Congratulations to York College University Centre fashion student Zara Hale, on winning The Company of Cordwainers of the City of York project competition 2020. Zara’s achievement was celebrated via a virtual Zoom call, with representatives from the Company of Cordwainers and her tutors in attendance.
The Company of Cordwainers has supported students studying BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Product Innovation for many years and, despite the COVID pandemic, this year was no different. Students were tasked with designing a garment incorporating leather, inspired by the rich heritage of the Company of Cordwainers, even though face-to-face teaching was suspended and students were working from home.
Although it was not possible for the final designs to be constructed, the Company of Cordwainers commended all participating students for the breadth of their research and the quality of their digital designs and portfolio work in response to the project brief. Recognising the students’ achievements, they announced the competition winner to be Zara Hale.
Zara’s designs were inspired by the project introduction hosted by the Company at Bedern Hall in February 2020. At the event, The Cordwainers withdrew items from their archive, especially for the students to observe. Zara was able to handle ancient tools used for leatherwork and examine leather samples and products, such as the shoe that is appliqued on the back of her winning design.
Master of the Company, Ann Reid MBE, said: “The Company of Cordwainers of the City of York are delighted to continue their support of the BA (Hons) Fashion Design & Product Innovation course. The students are always thought-provoking and innovative with their projects and this year was no different. Despite the fact that they could not make their final garments, the portfolios that they produced showed us clearly what they would have made in a COVID-free world. Cordwainers were leather workers, which is why we ask the students to incorporate leather in their final design. The decision was not an easy one, but Zara Hale was a worthy winner of the 2020 award.”
Zara originates from Somerset and worked in The Mulberry Factory before moving to York to pursue her education in the field of Fashion. Her tutor Rebecca O’Leary is delighted to see her talents recognised: “Working part-time as a key worker and attending evening classes to develop her academic skills, Zara has demonstrated huge resilience coping with the demands of degree-level study. She has developed hugely in the first year of the programme and is a worthy winner of the prize.”