. And I'm going to definitely miss it when I leave.

Do you have any advice for anyone that's looking to join footwear at LCF?

I think if you really feel that passion for Footwear, you definitely have to just do it! This is a good place to be in, and this university can take you to really good places after and open up a lot of roads. You do have to be really dedicated and full-on; we do have a love for it. Dedicate your passion and life to this because it's only four years of studies, and they fly.