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BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation

Start date
September 2019
Course length
3 years / 4 years (with placement year in industry)
UCAS code

Course summary

Applications open for 2019/20 entry. See the ‘How to Apply’ tab for more information

This footwear design course equips you with the skills for a successful career as a product designer or footwear designer, in this specialist industry.


On BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation students learn to research, how to produce initial design ideas, and how to develop designs through to a finished 3D prototype.

Great reasons to apply

  • Excellent vocational preparation for a career in innovative footwear design
  • Unrivaled access to specialist facilities appropriate to the industry.
  • The Cordwainers and Leathersellers livery companies support the Cordwainers courses through prizes, scholarships and industrial visits.
  • Recent Footwear graduates have gone on to work for Nicholas Kirkwood, Adele Clarke and Topshop.


This course is based at Golden Lane. Find out about the local area, including Clerkenwell, Barbican and Shoreditch, in our local area guides on the Student Life pages.

Student and graduate work

Portfolio gallery

Latest news from this course

Edda Gimmes

Five LCF alumni that made news waves this year

2017 has been an eventful year and one that saw LCF alumni making news headlines across the world, from JW Anderson winning at the Fashion Awards to working with Uniqlo, Nadia […]


Library, John Princes Street

LCF library and archives

Take a tour of LCF's world renowned fashion library, ideal for research and study.

Mfundo Mahlangu from BA Cordwainers Footwear- Product Design and Innovation; Photographer Alys Tomlinson

Footwear, accessories and jewellery facilities

Take a tour of Golden Lane's workshops and leather room

Canteen, Mare Street

LCF's social spaces

Explore our social spaces, for collaborative study and breaks, across our six sites in London.

Course details

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

The academic year for this course is divided into Block 1 and Block 2.

Block 1 is of 15 weeks duration from late September to February. In accordance with the University timetable, there will be a four week holiday in December.

Block 2 is also of 15 weeks’ duration from mid-February to the end of June with a four week holiday for Easter.

Year one

  • Introduction to Footwear
  • Product Design and Technologies
    Product Creativity
  • Better Lives
  • Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies

Year two

  • Professional Practice
  • Cultural and Historical Studies Options
  • Creative Design
  • Industry Project

Diploma in Professional Studies (optional professional placement year)

Final year

  • Concept Vision
  • Contextualising Your Practice
  • Concept Realisation

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

Introduction to Footwear 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. This Unit has three core purposes:

  • to introduce you to your discipline in the context of study at a Higher Education level;
  • to introduce you to learning skills and the requirements of effective studentship at undergraduate level;
  • to orientate you within your course, the College and the University.

Emphasis is placed on the skills needed to locate, navigate and communicate information and ideas effectively and appropriately. You will be introduced to resources that support your studies. We will also discuss studentship, the importance of being an engaged and participatory member of the group and your own personal and professional development.

Product Design and Technologies will introduce you to essential technical skills required for the development and production of products within your specialised area of study. Through workshop demonstrations and practice you will learn about the materials and processes involved, along with the pattern cutting, construction methods, production techniques and prototyping skills that are necessary to become a successful product developer. You will then consider how these processes can be applied to your design ideas. You will also be introduced to health and safety requirements within the workshop areas.

Product Creativity explores the creative design process for product development. You will be introduced to a series of practical skills that a designer must work through when developing new ideas for products. Research and inspiration are always the starting points within the design process. These will lead you on to initial ideas, design development and design finalisation focused on an end consumer. An important part of design is how you communicate your ideas to others and the overall presentation of your work. In this unit, you will be introduced to team working.

Better Lives

London College of Fashion, UAL (LCF) is a leader in fashion design, media and business education. We have been nurturing creative talent for over a century, offering courses in all things fashion. We encourage students to examine the past and challenge the present. To have inventive, assertive ideas that challenge social and political agendas. We give students the skills, opportunities – and above all, the freedom – to put those ideas into practice. By leading the way in fashion design, business, and the media, we influence culture, economics and our society. This unit will provide you with a solid understanding of LCF’ core values and how they connect to your practice. As part of this unit you will explore diversity, social responsibility and sustainability, themes which you will then apply to a selected project. At this stage the emphasis is on how you apply your thinking across these important themes to your practice. Your thinking is more important than a finished piece of work at this point. Fashion can change lives. Through teaching, specialist research, and collaborative work, this unit will get you thinking differently. We want you to use fashion to examine the past, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live. That’s why we call this unit ‘Better Lives’.

Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces the Cultural and Historical Studies approach to fashion and related areas. The unit provides a broad overview of the subject and introduces key concepts and ways of thinking that will form the basis of subsequent study. It will also inform decisions regarding the Cultural and Historical Studies unit that is chosen for future study.

Year two

The Professional Practice unit introduces you to the global context of the fashion industry and the study of design and development for a specified market. It explores areas that will affect the development of a product, such as sustainable and ethical sourcing, costing and the environments in which the product will be consumed. This unit will further develop your critical thinking around design and technology for your specialist area and allow you to engage with industry relevant project briefs and challenges.

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 Design unit will develop your critical thinking; broaden your professional skills set and support your innovative individual response to the brief. Creative, strategic and practical skills will be developed through traditional and contemporary techniques in order to communicate strong visual and written responses. You will use critical judgement and current ethical debate to inform and develop appropriate outcomes and evaluate and justify your solutions.

In the Industry Project unit you will consolidate your understanding of research methods in relation to industry-set challenges. Through undertaking a live or simulated industry brief your knowledge and professional understanding of the design and product development processes will be enhanced. This unit will support you in thinking differently, to fuse creative, practical and entrepreneurial skills within an industrial context.

Professional placement year

Diploma in Professional Studies (optional professional placement year)
The Diploma in Professional Studies (the Diploma) is a University of the Arts London Award for a period of professional placement of at least 30 weeks duration. The placement is undertaken after successful completion of stage 2 of the four-year Bachelor’s degree or a five-year integrated Master’s degree. The 30 weeks must be completed in full.
The Diploma in Professional Studies aims to:

  • develop an appreciation of the culture and practice of the work place;
  • put course content and study into perspective;
  • develop transferable skills;
  • enhance students' opportunities for career or academic progression.

There is flexibility to combine a placement in industry either in the United Kingdom or overseas (of at least 20 weeks) with a period of studying abroad (of at least 10 weeks). It is recommended that the placement in industry be with one organisation for a minimum of 30 weeks (if you are not undertaking a period of studying abroad) to benefit fully from your placement experience. In exceptional circumstances more than one placement in industry can occur to meet the minimum requirements for the award of the Diploma. During the placement, your academic studies continue through the compilation of a written report and reflection, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges relating to the professional placement. This not only continues the development of your study skills but also allows the ongoing development of your research, analytical and evaluative skills

Final year

The Concept Vision unit will provide a platform from which you will be able to formulate an innovative and enterprising, self-initiated concept and strategy to underpin the rest of your final year of study. This will enable you to embody knowledge, creative thinking and experience gained and present a major piece of product design and development work. It should be intellectually explored, viable for your chosen market and informed by appropriate theory, ethical debate, research and development.

Contextualising Your Practice allows you to build on your historical and theoretical understanding of fashion through a research-led extended essay. You will identify a topic, related to your field of practice that you will investigate through design-led research methods and significant cultural and critical theories. It is an opportunity for you to undertake a substantial piece of structured research that examines fashion practice in context and it will build on the critical debates and concerns raised through your course.

In the Concept Realisation unit utilising feedback from your Concept Vision outcomes you will broaden and deepen your research design and development. The unit will enable you to identify, research and develop your personal vision via an individually negotiated project. Your research and experimentation will result in the production of innovative and creative fully realised outcomes. This exploration should evidence full engagement with your responsibilities as a designer/product developer, informed by current debates. You will present your work using appropriate professional techniques.

Showing your work

All students are advised to set up a profile on, 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 to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

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 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.

Making your application

2019/20 entry

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

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 register your interest form

Please note that the equal consideration deadline is 15 January.

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

2019/20 entry

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

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.

After you apply

After you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal. We’ll use this Portal to contact you to request any additional information, including inviting you to upload documents or book an interview, so please check it regularly.

Once we’ve reviewed and assessed your application, we’ll contact you via UCAS Track or the UAL Portal to let you know whether your application has been successful.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee


This applies for the 2019/20 academic year.

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2019/20 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 2019/20 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.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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. 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.


Jimmy  Choo

Jimmy Choo

Footwear Designer

Camilla  Elphick

Camilla Elphick

Footwear Designer

Camelia  Croitoru

Camelia Croitoru

Footwear and Accessories Designer

Aly  Tobin

Aly Tobin

Assistant Footwear Designer

Patrick  Cox

Patrick Cox

Shoe Designer

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