Past Winners 2008

Winning the Footwear Friends Designer Award 2008 has enabled me to develop my business under the guidance of experienced members of the UK footwear industry. The financial support the prize offers has given me the opportunity to invest in new constructions for my latest collections, adding to the signature look of my designs. I have also benefited from mentoring sessions where my designs, business plan and marketing strategies have been discussed. These meetings have given me fresh ideas, helping me to focus on the direction I want my business to take. I believe the Footwear Friends Designer Award gives young designers the best possible chance to succeed as they take their first steps in the footwear industry.

Thomas Murphy
Winner of the 2008 Designer Award

Passport crop

Having studied textiles and long been fascinated with Lyubov Popova – from her fascinating paintings through to her witty textile prints – and having just seen the Constructivists exhibition at the Tate Modern I decided that a trip to Vienna to take in inspiration for my spring/summer 2010 collection. The beauty of the architecture’s Jugendstil details and the fabulous art collection housed in the Leopold museum proved to be amazingly inspirational for the new collection of criss-crossed elastic sandals in muted neutrals shades and tumbled leathers. It also encouraged me to play with tradition by under-exaggerating brogue details and making courts and sandals in unexpectedly brogue colour highlights. The city – with its traditions in bridle crafts and equestrianism – also re-affirmed the natural beauty of Veg-tan and so the new collection heavily features the leather at its core. I also showed at Micam for the previous autumn/winter 2009/10 season and put some of my prize fund towards travel and accommodation. Although this season was particularly difficult with the current economical climate this was the first time I had showed there and it proved to be a great learning experience. The luxury as such a small brand to be able to go on such trips is a spectacular opportunity and would have not been possible without the help of the Footwear Friends charity and generosity of the Meltzer family. I thank you both greatly.

Rachel Jones
Winner of the Joe Meltzer Travel Award 2008