A footwear designer from the University of Northampton has been recognised by judges of a prestigious national award.
Final year Footwear & Accessories undergraduate, Monica Bateman, received a commendation for her work at the Cordwainer Footwear Student of the Year awards, which were held in London on Thursday 6 June.
The awards were set up in 2014 by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers to celebrate the very best upcoming shoe designers in the UK.
Monica, who comes from Milton Keynes, was commended for a pair of boots she designed and made that were influenced by the plight of refugees and displaced people.
She said: “I was inspired by an image of some refugees huddled together, wrapped in a silver foil thermal blanket. I used a similar material to represent the blanket, and stitched on pieces of leather which echo, in an abstract way, the way the refugees are gripping the blanket and holding on to each other.”
It was the second year running Monica had been shortlisted for the award. Her work was also shortlisted for two awards at Graduate Fashion Week, also held in London in the same week as the Cordwainers awards.
Monica said: “It’s been a crazy week and so exciting. It’s so nice to end my three years at Northampton with this recognition for my work.”
Senior Fashion and Footwear Lecturer, Caroline Southernwood, said: “Monica’s was an original, innovative and sustainable footwear collection inspired by the plight of the refugee crisis. Winning this award is a tremendous personal achievement for her and I would like to congratulate Monica and wish her every success with her future career in the footwear industry.”
Pictured at the awards evening, from left, Faizal Mohammed, Senior Fashion & Footwear Lecturer Caroline Southernwood, UON Vice Chancellor Professor Nick Petford, Nicholas Fowler-Ekar, Nicola Bateman, Maisie Thompson, Anna Melegh and Senior Lecturer in Footwear & Accessories Jane Schaffer Photo: Mark Witter Photography
Monica was one of five University of Northampton Footwear & Accessories undergraduates nominated for the Cordwainer Footwear Student of the Year award. She was joined on the shortlist by Nicholas Fowler-Ekar, Anna Melegh, Faizal Mohammed and Maisie Thompson.
Find out more about their nominated work.
The awards also saw University of Northampton graduate Helen Kirkum, who was the very first Cordwainers Footwear Student of the Year in 2014, sit on the judging panel and deliver the ceremony’s keynote speech. Find out more about Helen’s rise through the industry.
Helen Kirkum, left, and Monica Bateman, right Photo: Mark Witter Photography
Liveryman Katie Greenyer, chair of the judging panel, said: “I can really say this has been the highest of standards and the toughest year to judge by far, taking us an additional two hours to debate the work, challenge each other, and to delve deep into the students’ rationales to justify our decision.”
Master of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, Jonathan Hooper, expressed his thanks to everyone who supported the awards: “The Cordwainers National Footwear Student of the Year Awards is a prestigious event, and we are grateful to the support from the footwear industry and the universities that make these awards possible. The Cordwainers have been nurturing and encouraging emerging talent in the footwear trade for nearly 750 years. Our position as the largest private provider of scholarships and bursaries in footwear education is part of our ongoing commitment to raise the profile of the footwear industry in the UK. This evening is hugely important, as it provides the students with the opportunity to network with the most influential people from across the sector and, in turn, enables industry professionals to meet the footwear stars of the future.”