The University of Northampton presented four leading industry figures with Honorary Fellowships in July. We are delighted that three of them are figures well known to the Company: Cordwainer freemen and liverymen Guy West, William Church and Jonathan Church.
The university annually recognises individuals who have achieved excellence in their field and to those who have contributed their expertise to the university and the region.
Shoe designer Guy West secured his first job in the footwear industry aged 17, before establishing the now iconic Northampton-based brand, Jeffery West with business partner Mark Jeffery. The Jeffery West brand focuses on heritage and craftsmanship, exciting designs and quality materials. Its signature look is British ironic, individual – not quite fashion, but not quite classic.
Cousins, Jonathan and William Church are part of the locally renowned Church family, who established the footwear brand, Church’s. They were very much part of Church’s footwear until 2009 when they conducted a management buy-out of the brand Joseph Cheaney & Sons from Church & Co, who by this time was a wholly owned subsidiary of Prada.
Jonathan oversees the Leslie Church Award (a Church family fund), which supports second year Fashion students who are taking the Footwear pathway. It consists of an annual footwear competition, factory tour and presentation.
William has fully supported the development of the BA (Hons) Fashion, Textiles, Footwear and Accessories – Footwear pathway. He has arranged work placements and factory tours and competitions whilst at both Church’s and Cheaney & Sons.
The final fellow is a good friend of the Cordwainers, Church’s Group Chief Executive, Stephen Etheridge. Stephen has served as a non-executive director of the British Footwear Association (BFA) for many years, and is non-executive chairman of SATRA, the world renowned technology and testing organisation.