Sam, a DMU Footwear Design student, wins first prize at national awards and gets a job at a luxury fashion house


A DMU Footwear Design student has won first prize at the prestigious Cordwainers Footwear Awards in London and landed a job with luxury fashion house Alexander McQueen.

Sam Lilley’s Cordwainers Award was handed out after impressing the judges, which included Joachim Sedelmeier, head of shoe design at Paul Smith, designers Charlotte Olympia Dellal and Beatrix Ong and Katie Greenyer, creative director at Pentland Brands, which includes Lacoste, Kickers, Ellesse and Berghaus. his list.

And now he is preparing to move to London with his prestigious job at Alexander McQueen as a graduate trainee shoe designer.

Sam, who is from Sheffield, was shocked when told he had won the Cordwainers award. “It was amazing to hear my name, but honestly I didn’t expect to win,” he said.

“They came in at the last price and I had looked at other people’s work before and had my bet on someone else!

“Then they started describing the winner and I thought ‘this sounds a bit familiar’. It means my work is seen by so many important people in the shoe industry. That’s the best part of winning. It can open so many doors for me in the future.

SAM LILLEY - final shoot

Sam’s project was called Neofuturism – influenced by the architectural movement – and he applied the principles of ethics, aesthetics and innovation of this school to produce a high-heeled shoe for men.

The concept incorporates innovations such as wrapping the heel in graphene, a relatively new material that is tougher than diamond but can stretch like rubber, ethics examined the appeal of a shoe for men who drew influences from the LGBTQ+ community, and the aesthetic was achieved. through the sleek futuristic design.

Sam said: “I’m really into futuristic shoes right now and Evan Belforti, who designs unisex shoes for Reebok, is the first influence that comes to mind.”

SAM LILLEY - sketch

Sam ended up studying at DMU after his father spotted the course as they were going through the application processes.

“I went to the open house and DMU was right up my street,” he said. “I asked the tutors about making a pair of sneakers – I wanted to be a designer of sneakers – and they were able to answer all my questions and give me good answers.

“Then when I came to DMU I was really impressed. Everything I needed in terms of equipment was here and the tutors were great – really friendly – and they all had experience in the game. ‘industry.

Sam admitted that the second year of his course was difficult during COVID due to the lack of interaction and that it felt a bit like “sleep, work, repeat”.

“But it made me appreciate so much more what contact and teaching meant to me when we were all back in third grade,” he adds.

SAM LILLEY - sketch two

Sam says he can’t wait to start his new job at Alexander McQueen. “I’m really excited,” he said. “London is my favorite city in the UK. I can’t wait.

The Cordwainers Footwear Awards were established in 2014 by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, to support the future of the footwear industry by celebrating and encouraging young footwear talent.

The roots of the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers date back to 1272 and the first charter of 1439 authorized Cordwainers to control the shoe trade in the City of London.

Today, the Cordwainers have a strong charitable ethos and the primary focus is nurturing young talent in the fashion and footwear industries.

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2022

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