A footwear expert, who has taught the likes of Jimmy Choo, Emma Hope and Patrick Cox has joined the University of Northampton to tutor the next generation of shoe designers.
Chris Hill has over 30 years’ experience in the footwear industry and will be teaching on the BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories course. Having graduated with a BA (Hons) Fashion and Textiles, specialising in footwear design from Leicester Polytechnic , she began her career as a footwear designer/pattern cutter for a number of shoe factories in the East Midlands, before joining the Cordwainers Technical College in London as its first female lecturer! It was there she taught a new generation of budding shoe designers who were focused on setting up their own businesses, and among these students were Jimmy Choo, Emma Hope and Patrick Cox.
Chris said: “At that time the silhouette of footwear was very heavy and influenced by the Doc Martens work wear or by the minimalist styles of Japanese designers, such as Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. Jimmy had a vision to produce light delicate feminine shoes which were very much at odds with the design sensibility of the time.”
After leaving the Cordwainers, Chris went on to work overseas in the Far East and India, as well as taking on freelancing contracts and setting up shoe design courses for the London College of Fashion and Central St Martins. She also worked as Head of Footwear for Hobbs before returning to education in 2011 to head up the FdA Cordwainers Footwear Design course at the University of The Arts (UAL) in London with her students having gone on to work for a variety of companies, such as Alexander McQueen, Ecco and Clarks. As well as teaching, Chris has also been studying and has just completed an MA in the History and Culture of Fashion at UAL, with her dissertation focusing on the history of British women’s fashion footwear manufacturing from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Chris commented: “Coming to teach students at the University of Northampton is the culmination of over 30 years in the footwear industry and education side and I am looking forward to a creative future here.”
Julie King, Head of Fashion at the University of Northampton, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Chris to the University of Northampton. She brings with her a wealth of experience, both academic and industrial, further strengthening our tremendous Footwear and Accessories team.”