University hosts exhibition on the influence Ivy League has had on the Northampton footwear industry

Date 17.11.2015

The University of Northampton is currently hosting an exhibition which focuses on the influence the Ivy League has on the footwear industry in Northamptonshire.

Curated by Tim Walker and Tom Shaw, with support from the British Footwear Association (BFA), the Craft to America Style to Britain exhibition emphasises the links between the 20th Century style that emerged within the elite universities of the United States, traces that development and demonstrates how it has influenced the output of the British footwear industry.

Images from Graham Marsh’s book, Hollywood and the Ivy Look, which includes Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and Anthony Perkins, display how the look was embraced by leading actors and studios. It also demonstrates the projection of this dress code throughout one of America’s most defining periods of global cultural dominance.

The seminal Japanese book, Take Ivy, which is celebrating 50 years, showcases this elite look through a collection of reportage photography taken across the Ivy League university campuses by Teruyoshi Hayashida.

The exhibition also brings the manufacturing process to life. Photo shoots and film from local production detail the meticulous craft skills and continued investment required to create the highest standards of footwear in the world.

Jayne Bingham, Acting Dean of the School of The Arts, at the University of Northampton, commented: “We are delighted to host the British Footwear Association’s Craft to America exhibition. The School of The Arts works closely with the BFA to support its initiatives and it provided excellent guidance to ensure our BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories programme meets the needs of industry.”

Craft to America curator Tim Walker, said, “The University of Northampton was chosen as the exhibition venue due to its fantastic globalisation of quality footwear brands and its continuous investment in high quality craftsmanship. The work on show also highlights the influence of the Ivy League on the Northamptonshire footwear industry.  It was obvious to me to hold the first exhibition of its kind at the University as Northampton has some of the world’s greatest footwear producers and as Fred Astaire once quoted: ‘If you want to know if a fellow is well dressed, look down at this shoes’.”

The BFA is also offering two of our BA (Hons) Footwear and Accessories students the chance to win an internship with an all-expenses paid trip to Milan in Italy. Students will work with the BFA at one of the biggest and most important footwear tradeshows around – the MICAM in February 2016.  Around 50 British footwear companies are invited to the event, enabling the students to get invaluable hands-on industry experience within the tradeshow environment, and meet key people from some of the best British footwear brands around. The internship winners announced at the end of November.

The Craft to America, Style to Britain exhibition will be hosted at the University of Northampton’s Avenue Gallery from Wednesday 4 to Wednesday 25 November.