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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear

Embellished, colourful boots on a black background.
Zia Lee | BA Cordwainers Footwear | 2021 | Photographer: Xinming Lia | London College of Fashion | University of Arts London
College
London College of Fashion
UCAS code
J445
Start date
September 2024
Course length
3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)

As the only footwear course in the world with Cordwainer’s heritage, this BA awakens truly creative shoe design through the powerful knowledge of craft.

BA Cordwainer’s Footwear enables your imaginative ideas to become physical, functional and prized pieces. Celebrating dynamic work, this course provides the skills to drive the Footwear business forwards and front a new era of innovation and creativity.

Placed within London’s rich, cultural and fashion scene, and with access to impressive facilities, the latest technology, digital software and skills passed directly from the Cordwainers, this course produces uniquely impressive shoe makers and designers. Students will leave with industry experience and the confidence to present distinct design ideas.

Welcome to an endlessly inspiring and creatively addictive discipline, where you can be a big voice in a small community. This course celebrates an impressive alumni list, each valued for their ability to bring remarkable design to life through the precision of technical skill. Graduates work for names such as Nicholas Kirkwood, Kurt Geiger, Jimmy Choo and Malone Souliers.

With a Cordwainer in almost every major design company, this is your time to find your unique place in the footwear industry.

Why choose this course at London College of Fashion

  • Career preparation: excellent vocational preparation for a career in innovative footwear design.
  • Facilities: unrivalled access to specialist facilities appropriate to the industry.
  • Sustainability: supports students to learn and develop new more sustainable practices, working at the forefront of changes within the industry.
  • Cordwainers and Leathersellers support: the Cordwainers and Leathersellers livery companies support the Cordwainers courses through prizes, scholarships and industrial visits.
  • Where graduates have gone on to work: recent Footwear graduates have gone on to work for Nicholas Kirkwood, Kurt Geiger, Jimmy Choo and Malone Souliers.

Open days

There are currently no Open Days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Course overview

Introduction

BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear is delivered with employment in the footwear industry in mind.  Taught by a notable team of Industry professionals, you will study a range of units that will equip you with the relevant creative and practical skills needed for contemporary design practices, but also prepare you with excellent communication, professional and business skills.

What to expect

  • This course focuses on producing graduates who are encouraged to make an innovative and visionary contribution to footwear product development within the global fashion industry.  
  • You will be exposed to debates and forward thinking around topics relevant to design in today’s world such as, Climate and Social justice and technology.
  • you may undertake live projects set by industry, including presentations to and from the companies involved.  
  • The Cordwainers and Leathersellers livery companies support the Cordwainers courses through prizes, scholarships and industrial visits. 

Work experience and opportunities

There is an opportunity to undertake an optional industry placement year between the second and final year of the course which will enhance the employability of students by offering valuable experience and contacts within the industry as well as earning an additional Diploma in Professional Studies (DIPS) qualification. 

Mode of study

BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear runs for 90 weeks in full time mode. It is divided into 3 stages over 3 academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. 

Climate, Social and Racial Justice

The course is committed to embedding UAL’s Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice. 

Course units

Stage 1

In Stage 1 students are required to complete 120 credits at level 4 in order to progress to Stage 2.

  • Introduction to Footwear (20 credits)
  • Footwear Design and Technologies (40 credits)
  • Footwear Skills Consolidation (40 credits)
  • Fashion Cultures and Histories (20 credits)

Stage 2

In Stage 2 students are required to complete 120 credits of which a minimum of 100 must be at level 5.

  • Circular Footwear Design (40 credits)
  • Critical Issues in Fashion Research (20 credits)
  • Future Footwear (20 credits)
  • Industry Skills for Footwear (40 credits)

Optional Diploma Year

Industry DIPS

This optional diploma can be taken between years 2 and 3. With support from your tutors, you’ll undertake an industry placement for a minimum of 100 days/20 weeks. As well as developing industry skills, you’ll gain an additional qualification upon successful completion.

Enterprise DIPS

This optional diploma can be taken between years 2 and 3. With support from your tutors, you’ll undertake an enterprise placement year where you will explore a business idea from proposal to minimal viable product (MVP). As well as developing enterprise skills, you’ll gain an additional qualification upon successful completion.

CCI Creative Computing

Between years 2 and 3, you can undertake the year-long Diploma in Creative Computing. This will develop your skills in creative computing alongside your degree. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear (with Creative Computing).

CCI Apple Diploma 

Between years 2 and 3, you can undertake the year-long Diploma in Apple Development. This will give you an opportunity to become an accredited apple developer alongside your degree. After successfully completing the diploma and your undergraduate degree, you’ll graduate with an enhanced degree: BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear (with Apple Development).

Stage 3

In Stage 3 students are required to complete 120 credits at level 6.

  • Final Major Project - Concept (40 credits)
  • Contextualising Practice (20 credits)
  • Final Major Project - Realisation (60 credits)

All students are entitled to a tutorial package that consists of:

  • one induction tutorial (group or one to one);
  • one tutorial per term for the duration for their course of study at LCF;
  • group tutorials as required;
  • an appropriate level of confidentiality.

Learning and teaching methods

The following teaching and learning methods are employed to support the integrated achievement of the course outcomes: 

We will be delivering the majority of sessions face to face with a small number of learning activities, such as personal tutorials or large group lectures offered online

  • Lectures. 
  • Seminars. 
  • Tutorials. 
  • Group and individual projects.
  • Critiques. (Both Tutor and Peer led)
  • Peer group presentations.
  • Practical workshops. 
  • Demonstrations. 
  • Open access Supervised studio access.
  • Visiting speakers.
  • Field trips. 
  • Self‐directed study.
  • Reflection and self‐evaluation.

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

Student and graduate work

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BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product and Innovation

Graduate work from the LCF summer series 2021

Latest news from this course

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Staff

Sarah Day is course leader and graduated from the original Cordwainers Technical College in the 1980s. 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 managed 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 London College of Fashion in 2006 and she has taught across all year groups.

Sarah has a goal to enthuse students with the same passion for shoes as she has, and hopes to share the same excitement and energy.  She positively encourages the fusion of traditional craft skills and new technology within footwear design and the course reflects this aspiration. Sarah is a member of the Cordwainers livery company as a Liveryman, and was recently was granted the Freedom of the City of London.  She regularly takes part in Livery events, including the Blenheim Triathlon, to raise funds for the Master’s charities.

Daphne Bikker studied Product Design at the Academy of Art and Design in Arnhem while learning the craft of traditional shoe making. After successfully completing her BA degree, Daphne moved to London to study for her MA in Footwear Design at the London College of Fashion. Soon after receiving a distinction for her MA collection she moved to China to work as a designer for United Nude. Her work embraced modern technology such as 3D printing and unconventional materials such as carbon fiber. While at United Nude Daphne has worked together with artist from different disciplines such as architects, fashion designers and performers. After 5 years of building the range and managing the design team in China, Daphne moved back to London and worked on her eponymous formal men's shoe brand combining traditional shoe making with contemporary techniques. She set up a workshop in London with industrial machinery where she handmade her samples. After a stint in Italy Daphne moved back to London as a Lecturer on the BA Footwear Product Design and Innovation course.

Dai Rees is programme director for the design and craft courses. He is an artist, designer, curator and academic. He launched his eponymous fashion label in the Nineties, showing collections at London Fashion Week and selling to some of the most famous boutiques in the world. His work is held in major public and private collections including at the V&A in London and the MET in New York.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements for this course are:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications.

  • 112 UCAS tariff points from two or more A Levels (preferred subjects include English, Maths, Art, Design, Textiles and Science);
  • Distinction Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • Distinction, Merit, Merit at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects Art & Design);
  • Merit at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access Diploma or 112 new UCAS tariff points from the Access to HE Diploma
  • 112 new UCAS tariff points from a combination of the above qualifications or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification
  • or equivalent EU or non-EU qualifications such as International Baccalaureate Diploma at 25 points minimum;
  • and three GCSE passes at grade A*-C or grade 9-4.

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that 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

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Please check our main English Language Requirements

Selection criteria

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

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

Home students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

J445

Start your application

Apply now

Application deadline

31 January 2024 at 18:00 (UK time)

If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

J445

Start your application
or

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course? What excites you about the subject?
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit the UCAS advice page and our personal statement advice page for more support.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 30 pages
  • feature work that best showcases your technical and practical skills
  • include research to demonstrate your understanding and exploration of the social and cultural contexts behind contemporary fashion
  • include work in progress as well as finished pieces to demonstrate your ability to experiment and develop ideas from initial concepts to final outcomes
  • be organised into a clear order to ensure your ideas are presented effectively.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.

Careers

All of our undergraduate courses offer career development, so that you become a creative thinker, making effective contributions to your relevant sector of the fashion industry.

LCF offers students the opportunity to develop Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills while studying through:

  • An on-course work experience or placement year. Please note, this is not available on every course; please see the Course Details section for information about work placement opportunities.
  • Access to to speaker programmes and events featuring alumni and industry.
  • Access to careers activities, such as CV clinics and one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Access to a graduate careers service
  • Access to a live jobsboard for all years.
  • Advice on setting up your own brand or company.

Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level can 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. Graduates have gained roles at a number of notable companies including: Kurt Geiger, Jimmy Choo, Malone Souliers, Inditex, Nicholas Kirkwood, Adele Clarke, Georgina Goodman, Topshop, Bloch International, Clarks Shoes, Stella McCartney, Sophia Webster and Dune.