Kirsty Ronnie, a recent MA Design graduate from the University of Northampton, is set to launch her own range of women’s footwear.
Her self-titled footwear range, ‘Ronnie’, is the culmination of a year’s Masters research project, where she received an exhibition grant from the Leathersellers’ Company and a travel grant from the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers to help with her studies.
This support and direction from both the University of Northampton and the footwear industry has resulted in a contemporary collection, which uses inspiration from the craftsmanship of the local area.
The main driver behind the collection of female Goodyear Welted shoes was people. People provided the stories that inspired the design and also the craft that inspired the making. These stories of the footwear industry and the craft of shoemaking were told to the designer while growing up in Northamptonshire. It appeared that everyone was connected to somebody who had a role within the abundance of shoe factories that were once scattered around the county.
By using local factories, craftsmen and women to produce the collection, Kirsty has received help from many crafts companies such as AA Crack, Cheaney, Trickers and Church’s and has been supported and sponsored by John Lobb.
Kirsty commented: “I witnessed a space in the footwear market for a solely women’s contemporary fine crafted heritage embodied collection manufactured in Northamptonshire. I wanted to continue the support of the ethos, ‘Made in Britain’ wholeheartedly, that many of the heritage men’s shoe companies in Northamptonshire cite, sourcing locally and producing locally.”
Emmeline Child, Programme Leader for MA Design at the University of Northampton, said: “We are delighted that students are seeking out Northampton as a place to study footwear. We currently have students from the UK, Europe and further afield, all studying innovative directions for today’s market and making sure Northampton continues to hold the crown of the ‘Home of Footwear’ in the UK. Making women’s shoes the way men’s shoes have been made for centuries, is the ultimate girl power!”