Loren wows judges to win a leather scholarship for her footwear and accessories collection

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Budding footwear and accessories designer, Loren Buckingham, has impressed the Worshipful Company of Curriers and has been awarded a scholarship to support her use of leather in her final major project.

Loren, along with five other Fashion and Footwear and Accessories students at the University of Northampton, had the opportunity to wow the judges by presenting the concept behind their projects, their creative ability and demonstrating their passion for exploring leather design.

Using inspiration from the decline of the honey bee, Loren has researched into the phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony disappear leaving behind a queen, food and a few nurse bees who are responsible for taking care of the remaining immature bees and the queen.

Loren DesignBy experimenting in the University’s leather tannery with different shapes and textures, Loren has used different colours and techniques, including crystallised honey under the microscope and hexagon embossed leather for her footwear and bag collection.

The Worshipful Company of Curriers established the Curriers Scholarship to support a third year student who proposed to specialise in the use of leather as a raw material for their final major project.

The Master Currier, Mr John Davies, said: “We were impressed with the presentations from all six students, but we decided that Loren deserved the scholarship as her project showed originality, had a consistent theme throughout and demonstrated a good use of leather.”

The £2,500 scholarship is awarded to a third year student studying on the BA (Hons) Fashion or the BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories courses.

It is designed to give the winning individual the opportunity to experience the leather marketplace, travel to international centres, engage with designers, manufacturers and buyers and really get a feel for the industry.

It also allows the student to purchase leather in order to make an imaginative, innovative final collection for their specialist area.

Loren said: “I was ecstatic to have been chosen as the winner of the scholarship, especially considering the competition I was against. It is a great honour and I will be spending the money wisely, mainly on the rest of my leathers, hardware and shoe lasts for my final collection.

“After I graduate, I am planning to complete the year-long course at the University’s Institute of Creative Leather Technology to help me gain a better understanding of leather and how I can work with it, particularly as it is such a complex material. I am excited to get to know it more than I already do.”

Caroline Southernwood, Senior Lecturer at the University of Northampton said: “We are delighted to have the continued support from the Worshipful Company of Curriers. This generous scholarship gives our winning student the opportunity to use leather as a raw material in their final major project, utilising the types of resources which may be affordable on a student budget. Many congratulations to Loren, we are looking forward to seeing what she creates and also well done to Leah Wanjuju who was awarded a ‘Highly Commended’.”

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