This week we are celebrating the work of our footwear and accessories courses with a number of our key supporters, as part of our Cordwainers 125 Campaign. These courses, originally started 125 years ago at Cordwainers College are a key part of the work of London College of Fashion.
What we wanted to do this week was to thank the broad range of livery companies with whom we are proud to have been associated with throughout our 125 year history, in particular the Worshipful Companies of Leathersellers and Cordwainers.
In preparing for a short talk at the event, I thought I’d look up quotes about shoes and was amazed how many and varied they are. I believe this is because they are so fundamental to us, without them our lives are severely restricted. You only have to look at countries where they are a luxury, such as parts of Africa, where lack of shoes causes very real health issues to appreciate how difficult our life would be without them. Even poorly fitting shoes are difficult to bear far more than poorly fitting clothes.
I think because they are so fundamental to us on so many levels that they have crept into our everyday language. There are the more philosophical quotes like Charles Spurgeon’s
“A lie can travel half way round the world while truth is putting on its shoes”
or Thomas Carlyle’s
“A man cannot make a pair of shoes rightly unless he do it in a devout manner”
to those that reflect how shoes play a part in growing up such as novelist Nicholson Baker’s
“Shoes are the first adult machines we are given to master”
or Neil Kurshan’s
“Walk a mile in my shoes is good advice. Our children will learn to respect this if they are used to imaging themselves in another’s place”.
But the quotes I really like celebrate just how good shoes can make us feel. From Hugh Jackman’s
“For me that’s one of the great indulgences in life, a handmade suit, and a great pair of handmade shoes”
to Imelda Marcos’
“They went into my closets looking for skeletons, but thank God all they found were shoes, beautiful shoes”.